How Does Functional Psychology Address Mental Health Issues?
When you think of a psychologist, you may feel more stress than relief. People who have mental health issues know what a daunting ordeal treatment can be. You might want more than a list of symptoms and people asking how you feel.
It's no surprise, then, that only 41% of people who had a mental disorder in the past year received standard treatment from professionals. A much smaller percentage has even heard of the latest medical solution: functional psychology.
Below we will discuss functional psychology and how it can help you enjoy better overall mental health.
The Basics of Functional Psychology
You might wonder how psychology fits into the functional health definition you read about in school.
Functional psychology takes what we know about mental health (which continues to advance as research efforts grow) and applies it to every aspect of our daily lives. This form of care can involve wellness programs, lifestyle changes, nutritional approaches, and other holistic treatments.
While doctors have not abandoned conventional approaches like surgery, pharmaceutics, or psychotherapy, it appears they have started to use these tools less often. A change in lifestyle habits may be much less expensive and invasive than surgery (in some cases).
Changing the Way We Approach Symptoms
One way we use functional medicine is to compare reported symptoms with accurate diagnostic testing. Unfortunately, reading symptoms off a list when those symptoms overlap could lead to misinformation.
You might be thinking, don't psychologists already work with other doctors to figure out what's really wrong with their patient? Is there even integrative medicine near me?
More doctors now use holistic care to look beyond the symptoms they see on the surface. Symptoms alone can lead even the brightest doctors in the wrong direction.
Treating a full picture of health is often much more complicated than treating a cold or mending a broken bone. Holistic care requires the psychologist to review the patient's whole body health.
A patient may be unaware of certain genetic triggers. They may not list certain symptoms, habits, etc. if they do not seem pertinent. Other information could have been wrongly diagnosed in the past.
More severe cases utilize functional psychiatry to examine discrepancies among diagnoses. For instance, brain tumors typically present with mood and memory issues, personality changes, and sometimes psychotic episodes.
While the above scenario is generally rare, functional medicine can quickly eliminate this possibility.
The same issues that complicate treatment can also help doctors treat individuals more effectively. Filing through records, examination results, and lab tests seem like more effort. Still, this process can uncover puzzle pieces otherwise lost in the mix.
Looking Beyond the Office Walls
Functional psychology reminds us that you don't know what's wrong until you know the person's life inside and out. It's important to eliminate possible causes of each symptom for the most effective treatment.
A person could appear mentally stable based on their medical history, for instance, but noticing minor changes in their body and environment could point to a mental disorder.
Many doctors use an organic acid test to detect chronic illnesses and neurological disorders. The process is as simple as a quick urine test and provides clear results.
Children struggling with confusion and concentration in school could be dismissed as unintelligent or diagnosed with ADHD based on present symptoms. If another mental disorder is at play, it can change behavior and overall health.
Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental disorder might never know what was causing their symptoms (ask any 1800's painter).
Someone who goes to the doctor with headaches, fever, vomiting, and so forth could leave the office with no answers. If that person visits their psychologist, though, they may find that they have copper poisoning from using cookware with acidic foods.
Mental Health Starts in the Gut
Your gut is directly tied to your mental health. Gut microbes are in constant communication with your nervous system. They also affect how stable your neurotransmitters are, which control how your body reacts to daily life.
What you eat before working out, for example, can either prepare your body for vigorous activity or stress it out. Dark chocolate, bananas, or peanut butter can give your brain a boost before the workout even starts.
Your gut also works to tell you when it's not working correctly. You could have built-up toxicity in your system that causes unusual symptoms. Those symptoms could mimic various illnesses.
Many people are unaware of nutritional deficiencies that can throw off their entire nervous system. Diabetics run a greater risk of various diseases mainly when blood sugars are hard to control.
Of course, there are many other dietary factors that can result in brain dysfunction. Someone with gut issues could use holistic care to discover their inability to process nutrients, which could affect their anxiety. Low cholesterol can be found in extreme cases of depression.
While nutritional awareness is vast, there are online resources to help you learn about gut health. Doing your research can help you avoid unwarranted fears about eating certain foods.
The Future of Mental Health Care
Functional psychology already helps doctors think outside the box. Psychiatric symptoms are often reexamined by psychologists when new symptoms emerge or point to more severe health issues.
In the future, the average person could have their entire genetic history available at birth. Doctors could run this information alongside information gathered during the patient's first round of visits, helping them to discover the individual's specific health triggers.
Diagnostic tools would also likely improve with such a comprehensive understanding of mental health. Instead of dreaming of fewer dementia symptoms, for example, the next generation could dream of being dementia-free.
A fully-functioning mind is the key to a happy, healthy body. Don't wait for health issues to arise. Check out our latest articles on eating and living healthy!