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Enhancing Mental Health & Wellbeing

We live in complex times. A nuanced age that astonishes me daily with the power of what we know. A time when words such as ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘integrated’ pepper all fields of inquiry. As a result, we are creating a rich tapestry of related knowledge that provides us a deeper understanding. The subtleties that we have gleamed through science, and the reach that we have through technology is simply astounding. And thankfully due to our global village mentality that is changing how we see the world, we have a greater respect for (and now more widespread circulation) of local or indigenous philosophies that help enhance our own. These different ways of seeing provide us with a more nuanced worldview to help bring about respect through knowing, and direction for a sustainable future. Today our children are taught more than we were to discover and learn by exploring a topic from various perspectives. A great lesson in life is to take a multi-pronged approach to problem solving. Our pursuit of knowledge, and how we have shared that across the spectrum, provides us with tools to manage life’s complexities. So too when we make long-lasting lifestyle changes from various angles, it helps us create traction and keep-up our motivation to make it stick.

Make a choice to bring forth positive changes in your life. Instead of deciding to stop whatever behavior is putting you on a detrimental course (negative thinking), think instead about starting a new practice that will ensure your continual development. Something that can take the place of the behavior you want to stop. Approach it from a multi-perspective position to help you move forward, to see the strengths and opportunities that change can bring; as well as assess the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that may result. This way you can better prepare for them, rather than be thrown off guard by them. Be honest with yourself about where you are in the process, not only focused on where you want to be. As with all things, it is by way of the middle ground that we build strength in our core – finding that balance of keeping yourself honest without losing sight of your goal.  

Considering the effects of diet and exercise on overall wellbeing, let’s take a multifaceted approach to how one may work on incremental improvements. You can look at how you shop for food (are you hungry and tired while at the grocery store?). How one prepares food (what small changes can you make to eat healthier?). How one eats (are you eating on the run or sitting down for 30 minutes to destress while you digest?). Finally, assess your level of activity throughout the day (how can I add 20min of moderate exercise to my day?). We need to be realistic about our goals so that they fit our schedule and help keep us motivated. Making several small changes to establish a solid routine, rather than setting oneself up for discouragement by trying to take on too much at the start.

So too, clinicians can provide more robust treatment in mental health with a multifaceted approach, and help patients take ownership of their lifestyle changes.

Looking at depression in particular, we know there are many non-medicinal ways to boost serotonin levels to help curb depression. Exercise, diet rich in serotonin producing foods, meditation, building-up social connections, music and drumming, art therapy, etc. There is talk therapy (and psychoanalysis) and various methods that rely on cognitive biofeedback mechanisms, to help one learn to process and move past the depressive state. More often than not, a multifaceted approach using many of these non-medicinal methods is enough to work through one’s depression. However, we know many individuals need more direct support in the form of medication, the use of SSRIs, and thankfully now Ketamine infusion treatment. The downside of medication is the length of time needed for it to begin working effectively, on the order of a couple of weeks to a month. Ketamine treatment has shown tremendous promise. Patients experience immediate relief from symptoms, and together with other non-medicinal methods, will help keep depression at bay. Perhaps even more importantly for certain individuals, it can be an effective prong in a varied approach when one uses Ketamine treatment at the start. Given the timeframe that most SRI/SSRIs require to reach effective levels, Ketamine infusion treatment can provide an immediate relief of symptoms, while giving the body time to develop a more heightened response to medication.

Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression: The First Decade of Progress is, according to the publisher (http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319429236), the “first book to systematically review the robust clinical and preclinical research on ketamine use for treatment resistant depression.” Regarding depression and OCD, some studies suggest ketamine infusion, combined with other established CBT treatments such as exposure and response therapy or EX/RP therapy (as well as SRI/SSRI medication), may accelerate and prolong the efficacy of overall treatment.

To discuss these findings and learn how Ketamine infusion can enhance your current treatment plan, please call us today for a free consultation.

Author
Isbel Cruz-Chaudhry

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