Intuitive Wellness Center LLC
INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is the use of alternative approaches beneficial to mental health?
The use of alternative approaches in mental health care can be substantially helpful to people living with severe mental illness as they cope with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and stressors that are often compounded by the serious symptoms and consequences of mental illness. A recent Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Fact Sheet, Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Care, describes complementary approaches to mental health care including self-help, diet and nutrition, expressive therapies, acupuncture, yoga, and relaxation and stress reduction techniques; and highlights how these approaches and practices can play an important role in recovery and healing. Although some people with serious mental health problems recover using alternative methods alone, often people combine alternative approaches with more traditional treatments such as psychotherapy, and perhaps medication. In the medical field, the use of alternative health care practices such as acupuncture, stress reduction, and mind/body interventions have been documented to be effective in the treatment of physical and psychological problems such as hypertension, chronic pain, cardiac arrhythmia, anxiety, and the symptoms of both cancer and AIDS.
What are some examples of alternative approaches?
You don't have to spend a fortune at a spa or resort to feel rejuvenated! There are things that you can do at home for very little money to feel great. In the past several years, there has been an explosion of medical evidence to support non-pharmaceutical ways to maximize your health and sense of well-being. These methods include a variety of natural, often inexpensive, safe changes or additions to your daily habits at home, including but not limited to increasing touch, dietary changes, addition of certain food supplements or vitamins, light exposure, meditation, mindfulness, spending time with a loving pet, unleashing your creative energies and exercise. We have had quite a bit of clinical experience working with patients who were not interested in medication, some of whom were experiencing significant amounts of depression and anxiety. We have seen some of these methods enhance response to treatment with pharmaceuticals for psychiatric and medical problems. While we are not trained dietitians, exercise therapists or naturopaths, our collective knowledge base comes from reading widely in the medical and other literature and clinical experiences. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the research and evidence for these modalities and to help you incorporate some of them into your life in a way that suits your lifestyle.
When does medication become necessary?
Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face. But also, sometimes, due to long-standing chronic stressors or due to genetic vulnerability, people just can't derive maximum effect from their therapy, i.e. they can't concentrate or focus on what they need to address, they don't have the energy to make changes, they can't clear their minds from constant negative thoughts, small day to day challenges feel unbearable and at that point, medication may be helpful in terms of providing enough relief for therapy to progress. Sometimes a person’s negative or unhealthy thought processes or emotions are so rigid, intense or unrealistic that day to day activities become insurmountable. Medication can provide a loosening of the hold of these thoughts and emotions so that you can function and live your life. Medication can be life-saving and liberating in some cases!
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In many cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. We can help you determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems, and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. If you don't feel that you can make the commitment to therapy at this time in your life, most likely, we will prescribe medication for you as long as we try to meet at least once a month for an hour (allows a good check-in), so that we can monitor your response to the medication in the context of what is happening in your life.
Reliable Sources of Information on Mental Illness and Advocacy
World Health Organization (WHO) Directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. Provides leadership on global matters including shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, and monitoring and assessing health trends.
National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) Mission is to transform the understanding & treatment for mental illness through basic and clinical research.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Nations largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to advocacy efforts.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.