Can Holistic Treatments Help Promote Better Mental Health?

One in five—that’s how many US adults are diagnosed with a mental illness according to an Orlando Sentinel report. The good news is that mental health medication is more readily available than ever. In fact, one in six Americans takes some form of psychiatric drug like antidepressants and sedatives. Some mental health practitioners, however, believe that promoting better brain health requires more than just medication. According to them, a more holistic approach to treatment may provide better results.

Medication is only the first step

Sure, studies have time and time again shown that medication—both manufactured and natural—may help improve brain health by regulating the various chemicals in the brain. However, advocates of holistic mental health treatments say that in some cases, drugs may not be the key to long-term results. Instead, they recommend the evaluation of all aspects of the patient’s life to see if there is anything that could be causing or further aggravating the condition. This means looking at things like the patient’s problems, diet, physical health and exercise habits. Doing so should allow for a more complete diagnosis, which, in turn, paves the way for a more complete treatment.

Going beyond the symptoms

While medication is meant to fix the symptoms of mental health conditions, things like therapy, exercise, proper nutrition and even massages could address what’s causing or aggravating them. After all, even if a patient takes medication, if they’re exposed to the same stressors day in and day out, then the drugs simply become a crutch. What you want, instead, according to advocates of holistic treatments, is to use medication as a bridge—and only when it’s necessary. They say that while some patients do require it, some may only need to make some lifestyle changes. In fact, acupuncturist Covyn Montemayor from Total Health Guidance in Orlando says that lifestyle is one of the biggest contributors not only to restoring, but also maintaining mental health.

No one-size-fits-all solution

Mental illness is caused by a wide variety of factors. This means that there’s no way to declare a clear winner between medication and holistic treatments. At the end of the day, the kind of treatment used would still ultimately depend on the specific condition of the patient. Regardless, holistic treatments, without a doubt, offer a promising complement to more traditional treatment methods.

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