5 Mind-Blowing Principles for Treating Any Mental Illness
Have you seen a psychiatrist for a mental health condition? Chances are, you walked out of their office with a prescription for antidepressants, antianxiety pills, or some other medication. The pharmaceutical revolution has consumed psychiatry for the past 50 years, but unfortunately, outcomes have not improved along with the enthusiasm.
One of the reasons why outcomes lag behind is that mental health professionals are working within the wrong paradigm. They continue to make diagnoses based on symptom clusters without any biological information—ignoring overall brain health and the 11 common risk factors I’ve identified that can contribute to problems.
Why You Need to Be Wary of Psych Meds
At Amen Clinics we are not opposed to medications for your mind and prescribe them when necessary. However, we are opposed to medications being the first and only thing you do to help your brain and your mind. As I reveal in my book, The End of Mental Illness, there is so much more that can and needs to be done to end mental illness now
Medication isn’t always the answer. I realized this when I started using brain SPECT imaging in 1991 and could see that some of the medications I was taught to prescribe, especially benzodiazepines for anxiety and opiates for pain, were clearly associated with unhealthy looking scans.
In thinking of the principle all physicians are taught the first year of medical school “primum non nocere”—Latin for “first do no harm”—I started looking for fewer toxic options for my patients.
5 Principles for Better Mental Health Treatment
In making treatment recommendations for our patients at Amen Clinics, we always keep the following 5 principles in mind:
- First, do no harm.
- Use the least toxic, most effective, science-based treatments.
- Consider short-term pain versus long-term gain (don’t fix one problem just to cause another one).
- Don’t start something people will have a hard time stopping (withdrawing from many anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications can be very hard), just to deal with the anxiety or depression of the moment.
- Medications should never be the first and only thing people do. Until we understand this concept we will never truly get well as a society.
Searching for Natural Alternatives
Whenever I am treating a patient, I always consider, “What would I prescribe if this were my mother, my wife, or my child?” After nearly 40 years as a psychiatrist, I recommend more and more treatments from nature, including foods and nutraceuticals. We want you to use all the tools available, especially if they are science-based, effective, cheaper, and have minimal side effects.
There is a growing body of scientific literature to support the use of supplements for many brain health/mental health issues. One major flaw in prescribing nutraceuticals, as with medications, is that they are generally recommended based on symptoms, rather than biology. Our experience is that treatment is much more effective with nutraceuticals and/or medications when we add the biological information from our brain imaging work.
When Meds are Necessary
For more severe psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia or true bipolar disorder, I usually start with medications, such as antipsychotics or mood stabilizers. Yet, even when I am prescribing medication, I am also recommending the support of nutraceuticals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, multiple vitamins, and vitamin D. This is in addition to attacking the 11 risk factors and making nutritional changes. By supporting overall brain health in this way, people typically get better faster and have fewer relapses.
In The End of Mental Illness, I take you through the pros and cons of medications as well as the pros and cons of nutraceuticals. I also share the specific interventions we typically recommend for people with:
These interventions include suggested lab tests, helpful therapies, lifestyle changes, supplements, food recommendations, exercises, and more.
The End of Mental Illness is written by psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and relies on the latest neuroscience and leading-edge brain imaging to show that mental health is really brain health. The book reveals that “mental illnesses” are really “brain health issues” that steal your mind, and it shows how using the least toxic, most effective solutions can be the key to alleviating “psychiatric” symptoms without side effects. Order your copy here.
If you want to join the tens of thousands of people who have already enhanced their brain health and overcome their symptoms at Amen Clinics, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.