Holistic Mental Health Care

Holistic Mental Health Care

11 months ago

There is no universally agreed-upon definition of what a holistic mental healthcare system would look like. In my own personal evolution as a Cleveland area physician and a psychiatrist during the last three decades, I have reached conclusions about how to best alleviate the suffering of my patients. Some of these views could be challenging. Here are some of my principles for a holistic approach to mental health care:

  1. Mental illnesses cannot be wholly defined as biological, psychological, social, existential or spiritual. The best approach is to take an inventory and uniquely approach each case as an interaction between these factors.
  2. If certain uncomfortable symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and depression are improved by biological interventions, this by no means defines our understanding of the causes of such phenomenon to be purely molecular in nature. Such reductionistic approaches have unwanted implications for developing resilience, recovery, and strengths in human nature.
  3. Just because certain therapies succeed in short-term gains does not mean that their long-term risks are warranted. High-dose benzodiazepine therapy, and opioids for minor pains are such examples.
  4. Taking supplements and relying on untested laboratory work up as done by some charlatan professionals by no means defines holistic. In our culture we are too anxious to treat everything reductionisticly, based on their biological nature. Reliance on mindfulness, prayerful attitude, joy and laughter need to be taken more into consideration.
  5. Economically driven research has skewed our understanding of these illnesses. Many simple interventions that do not require exorbitant costs have been ignored due to the commercialization of treatment approaches and expensive models for delivery of care.

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