Why You Should See an ND and a Therapist For Your Mental Health
Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with mental health struggles is reaching out for help. It can take a lot of courage to take the first step and find someone to trust. If you’re struggling, you want to know who to reach out to, and you want to know that it is going to help.
What’s exciting is that we are now at the frontier of a new paradigm of integrative mental health care. This new therapeutic approach combines:
1) the talk-based therapies of a psychotherapist +
2) the body-based medicine of a naturopathic doctor.
It is a team approach, of therapist + ND, that roots out both mental and biochemical causes of your struggles, and restores balance in both body and mind. It’s twice as strong a medicine, and it doesn’t leave out half of the equation.
Therapists are trained in specific talk and behavioural therapies that are at the foundation of recovery. Therapy helps people change habitual thinking, challenge core beliefs, reframe childhood experiences, illuminate attachment styles, develop insight and acceptance, and more.
But what therapy can’t do on its own is address the physical obstacles to mental wellness. As a naturopathic doctor, I recognize that there are many physical conditions that stand in the way of feeling fully balanced, even when you have a good therapist. These conditions range from disease states to issues of biochemistry and lifestyle. To know more about the physical causes of mood and anxiety issues, read this.
For example, if someone is seeing a therapist for anxiety, but also has unstable blood sugar and poor digestion, these physical issues can regularly flare the anxiety despite the good work they do with their therapist. The same goes for someone struggling with depression that also has issues like iron deficiency, food sensitivities, inflammation, and perhaps more commonly, hormonal imbalances.
I see many women who struggle with mood around their periods, yet typical treatments either don’t address hormones (talk therapy or antidepressants) or squash them (oral contraceptive pill). If underlying hormonal or other physical issues are standing in your way, you may feel like you simply can’t do the work with your therapist, or you’re not getting the results you want.
A Better Approach
Integrative mental health care takes all systems involved in a person’s experience and treats both mind and body. A naturopathic doctor supports mental health by looking at blood work, specialized testing, biochemistry, diet, and lifestyle. From there, I use evidence-based nutrition, targeted supplementation, botanical medicine, lifestyle changes, acupuncture, meditation, and other therapies to help restore balance.
This approach works very well in tandem with talk therapy. You can dive deeper in therapy without the physical obstacles to wellness. You may see a therapist weekly or bi-weekly, and can support progress significantly by adding a naturopathic consultation. This approach also works in place of, or in addition to, pharmaceuticals.
As a naturopathic doctor, I work with this integrative mental health approach at Darou Wellness and am happy to get you on the path to sustainable mental peace. If you already have a therapist, consult with me about your health, and I can collaborate with your therapist to keep them updated as we co-treat. If you don’t have a therapist, I can help you find a suitable therapist that meets your needs through my network as we work together.
Mind and body are not separate, and it’s time your care reflected that. Integrative mental health care is here to help you.
For more on the physical causes of depression, see https://www.lachlancrawford.com/blog/what-really-causes-depression
For more on why physical causes are often overlooked, see https://www.lachlancrawford.com/blog/diagnostic-overshadowing