SERVICES FOR ADULTS, INCLUDING WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES:
- Drug-free approaches. In treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, migraines, PMS, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and the like. I encourage patients to eliminate the likely “trigger foods”, and then recommend nutrients and herbs (for which there are usually double-blind controlled studies confirming that they do help those conditions).
- Psychopharmacology. I prescribe medications when the nutritional/integrative approaches are not working well enough, or are simply not appropriate for the condition in question. While the preference is to avoid prescription medications whenever possible, nevertheless I am relieved that these “big guns” are at our disposal. In addition, when medications are needed, the integrative approaches will usually synergize them, so that (a) we can keep the dose of the medications as low as possible, and (b) side effects from the medications can be reduced to a significant extent.
- Psychotherapy. I would describe my approach as eclectic. It is focused on solving life’s day-to-day problems, and seeing how unresolved family pressures (improper “nurture”) might in some situations throw a monkey wrench into daily living. My patients tell me I help them a lot.
- Meditation. I have been teaching patients to meditate since the 1970s, before the practice that is now called “Mindfulness” had been named. It has been gratifying to see the practice of meditation become more mainstream. I explain to my patients that learning to become present for oneself, and to attain a mindset that can find stillness even in the face of stress, gives us “shock absorbers” that help us to handle life’s stresses – without getting “distressed” and sick.
- Evaluation of medical conditions, which may or may not be presenting as “emotional” or “cognitive” issues. Over the four decades that I’ve been in practice, a number of patients have come to me looking either for nutritional approaches to their problems, or for fresh insights into a medical condition that has not been accurately diagnosed or successfully treated. The conditions have included epilepsy, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, PMS, menopausal symptoms, and so on. Here are two examples:
- For several patients who were eventually diagnosed as having Lyme’s Disease, I was the first physician to properly diagnose their conditions. For example, an established therapy patient called me one day to report that she had developed Bell’s Palsy (drooping of one of the eyelids). I knew that Lyme’s Disease can present with Bell’s Palsy, so I asked if she had had a rash. When she said Yes, I referred her to a Center of Excellence for Lyme’s Disease, and the diagnosis was confirmed. What she had assumed was several cases of poison ivy, over several months, had actually been the bullseye rash of Lyme’s. She called me on the phone to say “My internist, and the neurologist he referred me to, both missed it – but you figured it out over the phone. Thank you!”
- I once correctly diagnosed a case of cryoglobulinemia. I suspected the patient had this very rare disorder of the immune system because told me he would get severe itching as autumn and winter came on, and then it would clear up as the warm weather came back – which is the characteristic pattern of this disorder. We confirmed it on lab tests. His primary care physician had completely missed it.
These two cases above will hopefully convey to the reader that I am a physician first, and a psychiatrist second. I try to look at the “whole person”. I don’t automatically assume that a low/depressed mood, or undue fatigue, are necessarily a sign of a “psychiatric” disorder. I’ll do the detective work, to see what else might really be going on. That is, by the way, the mindset that led me to figure out for myself the mechanisms and the rationale for the choice of nutrients and herbs that would be logical candidates to help the brain make more (or less) of its neurotransmitters, and to balance them. I think of myself as a “systems engineer”, seeing how things work together.
Services for Children and Adolescents
I do treat children and adolescents, but on a very limited basis: I look to see if their food, or the physical environment in which they live, might contain triggers that are disrupting mood or cognition.
- Typical examples would be ADD/ADHD, and the Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
- I will see these younger patients in a consulting capacity, to augment any help they may already be getting from mental health professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker.
- I am a General Psychiatrist, and do not have professional training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. So if a younger person needs evaluation of, or psychopharmacological treatment for a serious condition – such as suicidal ideation – I would not be able to take on such a case.
- That being said, I have used my Integrative Psychiatry skills to help hundreds of children with ADD/ADHD and/or Autistic Spectrum issues to become healthier, happier, and more integrated into the family and the classroom.