By Katherine (Tori) Lutz
More and more people have been turning to naturopathic medicine for a variety of different solutions, including aesthetic solutions at medical spas and more health-related solutions like primary care or pain management.
Recently, naturopathic medicine has expanded to even include treatment and prevention of mental health concerns.
The question many people are left with is how this compares to more traditional approaches to mental health. Here is how naturopathic doctors are addressing mental health and why it is often a valid alternative to traditional methods.
Addressing the Root Cause
The main purpose of naturopathic medicine as a whole is to investigate and treat the root cause of symptoms, not the disease itself.
This approach also extends to mental health treatment. It’s important to remember that our mind is part of our body, so it’s common for mental health concerns to be linked to other physiological causes like hormonal imbalances, dietary concerns or other illnesses.
Taking practical steps to investigate and support mental health makes it much easier to really treat the problem and have sustainable results. Simply looking at the surface of the concern often only provides temporary or superficial relief (if it works at all).
For example, if a patient is suffering from depression, there is a chance that treatments like therapy or prescription medication could help. There is also, however, a chance that these things aren’t addressing deeper problems such as possible thyroid or other hormonal malfunctions.
By really getting to the root of the concern and figuring out where the mental health troubles are coming from, it’s easier to treat the illness more effectively. Plus, most naturopathic physicians are still able to prescribe medication if that is deemed the most effective route.
Treatments and Solutions
This leads to a discussion on the possible naturopathic treatments and solutions for mental health concerns.
Before jumping to psychiatric medication, naturopathic physicians will have a holistic approach to treatment with a focus on nutrition and lifestyle elements. This treatment is still guided by biochemical analysis to see how the mind and body is behaving and what could be causing the symptoms.
This is a critical approach because there are many instances when prescription medication may even be the cause of things like depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. Instead of trying to cancel it out with more medication, it may be best to first see what natural methods could be tried.
Some of the ways that naturopathic doctors will go about treating mental concerns include:
- Nutritional analysis and advice
- Bio-identical hormone therapy
- Herbal medicine and supplements
- Craniosacral therapy
- Lifestyle recommendations
- And more
These treatments are being used by naturopaths everywhere to treat concerns like depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD and more.
Plus, you will be able to rest easy knowing that if a naturopathic physician finds that a specialist is needed for your situation, they will likely know just who to recommend. This is especially good news for anyone who is new to naturopathic medicine or still experiencing some hesitations when it comes to switching from more traditional treatments.
Why it Matters
The industry surrounding mental health has been frustrating for as long as anyone can remember, and the stigma surrounding mental health hasn’t made it easier.
We’ve come a long way with mental illness as a whole, but there are still a lot of areas that leave patients frustrated. Pharmaceutical costs for medication are a barrier for millions of people, not everyone responds positively to traditional treatment and some patients simply prefer natural remedies whenever possible.
Dr. Sarah Bennett, the naturopathic physician at Natural Med Doc, always emphasizes the importance of natural care to boost healing:
“Our bodies have a natural healing process, and naturopathy aims to work withthat natural process. It addresses the root causes of situations to treat the body, not the illness. This extends to mental health as well, and I think that as a society we are getting closer to understanding that mental illness isan illness, not an arbitrary concern that exists within a vacuum and needs to be treated differently than the rest of the body.”
Many clinical approaches to mental health can lead to frustrating side effects that could do more harm than good, especially since they alter the body on a chemical and molecular level.
That said, there are many people who sincerely benefit from medication who should absolutely continue to do so, but having additional options through naturopathic care is a massive step for the people who don’t have those positive experiences.
Naturopathic medicine is a fantastic option for anyone who is looking to take a step back from repeated frustrations surrounding traditional treatment methods.
By taking a look at the whole body and the root cause of the problem, naturopathic physicians are able to offer advice and natural remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms without an overload of synthetic medication that can do more harm than good.
Be sure to schedule a consultation with a naturopathic physician near you to see if they or a colleague they know may be able to naturally help your mental health concerns!