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- Chinese Medicine and Mental Illness
In a very well written book, author Robert Whitaker notes that since the advent of second generation psychiatric drugs like prozac in 1987, the number of Americans with mental illness has not only not declined; as one would think they should with drugs that are actually improving or helping to reverse mental illness; but rather the number has continued to increase dramatically (Anatomy of an Epidemic, Crown Publishing, New York 2010). Mr. Whitaker further illustrates that between the years 1987 and 2007 the number of Americans that were mentally ill enough to be receiving Social disability checks from the government had in fact nearly doubled from a little over 2 million to 4 million.
Even though statistics are showing conclusively that medications alone are not helping to reduce incidence of mental illness, prescriptions for such medications are on the rise, and more and more, also being prescribed for an ever widening variety of conditions. According to a Washington Post Article from March 12, 2012, physicians are now beginning to prescribe atypical antipsychotic medications like, Zyprexa, Seroquel and Abilify for conditions which they have not been approved for including insomnia, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, dementia and behavioral problems in toddlers (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-03-12/national/35448725_1_atypical-antipsychotics-psychotropic-drugs-abilify.
The same article goes on to note that that anti-psychotic prescriptions for conditions that were considered “off label” doubled between 1995 and 2008, from 4.4 million to 9 million. These statistics are clear indications that our current medication based approach to mental illness needs some revision. Medications alone are not an all encompassing answer to mental illness and writing prescriptions for such medications without due diligence in attempting to help a patient with more natural, less invasive means could not be considered best practice. Why wouldn’t a therapist or physician first attempt to help people with more natural means like behavioral therapy, dietary therapy, exercise or how about one of the world’s oldest and most tried therapies for all types of physical and mental imbalance: Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Writing prescriptions for “problems of living” is fast, it’s easy and there is plenty of financial incentive to utilize them, but is that really the best direction for the treatment of mental illness and the future of healthcare in America? This is the first in a 5 part series in which we will continue to explore the topic of America’s rise in incidence of mental illness and the role that Chinese Medicine could play in helping find more natural solutions for mental illness.
Terry M. Chen, Licensed Acupuncturist
Open Sky Acupuncture, Acupuncture Eugene Oregon
Open Sky Acupuncture
Posted in Acupuncture - Chinese Medicine, acupuncture articles, acupuncture research, emotional health, Mental Health, Nutrition - Lifestyle, stress, Uncategorized
Tagged acupuncture, acupuncture articles, anxiety, Chinese Medicine, depression, emotional health, Traditional Chinese Medicine, well being
- Don’t plan too many activities in too short a time. Vacations, even holiday vacations, are meant to be a source of renewal and regeneration. Planning too many activities in small amounts of time is a sure fire recipe for holiday stress and agitation. Take a little time out for yourself. Have a walk. Do some deep breathing.
- Keep your diet as normal as possible. One of the main focal points of holiday gatherings is food. Often times when placed in different situations for the holidays we tend to simply cave toward eating recklessly and willy-nilly, a cupcake in one hand and leg of lamb in the other. Digestive upset and unstable blood sugar levels can only contribute to stress. Keep mindful of your dietary comfort zone.
- Don’t believe the hype. Remember that the holidays aren’t about buying, selling, having and owning things. We are constantly bombarded from every conceivable direction with ads that tell us image is everything and we can’t possibly be happy unless we own certain indispensable items like high priced sports cars, watches and jewelry. Remember, a kiss begins with your lips not with Kay, so put your wallet down and pucker up. Forget about Black Friday and Cyber Monday and play a nice game of Pinochle with your family instead.
- Cut your relatives some slack. Family gatherings are often hotbeds for unleashing repressed antagonism towards family and friends we haven’t seen in a long while. No body is perfect, probably, especially your family members. Try and give everyone even a little more leeway for acting a bit goofy around the holidays. Keep your awareness and attention focused firmly on ideals like acceptance and appreciation for everything that is right in your life.
- Cut yourself some slack too. As we wind down the year it is the perfect time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past months, to forgive ourselves for any mistakes we’ve made and any perceived imperfections we still maintain. Love yourself as much as possible and you can’t help but be a joy and source of inspiration for other people. Remember that life is about journey and change. There are no permanent destinations in life so enjoy yourself wherever you are.
Terry M. Chen, Licensed Acupuncturist
Open Sky Acupuncture, Eugene OR
Open Sky Acupuncture
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