Dr. Mark Hyman's "UltraMind" Strategy for Brain and Mental Health
Mental illness is on the rise, and conventional medicine cannot cure it. That's the message from Mark Hyman, MD, who offers an alternative answer in his new book, The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First. He notes that an epidemic of "broken brains" affects millions of people worldwide, taking many forms -- anxiety, depression, dementia, addictions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, etc. The common model for addressing these disorders is drug therapy... but drugs alone fail to address the underlying causes of mental disease.
THE SHORTCOMINGS OF DRUG THERAPY
The real cure for brain disorders lies outside the brain, Dr. Hyman explains. If you suffer from depression, for example, you are not suffering from a "Prozac deficiency" in spite of the fact that doctors may prescribe it or other antidepressants. Mainstream medicine's approach is to make a diagnosis based on symptoms, then suppress those symptoms with a medication rather than identifying the cause and fixing that. For example, many cases of depression are actually rooted in nutritional deficiencies or imbalances, including vitamin D, B-12, an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, or a problem with digestive function or some other biological deficit. And, just about all these can be corrected without antidepressants. In fact, Dr. Hyman points out that most people who take antidepressants find that they offer only partial relief, lose effectiveness over time or simply don't work. These drugs also cause side effects such as weight gain and loss of sex drive, and more than half of people who take them quit within months.
In reality, everything that affects the body affects the brain, since it is one of the most vital organs of the body, and everything that affects the brain affects the rest of the body. Simply taking an antidepressant for depression -- or Ritalin for ADHD, or an anti-anxiety medication and so forth -- fails to take this basic body-mind connection into account. In Dr. Hyman's opinion, a new paradigm for mental illness must take a wider view of a person, not merely focus on the brain, since there are myriad causes of mental illness. This view should replace the shortsighted approach to treatment where a doctor marks down a diagnostic code on a patient's chart and prescribes the corresponding pill.
DR. HYMAN'S ULTRAMIND SOLUTION
According to Dr. Hyman, there are seven key influences affecting your brain, your memory, attention, mood and behavior -- nutrition, hormones, inflammation, digestion, detoxification, energy metabolism and the mind-body connection. When one or more of these are thrown off-kilter, imbalances develop, which can manifest in mental and/or emotional illness. Identifying and addressing imbalances thusly enables the body's natural healing mechanisms to take over, bringing about dramatic improvements in mood, memory, attention, concentration, cognition and other brain functions.
Dr. Hyman recommends a three-pronged strategy for brain wellness: His book has quizzes to help identify which of your seven underlying systems isn't working... suggestions on how to fix the underlying problem causing the imbalance... and ways to nourish all these aspects so they can function optimally as an integrated system. We took a brief look at how each of the seven key systems affects mental health, and what you can do to help keep them in balance.
Drugs can provide a temporary fix for brain problems, says Dr. Hyman, but these are not the long-term solution. As usual, it takes more work than popping a pill, but in the long run a healthy mind and body are worth it.Source(s):
Mark Hyman, MD, author of The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First (Scribner), UltraMetabolism (Atria) and The UltraSimple Diet (Pocket). Dr. Hyman is founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, and the former co-medical director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts. Visit his Web sites at www.ultrawellness.com, www.ultrawellnesscenter.com and www.ultramind.com.