Integrative Psychiatry uses an approach to mental health that combines the best of conventional psychiatry with safe, Integrative medical methods to improve effectiveness. Integrative Psychiatry provides care that gives you more than just disease management and symptom reduction. It shifts the focus to prevention and wellness, and allows for a greater focus on the whole person – both mind and body.
Who would benefit from Integrative Psychiatry?
1) People who want to take responsibility for their own well-being, want a more natural approach to wellness, and who would like to minimize medications.
2) Those who have not tolerated or responded well to traditional Psychiatric treatments in the past.
3) People with Anxiety, Depression, attention or memory issues, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders, often along with physical symptoms such as menopausal or hormonal symptoms, bowel problems, low energy or aches and pains.
4) Anyone who wants to improve their health, lifestyle, emotions and social interactions.
To accomplish these goals, we use medical tests to diagnose underlying health issues. Nutrition, diet, supplements, and bioidentical hormones are among the things that can help you on your way to true mental health. When needed, we can prescribe psychiatric medications, but this is our last resort, not our first treatment option. Our goal is for you to achieve optimal mental health and wellness, hopefully with the minimal use of prescription medications that can have many side-effects.
What is the difference between Integrative Psychiatry and traditional Psychiatry?
Traditional Psychiatry usually involves diagnosing a patient by their list of symptoms. If a certain number of mental symptoms are present, a diagnosis is made, and then usually a Psychiatric medication and/or counseling is recommended. The problem with this is that a given symptom, say low mood or fatigue, can often have many different medical causes. Most Psychiatrists are not trained to look deeply into the possible medical causes of mental symptoms, and assume that most symptoms are psychological in nature. Of course, this is sometimes true, but not always. Many mental symptoms have a medical or physical cause. Often, if the underlying medical cause is addressed, the mental symptoms go away, and the patient feels well. To find the medical cause requires medical testing of blood, urine, saliva, hair, or even stool samples, depending on the patient’s symptoms and problems. Sometimes even genetic testing is useful to determine what a person’s genetic predispositions are.
Has your Psychiatrist considered your genetic predispositions by testing your DNA, checked you for toxic heavy metals, tested you for chronic infections, and done blood tests to make sure that all of your hormones and nutrients are at optimal levels? If not, then you might have an undiagnosed underlying medical condition that is contributing to your psychiatric symptoms. Obviously, if you have one or more of these underlying medical issues, then just taking psychiatric medications alone may not solve the problem. Also, most psychiatric medications have many unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous side-effects that can have a serious negative effect on quality of life. At times, medications are indeed needed to get the acute symptoms under control, or to help a person through a particularly difficult time in life, but natural interventions are a better long term solution.
Because of genetic differences between people, some of us require higher amounts of certain nutrients to keep our brain biochemistry functioning optimally. This means that some people literally have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety or depression problems. But DNA is not destiny. Even if you have this predisposition, if you take the right nutritional supplements, you can modify your brain biochemistry in the right direction to feel better, often without the use of psychiatric medication, or, if it is still needed, usually patients can do well on much lower doses than were needed before.
The brain and the body are directly connected in obvious ways. What many people don’t realize is that the health of the body directly influences the health of the brain. The brain is very much like a machine, in that it requires certain substances in order to function properly. The brain cannot have a deficiency of psychiatric medication, since medication is by definition a substance that is foreign to the human body. But it can have a deficiency of many nutrients, such as critical amino acids, and vitamins and minerals needed for neurotransmitter synthesis, as well as bioidentical hormones which decline with age and are essential for proper mood, memory and brain function. A deficiency of even one critical element can be enough to throw the brain off into a state of depression, anxiety, poor memory, poor attention, and low motivation.
As an example, if you have the flu, you may feel very tired, have aches and pains, and even feel depressed and unmotivated to do anything. Obviously, taking an antidepressant medication for this problem would be the wrong approach. The right thing to do is to help that person recover from the flu virus by improving their immune system through diet and nutritional supplements. Some people have chronic, low level viral and/or bacterial infections that are making them feel bad, but they have never been properly diagnosed.
The brain is extremely sensitive to toxic influences from heavy metals and chemicals in our environment, as well as many chronic infections that can infect the brain and cause symptoms. All of these medical problems need to be tested for and ruled out as contributing factors in a person’s mental state. If you have chronic low level mercury poisoning from getting annual flu shots, having silver amalgam fillings in your mouth and eating toxic seafood, you might feel tired, depressed, have aches and pains, and feel unmotivated to do anything. Again, just taking antidepressants for this problem would be the wrong thing to do. Helping the patient to detoxify the heavy metals would help this patient recover from all of their symptoms naturally. Most doctors are not trained in how to diagnose and treat this kind of problem, but we know how to do this.
Many mental health symptoms originate in systemic, whole body nutritional or hormonal deficiencies, or toxic accumulations. Immune problems from environmental or food allergies and infections can also directly affect the brain with autoimmunity and inflammation. Since the brain is just one organ, it has a limited number of symptoms that it can create from many different causes. In order to determine the causes, medical tests need to be run to determine which of many possible factors is causing YOUR symptoms.
It may be easier to just pop a Prozac pill in your mouth, but if you are interested in getting to the root medical causes of your symptoms and healing them naturally whenever possible, then you need to see Dr. Mielke and do the necessary tests to determine the right Integrative medical treatments that will make a real difference.
Psychotic and seriously suicidal patients are generally not good candidates initially for this kind of natural intervention. However, when their acute symptoms are under control, even they can often be helped to feel better than they did before, although they may not be able to get off all of their medications.
Psychiatric symptoms that are directly related to an abusive childhood or serious mental trauma or loss often require psychotherapy in addition to an Integrative medical approach to treatment.
Overall, most patients feel truly better when the underlying cause of their mental symptoms is identified and corrected, without the excessive use of psychotropic medications.
Please call Optimal Health Spectrums directly at 925-846-8000 for more information about Integrative Psychiatry.