Naturopathic Psychiatry & Mental Health
The primary focus in naturopathic psychiatry is to determine the underlying factors that may have predisposed our patients to developing a mental/emotional disorder. Genetics, infection, nutrient deficiency/ excess, environmental/toxic exposures are all considered. Thorough evaluation of these factors, including a detailed history, physical exam and laboratory testing, allows for individualized therapy to address these underlying causes.
Physicians at Seattle Integrative Medicine, have studied orthomolecular medicine as it relates to psychiatry. Central to their practice philosophy is working with people with a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Another goal of naturopathic medicine is to optimize the patient's quality of life. For those on conventional medications, we work to reduce or eliminate the side effects of these treatments. We also advise our patients on diet and lifestyle to optimize their health, encouraging them to be active participants in their care.
Working with our patients' other doctors, we bring a wealth of research and experience from the field of alternative medicine, to ensure that our patients' care is fully integrated.
Aggression & Violent Behavior
Hair lithium concentrations are extremely low in nearly 20% of Americans. Low levels of lithium in the hair are found in certain populations including those with learning disabilities and in incarcerated violent criminals.
Lithium in scalp hair of adults, students, and violent criminals. Effects of supplementation and evidence for interactions of lithium with vitamin B12 and with other trace elements. Schrauzer GN, Biol Trace Elem Res. 34(2), Aug, 1992.
The root of the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga is being used to treat addiction around the world. The plant induces a lucid dream-like state during which individuals describe 'seeing their life flash before them in slow motion.' A single dose of the plant is said to remove drug cravings and physical withdrawal symptoms. The combination of physical and spiritual effects from the ingestion of the plant may prove to be among the more successful treatments for drug addiction.
100 years of ibogaine: neurochemical and pharmacological actions of a putative anti-addictive drug. Popik P.
Inositol, a natural compound, is as effective as fluvoxamine (an antidepressant medication) at reducing anxiety, and is more effective at reducing the frequency of panic attacks in patients with anxiety disorder. Patients taking inositol also reported fewer side effects. Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder.
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
Magnesium deficiency was found in 95 per cent of children with ADHD. This deficiency is most frequently reflected in hair samples (77.6 per cent), in red blood cells (58.6 per cent), and to a lesser extent, in serum (33.6 per cent) of children with ADHD. The lower the magnesium levels, the greater the attention deficit. Supplementation with magnesium reduced symptoms of hyperactivity in these children.
Magnes Res. 1997 Jun; 10(2): 143-8.
Autistic Spectrum Disorders / Asperger's Syndrome
Wheat and dairy free diets have been shown to improve symptoms of autism.
Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2002 Apr; 6(2): 175-83. Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Sep; 5(4): 251-61.
Learning Disorders & Heavy Metals
Lead exposure in children is clearly associated with learning disorders. Approximately 10% of children in the United States have blood lead levels exceeding the national level of concern. The levels in King County are so high that the Department of Public Health recommends all families keep children off bare patches of soil and remove shoes before entering the home to reduce further inhalation and ingestion.
Soc Sci Med. 2003 Mar; 56(5). Neurochem Res. 1999 Apr; 24(4.)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Inositol is a natural product that has effects on the brain. The authors in this study concluded that inositol was effective in depression, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorder- a spectrum of disorders responsive to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Am J Psychiatry.153(9); Sep, 1996.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Dawn simulation is an effective treatment for winter depression.
Am J Psychiatry.150(1), 1993.
Fish Oils & Schizophrenia
Research suggests symptoms of schizophrenia are the result of abnormal lipid metabolism. Schizophrenics have lower blood levels of certain fats. Several studies have shown that replacing the necessary fats results in improvement of schizophrenic symptoms.
CNS Drugs. (15), 2003.
Naturopathic medicine also has a great deal to offer patients with other psychological issues, including:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality
- Conduct Disorder