Still a Stigma?

Maybe our first solution is to let health be health and disease be disease and cease to classify one as physical and the other as mental.

The negative stigma attached to a significant mental health diagnosis is still real for many Americans. I interact with clients caught in this trap almost daily. It is heartbreaking to watch a client struggle with the judgment of friends, family and employers.

A mental health diagnosis is no different than a diagnosis of Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure or COPD. Is it? A mental health diagnosis (bi-polar) and a diagnosis (diabetes) both indicate a chemical imbalance in the body. Why is our attitude so much different when a family member or friend tells us one diagnosis as opposed to the other? My guess is we take the emotional and mental imbalance personally seeing it as our failure too, and categorize the diabetes diagnosis as medical and beyond our control.

Whenever we think of emotional instability we think “Oh my gosh … I don’t know if I can live with this” … and we might even start thinking about how to get out of the relationship with our spouse or friend. Family members who come into my office are frightened and visualize a future of fighting, sadness and instability. The attitude “get over it” reigns supreme. If we can’t get over our diabetes without medical assistance, why do we think someone should be able to recover from a neuro-endocrine imbalance just because we insist they ”get over it”. Most people with an emotional or mental health disorder lead normal lives, and others can maintain an acceptable quality of life, yet suffer various degrees of symptoms.

So many physical illnesses have the same kind of symptoms as emotional illness. What about a diagnosis of thyroid disease? That means the patient tends toward depression and is often very tired, sometimes has trouble sleeping, may have weight issues, probably has cold feet and hands and frequently has problems chaining thoughts together in a speedy and fluent way. A patient with a bi-polar diagnosis might have symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping or periods of time when they don’t sleep at all, weight fluctuation, anger issues and have trouble chaining thoughts together in a speedy, fluent manner. Both illnesses can be stabilized with medication, nutritional therapy, mental health therapy when necessary, and family-friend support. See books like Mental Health Naturally by Dr. Kathy Kemper, Depression Free for Life by Gabriel Cousins with Mark Mayell, The Mood Cure by Julia Ross and my new book Pathways to Wholeness. You might want to read the research of Abram Hoffer and Linus Pauling who were the first to research and treat serious mental health issues with nutrition.

A different kind of lab work is needed to treat emotional and mental symptoms and these labs are now popping up all over the USA, having been available for years now (Article by Julia Ross – ) These labs tests our neurotransmitters and natural substances are prescribed to assist the re-balance of brain chemicals … our neuro-endocrine system. Treatment can be a long process, and if the patient is willing to be faithful to the nutrients and patient with their medications, some can be medication free while others can lower their dosage of traditional psychiatric medications. When I have a client who wants to try holistic medical treatment, I recommend they see a physician who is sympathetic to holistic approaches and we start with the following medical tests:

  • Vitamin D levels
  • Thyroid Function
  • Levels of adrenal hormones
  • Female and male hormone levels
  • Vitamin B and iron levels
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Allergies to foods, especially dairy, nuts, wheat
  • Allergies to environmentals like mold, dust and seasonal sensitivities to trees, grasses etc.
  • Allergies to food dies, food preservatives
  • Toxins like lead, mercury

Holistic Medical Referrals in the NC Triad area:

  • Dr. Alexander Augoustides, MD – board certified holistic physicians, family medicine
  • Dr. Michele Powell – DO with a holistic office offering acupuncture, massage, mental health therapy
  • Dr. Kathy Kemper – holistic pediatrician and chief of the Wake Forest University Dept. of Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  • Dr. Susan Hunsinger – holistic pediatrician
  • Dr. Elizabeth Vaughn – board certified holistic physician, internal medicine
  • Dr. Chip Watkins – holistic physician, family medicine

Integrative Psychiatrists NC Triad: Open to and using some holistic treatments

  • Dr. Chris Aiken – recommending mindfulness, nutritional counseling and prescribing some nutrients
  • Dr. Rebecca Valla – open to holistic approaches, recommending holistic practitioners, spirituality

Holistic Psychiatry outside the NC Triad

  • Dr. Tracey Lutz: Mooresville, NC
  • Dr. Dr. Ron Parks: Ashville, NC
  • Dr. Anthony Carraway: Raleigh, NC
  • Dr. Natalie Sadler: Carrboro, NC

NC Lab testing Neurotransmitters: Sanesco Labs in Ashville, NC