By Deanna Raymond Allen, PA, CIPP
Certified Integrative Psychiatric Physician Assistant
When Prozac was introduced in 1987 as a safer treatment for depression, a mere 0.7% of the population was suffering from the clinical diagnosis. Ten years later that rate had tripled to 2.3%. Today 25% of Americans have a mood disorder and the age of initial diagnosis has gotten younger and younger. According to the CDC, a person dies of suicide every 11 minutes in our country! Depression is the leading cause of disability and is correlated with much worse physical health outcomes. These statistics have developed DESPITE the advent of a growing list of medications.
We desperately need a different approach to this crisis at hand! What we have been offering as a standard of care seems to be failing miserably and is not providing the relief we need. Let’s explore the two current mental health models of treatment….
Conventional medicine focuses on treating symptoms with pharmaceutical agents dictated by specific diagnoses. Said diagnoses are determined by the DSM-V-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th version. While this approach works for some people, most are left struggling with undesired side effects and lingering symptoms. Many others do not respond to medications at all and find themselves hopeless. Worse yet-use of these medications can trigger self-injurious behaviors and suicide in some people.
Integrative psychiatry digs deeper into genetic variations, dietary shortcomings, unaddressed trauma, inflammation, toxin exposure, and common micronutrient deficiencies. Addressing these issues will usually lead to improvement in symptoms and brain functioning. Prognosis is much brighter and sustained using an integrative approach as root causes to symptoms are examined. This is often accomplished without the use of medications, or with much lower dosages and/or numbers of prescriptions.
Additionally, there is a widening body of research that shows an intimate relationship between the microbiome-the bacteria that reside throughout the GI tract-and the quality of mental and physical health. These micro-organisms produce 90% of our brain's neurotransmitters. Ninety percent! The central nervous system chemicals produced by our microbiome play a vital role in overall well-being. Therefore, it is important that environmental and dietary choices are focused on nurturing this critically important internal ecosystem.
When we become committed to improving our brain and gut health, we also lower our risk for many chronic health issues. Doing so undoubtedly will improve the overall quality of life and longevity.
What approach would you like to pursue for you and your loved ones?
Contact IM of CNY at 315-741-5774 if you are interested in learning more about integrative psychiatry options.