According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4 out of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. Major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are among the most common mental disorders that currently plague numerous countries and have varying incidence rates from 26 percent in America
to 4 percent in China. Though some of this difference may be attributable to the manner in which individual healthcare providers diagnose mental disorders, this noticeable distribution can be also explained by studies which show that a lack of certain dietary nutrients contribute to the development of mental disorders.
Notably, essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are often deficient in the general population in America and other developed countries; and are exceptionally deficient in patients suffering from mental disorders. Studies have shown that daily supplements of vital nutrients often effectively reduce patients’ symptoms.
Supplements that contain amino acids also reduce symptoms, because they are converted to neurotransmitters that alleviate depression and other mental disorders. Based on emerging scientific evidence, this form of nutritional supplement treatment may be appropriate for controlling major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), addiction, and autism.
Nutritional Therapy and Mental Health
Nutritional therapy is a system of healing based on the belief that food and nutrients provide the medicine to obtain and maintain a state of health. Although some mental health problems require medical intervention, many conditions can be relieved effectively with nutritional therapy.
Like other health care professionals, those who work in the area of nutrition use special tools. The therapeutic tools a nutritional therapist uses include:
- Using scientific diagnostic tests through professional laboratories
- Identifying and countering food intolerances
- Correcting nutritional deficiencies or excesses
- Improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients
- Devising individually tailored supplement and dietary regimes
- Encouraging good life-long dietary and lifestyle habits
- Creating individual weight management programs
One of the tenets to nutritional therapy is that nutrition influences all aspects of life. Nutrition affects a person’s emotional state, happiness, overall health, physical appearance, and even relationships. Specific nutrients have balancing and restorative effects that should be taken into consideration when planning a healthy diet. Moreover, a healthful diet includes eating the most natural food available because overly processed food contains little of its original nutritional value and a host of unhealthy additives.
Scientists are finding that nutrients must be in exact measurement to one another do their best work. Lack of a certain nutrient will lead to deficiency in others. For example, insufficiency of vitamins D and K will result in the blood’s inability to absorb vitamins A and E. Because nutrients act in concert with one another, it’s wise to see a nutritionist for a thorough evaluation.
Nutritional therapy takes into consideration the three distinct stages of disease; warning, resistance and exhaustion. Adequate nutrition is required at all three stages. A qualified mental health professional or physician should treat any disease, but if your nutrition level is improved, your health can be restored at a faster rate, and nutrients can minimize the side effects of drugs if they’re needed.