Jed Shlackman, LMHC, C.Ht. View Entire Blog

Holistic vs. Conventional Approach to Mental Health Treatment, Pt. 3

Instead of giving our money and power to those who follow the distorted views of modern medicine I think it behooves us to take responsibility for our own health and well-being. We can learn to live in harmony with our world and develop a spiritual consciousness that helps us overcome the increasing stresses of modern civilization.

There has been an explosion in the diagnosis and chronicity of mental health problems in recent decades. Part of this can be attributed to stresses and pressures of modern society (which challenges the notion that genetically determined chemical imbalances are the causal factor in these problems). Another factor is the growing prevalence of substance abuse and dependency and processed, non-nourishing foods. Not only do alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, opiates, amphetamines, and cocaine remain commonly abused substances, but pharmaceutical drugs have become increasingly common sources of chemical dependency and addiction. Thus, the government and health care professionals denounce one portion of substance abuse while promoting the other portion of substance abuse as initially therapeutic.

Approximately a century ago, Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psychiatry in Western society became enamored with using cocaine as treatment for a range of psychological issues, as its short term effects were pleasant and it was being widely touted as benefitting a range of medical ailments. Over a period of years, Freud and others came to recognize that it was ultimately addictive and debilitating. Much the same can be said for modern efforts to use drugs to treat mental distress, though the vast majority of psychiatric professionals are less inclined than Freud was to confront the reality of the harm engendered by this approach to treatment. In our present era we actually have a wealth of empirical evidence to show the long term detrimental effect of pharmaceutical therapy, as outlined by Robert Whitaker in his book Mad In America, which explores the ongoing saga of psychiatry's embrace of one dysfunctional fad after another.

Fortunately, we also have a wealth of evidence to show what does help people handle stress and overcome mental, emotional, and physiological disturbances. The field of orthomolecular (functional) medicine and psychiatry has documented how specific vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and enzymes can be used to help the body rebalance itself, with the need for these measures often being short term when external stressors subside, toxins in the body are cleansed, allergies are dissipated, and other levels of emotional healing occur. Schizophrenia, considered to be the most intractible and chronic of mental health disturbances by conventional psychiatry, has been often relieved by Vitamin B3 and other supplements which don't create the unpleasant and debilitating "side" effects of medications. Schizophrenia is more likely to go into remission in countries where there is no availability of medications, as treatments that remove the individual from stresses or help reintegrate the sense of self in a psychological or spiritual sense are provided.

Novel mind-body healing methods such as emotional acupressure (EFT and othe Energy Psychology techniques), EMDR (eye-movement desensitization and retraining), hypnosis, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP, also referred to as Neuro-Hypnotic Repatterning), Shamanic soul retrieval and energy balancing, Biofeedback, and brainwave entrainment, have all been used to help heal those with psychological disturbances. The fact that these methods are often effective in cases where a person was previously told they had a chemical imbalance requiring lifelong medication therapy proves that physicians' beliefs and statements about medication therapy are often not accurate.

- Jed Shlackman, LMHC, C.Ht.

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