Is holistic psychiatry for you? - Article by Dr. Daniel Amen, Psychaitrist

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by AllWXRider, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. AllWXRider

    AllWXRider New Member

    "When Sherri came to our clinic in Reston, Virginia, she complained about memory and concentration problems. Her father had dementia, and she was worried that she might have it too.

    Lilly Somner, D.O., one of the esteemed psychiatrists in our Reston clinic, ordered a brain scan on Sherri, which showed signs of anxiety and depression. She could have stopped the evaluation process there, prescribed an antidepressant, and sent Sherri on her way.

    But Dr. Somner wanted to dig deeper.

    She also ordered blood work and looked at Sherri’s diet, sleeping habits, and more.

    Ordering the blood work proved to be invaluable because Sherri’s lab work showed that she had lupus, an autoimmune disease.

    “I told her she had problems in her brain and her immune system, and they interact strongly with each other,” says Dr. Somner.

    “If I had just given her an antidepressant, it wouldn’t have worked. We had to address the immune system problem as well,” she adds. “It is so important to look at the underlying metabolic problems that underlie so many psychiatric disorders. If I address the underlying causes first, then the psychiatric disorders often go away or are easier to treat.”

    Instead of giving Sherri an antidepressant, she worked on her diet to reduce inflammation, recommended nutrients to support mood, encouraged her to get adequate sleep, and recommended supplements to boost her immune system.

    Sherri’s condition improved tremendously, and her memory and concentration rebounded.

    Dr. Somner specializes in holistic psychiatry. Her patients often ask her…

    …what is holistic psychiatry?

    Dr. Somner describes it as “emotional health without medication, or with as little medication as necessary.” With each patient, she does a comprehensive whole-body metabolic evaluation.

    “I see my job here as connecting the dots between the psychiatric symptoms and what we see on the brain scans and bridge it to what I see on the metabolic level,” she says.

    Dr. Somner is a classically trained psychiatrist, but she found that a lot of what she learned in classical psychiatry didn’t work, or the treatments caused side effects in a lot of people.

    She has found that treating underlying problems first often resolves the psychiatric issues or at least makes them easier to treat.

    For example, when people have unresolved depression, it may be due in part to:

    ?Hashimoto’s disease/thyroiditis.
    ?An abnormality in an enzyme that allows folic acid to be utilized
    ?Low blood flow
    ?Infection, such as Epstein-Barr or Lyme disease
    How does Dr. Somner help her patients?

    ?When thyroid issues are present, thyroid replacement may be necessary.
    ?When folic acid is a problem, she recommends a methylated form of folic acid and B12.
    ?When low blood flow is a problem, making dietary changes and taking cardiovascular supplements to increase blood flow can help
    ?When infections are present, treating them is critical
  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Allwxrider - thanks for posting. I could not agree more with this approach to mental health.

    Here's a story about the efficacy of omega 3's for depression:

    But I don't know of any doctor who would even look into this with a patient complaining of depression.

    Our doctors sorely need education re nutrition and physical and mental health.

  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    In this day and age doctors do look for the underlying causes of depression. My psychiatrist discovered that a a low vitamin B12 and low ferritin was contributing to my depression.

    There are no credible studies that show vitamins/supplements should be the sole treatment for depression. St. John's Wort may help very mild depression but since it is not regulated you are not guaranteed to get a reliable dose.

    It is an exaggeration to say that only alternative doctors look at the "whole patient". Especially these days when doctor's are educated about subjects not taught several decades

    People certainly have the right to other opinions but I base mine on facts- science based medicine.

    That being said, yes there are some poor doctors.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/03/2010]
  4. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I did exaggerate (unthinkingly). I should have said that a majority of doctors would not look into an omega 3 deficiency as an underlying cause of depression. No, I'm not saying that an omega 3 deficiency is the sole cause of depression but it can be a significant one.

    Gap, I'm very glad you had a doctor who did more than just hand out pills. Hopefully doctors are getting more educated, but overall I think we have a long way to go.

  5. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Your reaction about me taking supplements, made me smile. I needed that.

    If there is a true deficiency you need supplements. But I also want quality control and scientific backing, so I either get them prescribed or buy them from places like PH, where I know they are consistently good quality. There are a lot of shady places selling vitamins, so let the buyer beware.

    This may surprise you, but I can be also be critical of, ready for this?, pharmaceutical companies. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    I have never said people have "WEAK" ideas. That would be arrogant. I guess I'm a bit confused what you are saying in that sentence.

    I come from a different perspective than you, possibly different training. That is what makes the world go round and interesting. I don't call people names or hurl accusations at them. I don't play games. I debate the information not the person.

    I am also human and with that comes human fallibility.

    I dare you to say I don't care because I care very deeply. I'm sure you do, too. I do post on other subjects, hopefully give support and have also received support and wonderful ideas and information from this site.

    I bet if taken as a whole, we even agree on more things than disagree.

    Okay, this is getting waaaaayyyyy too serious so before I start singing Kumbaya, I will sign off.

    Anyone know of a good joke? Maybe I should mosey on over to the Chat Board.

    Take care.


    ETA You are spot on about how we are all in this together.[This Message was Edited on 11/03/2010]