Medication vs Holistic Approaches Part II

Following on from last weeks article, this is the last article of the two, discussing the holistic approaches to mental illness. The aim of this article is to shed light on medication free approaches that can treat symptoms of mental illness.

When I mention holistic approaches I mean treating the entire person including the mind and the body. As mentioned in the previous article mental illness stems from chemical imbalances in the brain usually caused by a person’s upbringing. Mental illnesses can develop over one’s lifespan starting in childhood or adolescence when the brain is still developing.

During this time if a specific incident or trauma occurs it can cause the brain to develop differently and the chemicals become imbalanced. Therefore treating mental illness holistically involves getting to the root cause of the symptoms, such as treating the trauma as well as treating the symptoms and illness that has developed.

Holistic practitioners evaluate the patient’s complete health picture and examine how all body systems connect before determining a plan for healing.

What are the holistic approaches to treating mental illness?

  • Psychotherapies- generally involve how a person thinks, feels, and acts. It assists in bringing out those thoughts and feelings by tapping into behaviour. There are many types of psychotherapies that have different goals. For an in-depth article click here.
  • Diet changes- eating more nonprocessed food, more vegetables, fruits and fewer grains.
  • Nutritional supplements- used to balance body chemistry. According to research, it’s been suggested that health problems such as obesity and heart disease can hinder some mental illnesses such as depression.
  • Lifestyle changes- such as increasing exercise by walking each day for 20-30 minutes. This increases the feel-good chemical in the brain known as dopamine.
  • Meditation- changes the way the brain works, see here for more information.
  • Mind-body exercises- such as yoga and tai chi have the potential to improve fitness and improve emotional balance at the same time. Much like walking, this increases the feel-good chemical in the brain known as dopamine.

So, what would you choose? Medication? Holistic treatment? or a mix of both? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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