Our world today has certainly become far more chaotic than we had anticipated. As such, it becomes challenging to avoid toxic threatening thoughts and downstream manifestations like depression or anxiety. As our guest today makes clear, we don’t have to settle into this mental mess as if it is just our “new normal.” There is hope and there is help available to us, and the road to healthier thoughts and more happiness may actually be shorter than we think. Continue reading
What an exciting and important presentation we have for you today. For many years we have been providing information focused on the pivotal role of nutritional choices as they relate to the brain, mostly in the context of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Today, we’re going to explore how our nutritional choices actually impact us from a mood perspective with our very special guest, Dr. Uma Naidoo. Let me tell you a bit more about her.
Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space: She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef who graduated with her culinary schools’ most coveted award, and a nutrition specialist. Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field.
In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
Integration Psychotherapy, pioneered by our guest, Dr. Ingmar Gorman, is a fascinating technique that brings a powerful level of therapeutic efficacy to the use of psychedelics. Psychedelic experiences are certainly becoming more available, and what we learn today is how fundamentally important it is to appropriately process these experiences after they have occurred. So much literature is being published describing the efficacy of psychedelic compounds in the treatment of things like PTSD and refractory depression, but as Dr. Gorman makes clear, it’s not just the taking of the medicine that fully allows realization of improvement. Equally important is the post-experience therapy that helps frame and contextualize what the psychedelic experience has presented. Continue reading
Why do we not generally discuss the fact that there is an epidemic of mental illness in our society? Or that our lifestyle choices may have an impact on our risk for these conditions (like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and others)? Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn’t much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the “mental illness” label―damaging and devastating on its own―can often prevent sufferers from getting the help they need.
It’s something we all do at the holidays, when we’re surrounded by gingerbread men, hot cocoa, fruitcakes, and chocolate candies. Faced with the choice of the sweet treat or healthier alternatives, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into a sugar-laden trap. Continue reading
December of 2019 marks the publication of a new medical textbook, The Microbiome and the Brain (CRC Press). The text features chapters focused on a number of important topics, among them the role of gut bacteria in a variety of medical conditions including autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The common theme throughout the book, as one would surmise from the title, is the relationship between the gut and brain health. The chapters have been written by some of the most well respected researchers and clinicians from around the world, and I am honored to be the editor-in-chief of this important contribution.
One area in which the relationship between the gut and the brain that seems to be getting a lot of attention as of late focuses on how variations in the gut bacteria may ultimately contribute to alterations in mood. Specifically, there is currently a fairly in-depth pursuit to understand the relationship between nuances of bacterial constituents and depression. Continue reading
Anxiety has become exceedingly widespread in adult Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18% of American adults – 40 million people – suffer from anxiety at any given moment while nearly a third of us will experience symptoms of anxiety disorder at some point in our lifetimes. Incredibly, the average age of onset is 11 years. Women are 60% more likely to experience anxiety disorder during the course of their lifetime in comparison to men.
These numbers are impressive and clearly support our understanding as to why people are seeking out approaches, aside from pharmaceuticals, that can be helpful. Continue reading
I’m 23, and an active CrossFit-er, fitness nutrition specialist, and personal trainer. When I was 21 though, I started experiencing severe obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms. I had always exhibited some common traits of it, but never as bad as it was a few short years ago.
I had absolutely no idea what to do, how to cure it, and thought I was doomed forever. Though I was still able to carry on my daily life, I lived in a constant state of anxiety. It took me 2 years to find a therapist who would help me work through much of this anxiety. Through intensive work, we were able to pinpoint the fact that many times in my life when I experienced episodes of anxiety, I was also indulging in carbs, sugar, or gluten. Anxiety disorders thrive on stress and the reaction my body had to those things was every bit of a stress reaction. Continue reading