Maybe you regularly seek alternatives to your physical health but you still rely on mainstream medicine for your mental health. While we certainly wouldn’t recommend that you just stop taking any medicine you’ve been prescribed, there are indeed better ways to deal with it.
Just like with your physical health, your mental health responds better when you look at your wellness from a perspective that includes your body, mind, and spirit. The providers at Nutura Clinic in Portland, Oregon, consider your entire person and how to keep you well.
Here we explain more about how naturopathic medicine can provide effective solutions for your mental health.
Why seek alternatives
Depression, anxiety, and stress are very common afflictions in this modern age. Some researchers say that as many as 1 in 10 Americans are taking an antidepressant. Among women in their 40s and 50s, this number rises to 1 in 4.
But antidepressant medications are far from a cure-all. As many as 50% of people struggle to find one that works well. And even then, the drugs often come with some hefty side effects, including weight gain and reduced libido.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax® or Valium® are considered the gold standard in treating anxiety, but these medications come with a boatload of risks, especially physical dependency. You can’t simply stop taking benzodiazepines cold turkey. You must taper down.
The naturopathic approach
The naturopathic approach to mental health is very different. Rather than just handing you a prescription for antidepressants or benzodiazepines, we look together at the root causes of your anxiety and stress.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as looking for a less stressful job or one with a shorter commute. But most often, the solution is a bit more complex. You may need to change your lifestyle quite a bit to bring your life into better harmony.
It may seem like diet is the answer to everything, right? Well, that’s for good reason. What you put into your body powerfully affects how you feel. If you live on a diet of fast food and empty carbohydrates, you probably won’t feel too good.
We work with you to find healthier foods that you like to eat and build a diet from those choices. Your body needs the right balance of nutrients and micronutrients to function at its best.
Your body is designed to move. It doesn’t matter whether you just start with walking or you join a gym, any exercise is better than none. The best form of exercise is one you love doing, because you’re more likely to keep doing something you don’t hate.
Science indicates that exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants. Exercise rebuilds your brain as you do it.
Ideally, you should aim to get a minimum of 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity (which doesn’t just mean aerobics; it can be any activity that elevates your heart rate) and two days each week of strength training.
Meditation is about so much more than just sitting cross-legged and saying “om.” Meditation should be a daily practice of clearing your mind. It may take time to build up to a regular, daily practice, but it will pay off by significantly reducing your stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a beautiful combination of both exercise and meditative practices. Yoga improves your balance and strength in addition to easing back pain and arthritis symptoms, reducing your risk of heart disease. It’s also proven to improve your stress levels and mental health.
If you’re having difficulty managing your stress, you’re not alone. But it’s not something you have to live with; naturopathic medicine can help. Contact the providers at Nutura Clinic today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.