Integrative Psychiatry through a Naturopathic Perspective

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

With 30 million Americans prescribed a psychotropic agent, the current healthcare model is facing a crisis as rising health care costs and a steep rise in chronic diseases are still being met with “a pill for every ill”. Doctors are receiving minimal training in nutrition and lifestyle, and are being led to believe that psychiatric diseases are solely due to chemical imbalances. This could not be further from the truth. 

Integrative psychiatry utilizes a multifaceted approach to health and wellness by  asserting that you are much more than a mixture of chemical imbalances. In fact, your diagnosis may be a manifestation of underlying dysfunctional patterns that can be met without the need for psychiatric medication. 

At Aayu clinics, we understand the complex web of biological systems and interrelationships between the mind-body- and spirit. In addition to conventional medicine, Aayu Clinics is proud to offer an array of integrative care services that will strive to help you get to the root cause. 

Advanced Nutrient Therapy:

Just as your personality is completely unique, so are your set of biochemical and nutritional requirements. Epigenetics, environmental factors, and gastrointestinal integrity (ability to absorb and use nutrients effectively, all differ from person to person. When assessing all of these factors, we get a picture of your constitutional ‘biotype’ that aims to formulate a treatment plan that uncovers many factors underlying the physical manifestations that your body is experiencing. 

With advanced nutrient therapy, we aim to:

  • Optimize nutrient concentration needed for neurotransmitter production

  • Reduce oxidative stress 

  • Strengthen epigenetic regulation of neurotransmitter capacity

  • Increase absorption and assimilation of nutrients by supporting your microbiome. 

We are proud to offer an array of integrative panels that help to explore your biochemical individuality. Some tests may include: 

Addressing the inflammation-Gut-Brain Relationship

Depression is often an inflammatory driven condition, largely orchestrated by an imbalance in the gastrointestinal and immune systems. Food sensitivities or intolerances, chronic stress and toxins in our environment can lead to gastrointestinal inflammation and eventually gastrointestinal permeability aka “leaky gut syndrome”. The resulting inflammation can negatively affect your nervous system, resulting in symptoms of depression, PMS, anxiety, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal issues (bloating, IBS), sleep disturbances, and weight gain. 

In addressing mental health disorders as an inflammatory driven condition, we aim to:

Balance the microbiome

Modulate lifestyle factors

Provide natural substances to reduce systemic inflammation

Restore Gastrointestinal barrier integrity

Uncover and treat food sensitivities and intolerances

Hormone Imbalances and the “Psychiatric Pretenders” 

Psychiatric conditions are typically diagnosed as an imbalance in neurochemicals, resulting in a prescription with the hopes of balance neurotransmitters. 

Research is now uncovering a number “Psychiatric pretenders”, that are manifesting as mental-emotional disturbances but are due to hormonal imbalances and dysregulation. Among the two largest pretenders are an underactive thyroid and insulin dysregulation. Other hormones that have been shown cause mood disturbances with out of balance include sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone etc.), and cortisol (the stress hormone). 

We are equipped to uncover and re-balance any hormonal disturbance that may be contributing to your current symptoms. 

Adrenal Gland Support and Stress Reduction

Cortisol, or known as the stress hormone, sits on top of the kidneys and is released during a perceived period of acute stress. Although beneficial during our evolutionary past for survival, chronic stress has been implicated as a contributing factor in many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.  

The term ‘Stress’ was coined by Hans Selye, an endocrinologist who proposed that chronic stress can lead an individual through a number of stages, eventually leading to exhaustion (General Adaptation Syndrome). In integrative medicine, we call this phenomenon HPA axis (Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) dysregulation.

Chronic exposure to the “acute stress response” can lead to

  • High blood pressure

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Intestinal issues

  • Skin problems, including skin aging

  • Weight fluctuations

  • Changes in sex drive

  • Anxiety disorders

Those who meet the picture for HPA dysregulation may be asked to provide a simple saliva sample that measures cortisol levels throughout the day. HPA imbalances can be treated naturally through lifestyle interventions, supplements, herbs, relaxation etc.

Epigenetics, The Environment,  and Mental Health

The growing field of epigenetics is finding that a family history of a psychiatric diagnosis does not destine an individual for illness. In fact, your environment and behaviors are just as important (if not more) as a predictor of optimal health. At Aayu, we aim to thoroughly understand the intimate relationship between your epigenetics, the environment, and your susceptibility to environmental toxins.