Friday, September 07, 2007

What Comes Naturally

The natural approach to important aspects of their life is important to some people. On August 7, 2007, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 17th child into this world. The Duggars have become famous for their "natural" approach to birth control. As Irving Berlin might say, they are just doing "what comes naturally."

One of the complaints that some depressives make about treatment is that prescribed medication is just not natural. For a variety of reasons, they object to taking drugs to alleviate their Bipolar Disorder (BPD) or chronic depression symptoms. The argument often offered is that if they used medications created through the science of man, they might become addicted, but if they used "natural" medicants they would not. In their mind, the use of natural substances would be superior to the use of prescribed medications.

I believe that there are a couple of major flaws in that philosophy. First, it is not consistent with the way that most people actually live. When we get a headache, very few of us take Willow Root tea to ease the pain. We go to our medicine cabinet and grab an aspirin, or other "unnatural" pain reliever. Few of us think about natural treatments when we have a stomach ache, or bad cough, or other similar ailments. Even those who disparage man-made medications seldom rush to the health food store for help with their common illnesses.

Secondly, if we consider that God created every element in the world, then it surely follows that everything is "natural." These elements may have been formulated into a medication created by members of the scientific and medical communities, but the ingredients are still made up of substances which naturally occur. Obviously, you can't create something from nothing.

Now, having said that, I do believe that those of us who are depressives should take advantage of everything that might aid in treatment of our illness, including things that are considered to be more "natural." I have long been a fan of orthomolecular psychiatry (study further), which favors the use of nutritional approaches to the treatment of depressive disorders. This community of psychiatrists, though often criticized by other doctors in their field, believe that nutrients are the building blocks for sound physical and mental health. They contend that a natural treatment should be a complementary approach to healing that supports and nourishes the body and brain, helping to counteract the effects of neurotransmitter malfunction.

Deficiencies in diet often lead to needed supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids(fish oil), Folate, B vitamins, Zinc, Selenium, vitamin C, Choline, Phenylalanine, 5-HTP and Manganese. A holistically trained physician may offer information about alternative treatments, and a nutritionist can be an important resource.

Personally, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to improve my mental health. I would stand on my head, if it would make me feel less depressed. I believe that those of us who have a mood disorder should take advantage of every thing that might possibly help in the treatment of our illness. I would suggest, though, that we always discuss this approach with our primary psychiatric professional. Even vitamins can be taken in toxic doses.

Naturally, I exercise caution in all medical matters.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

1 comment:

Boo Boo said...

Part of the reason, at least what I can offer, for not giving in to medications sooner is pride. I wanted to be able to lick this thing by myself. I knew I had a problem - little did I realize how overwhelming it was until I actually did get help - but I felt since I'd been there for me before, I didn't need help from anyone else.

I agree with you regarding medicines - I'll state it a different way - everything breaks down into chemical components. There are only so many chemical components in the universe that really everything is all made from the same stuff. It's just how we mix it.

My current "team" consists of my primary doc, a nurse practitioner, a behavioral therapist and, yes, a psychiatrist. WOW. And they all advocate eating better and exercising as a way to help manage depression. They are correct for these things have helped but in my case, they do not fix it all - which is why I'm on the meds. Absolutely diet makes a difference.