TGIF: The Functional Medicine Approach to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Depression

Adding natural alternative treatments for depression, natural anxiety treatments and stress management techniques can make a big difference in your life. Why are natural depression treatments, stress management techniques and anxiety treatments likely to be more effective treatments than just standard therapies alone? The functional medicine approach adds to standard therapies for depression, stress management, and anxiety, the often over-looked elements of natural healing, including nutrition, herbal and mind-body therapies. These add holistic support for the body’s natural healing systems, which help resist and overcome a broad range of both physical and mental health problems– including but not limited to depression, anxiety, and stress.

The unstated assumption of most conventional strategies is that mind and body function separately. Each organ of the body is largely on its own. However, current science shows that just the opposite is true. The multiple systems of mind and body communicate and interact with each other in a complex holistic web of biochemical, hormonal and metabolic relationships. Even such distant organs as the brain, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, immune system, gut, and liver interact, and in important ways, function effectively as one.

A functional medicine approach views all systems of the mind and body as part of one, large interactive web. This implies that any obstacle to healing that affects on part of the system, feeds through and harms all others. Any improvement we can make in any part, is also likely to feed through this web and improve your well-being as a whole. For example, improving anxiety and stress improves your resistance to migraine or tension headache.

Many alternative treatments for depression act by strengthening the same biochemical pathways that medicines use to treat depression. For example, St. John’s Wort acts in part by increasing the activity of brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Other natural depression treatments work on metabolic pathways that standard medicines don’t seem to use. These include the one carbon methylation pathways, omega-3 fatty acids, and intracellular signaling messengers, such as inositol. Other natural depression treatments include diet, restorative sleep, the correct level of exercise, and mind-body stress management techniques. All can play a vital supportive role.

Many, probably most, alternative treatments for depression can be used safely and supportively along with standard medicines. However, other natural depression treatments should not usually be combined with Prozac or with other anti-depressants because of potential adverse interactions. For example, the amino acid 5-hydroxy tryptophan and St. John’s Wort both raise the brain level of Serotonin, as does Prozac. This might often be of benefit, but rarely, too much Serotonin can cause harm, the “hyper-serotonin syndrome” which causes agitation, fever, confusion and other symptoms and which can be fatal. Make sure you discuss any prescription drugs you are taking with your functional medicine physician before starting a new treatment plan.

Alternative treatments for depression rely on the fact that depression, at heart, is a biochemical illness. Whether the main triggers are physical or emotional, these triggers then induce a broad range of neurochemical changes that, in turn, leads to the feelings of depression and to the physical and psychological disruptions that being depressed then causes.

Once one thinks about the biochemistry it should not be surprising that alternative treatments for depression often play an important role. Almost every biochemical in our body is either directly derived from a biochemical found in food, or else is the product of the body’s processing of such foodstuff. Especially important are the co-factors or small molecules that help our metabolic enzymes assume their proper shape, so that enzymes can make our metabolic pathways do their work. In almost every case these enzyme enabling co-factors are vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, magnesium, and selenium.

If you are vulnerable to depression due to biochemical, psychological, medicine side-effects, or other factors, this vulnerability will tend to increase if you also have suboptimal function of one or more of your body’s functional physiological symptoms. For example, we will want to repair any nutritional deficiencies and metabolic imbalances we can identify whether or not that particular nutrient or metabolic pathway has been specifically studied as a treatment for depression.

Anxiety, feeling tense or nervous is not the same thing as depression, although they often occur together. Many but not all of the alternative treatments for depression also improve anxiety, but others do not. The body’s ability to withstand stress improves with the mastery of a few basic stress management relaxation techniques that calm and regularize the body’s natural rhythms. For example, most people with chronic stress or anxiety fall into a pattern of shallow, relatively rapid chest breathing. For the most part we don’t even realize when we do this, since the pattern is fairly subtle. However, even at modest levels, this breathing habit tends to make people feel tense. In contrast, even a few minutes of slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing can usually be counted on to have calming effects.

Anxiety, depression and vulnerability to stress are influenced by the following Metabolic Systems and Activities, therefore it is the protocol followed for diagnosing anxiety and depression:

System I: Prefvious Medical History

System II: Nutrition

System III: Brain Neurochemicals

System IV: Amino Acids

System V: Hormone Imbalances

System VI: Respiratory Bio-rhythms

System VII: Nutritional Deficiencies and Food Sensitivities

System VIII: Integrative Medicine

System IX: Sleep Medicine

System X: Metabolism Nutrition

System XI: Exercise

System XII: Positive Psychology

Alternative treatments for depression, stress management techniques, and natural anxiety treatments can make a big difference in your life. Chambers Chiropractic and Acupuncture can help with diet and depression as well as other natural depression treatments and a holistic approach to stress and anxiety issues.

Functional Medicine views all systems of the mind and body as part of one, large interactive web. This implies that any obstacle to healing that affects on part of the system feeds through and harms all others. Any improvement we can make in any part, is also likely to feed through this web and improve your well-being as a whole. Please call us at (304) 263-4927 today to schedule an appointment.

Sources: http://www.drpodell.org/alternative_treatments_for_depression.shtml

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