Stressed & Depressed- Teaming Up with Doctors

When I began focusing on developing my private practice, I chose to seek out a few medical professionals to “team up” with to boost my knowledge and support my claims as using a wellness approach in my business.  While other clinicians were building relationships with schools, daycare’s, and other educational establishments, I knew that my starting force would be the medical community.  Here I am now working with some of the greatest doctors, nurse practitioners, PA’s, dentists and chiropractors in my community, and I can confidently say that they success of my clients is directly related to the interrelated care the receive between myself and my community partners!

I recently read an article titled, “Can Infection Give You the Blues?” by Erich Kasten.  This article was published in the May/June 2015 issue of Scientific American Mind.  Everything I read supported my claim to incorporating wellness into my practice which is why I wanted to share.  So many times I see clients walk through my doors complaining of adverse reactions to medication, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, etc.  One of the first questions I ask is “Who is your primary care physician and what other medical doctors are you working with?”  I do a pain screening, a health and wellness assessment and ask for a release of information in order to discuss concerns with their doctors.  So many times we have found the answers to problems lying in simple fixes- such as changing the time of the day the medication is taken, adding exercise to the treatment plan, or conducting blood work to rule out any infection. Without the medical professionals that I consult with day and and day out, my client’s might still be suffering. 

The author of the article stated that after working with a client for over one year treating depression, and without any significant improvement, he referred her to  a doctor for a routine checkup to rule out any underlying physical illness.  The diagnoses was chronic sinusitis and antibiotics were prescribed.  After the infection cleared, it appeared that the depression symptoms also decreased.  It has been found that inflammation in a prolonged state can cause fatigue and melancholy.  Since studies have shown that depression is the most prevalent mental illness among women, I believe it is imperative that everyone who presents with depression be referred to their primary care physican first to rule out any physical illness or infection.

How can infection and inflammation cause depression and other mental illnesses?  According to the article, numerous studies have revealed that pro inflammatory cytosines can disrupt the normal functioning of multiple neurotransmitters and dampen the production of serotonin, (happiness hormone).  As a result, even people with minor colds often lose their appetite, feel tired, seek warmth, avoid others and struggle to concentrate.  If you think about it these behaviors often look like depression to the outside world, especially if they persist. Could this mean that tooth decay, urinary tract infections and sinusitis are all examples of infections that do not always produce obvious symptoms but could perpetuate sickness for a long period of time?

Have you ever noticed that there is a direct correlation with stress and sickness.  According to Kasten, chronic stress is even more dangerous because when we are faced with some threat, the body prepares for fight or flight.  This produces the hormone cortisol which temporarily suppresses the immune system in order to guarantee that we focus all of our attention on the external danger. “If this stress endures, though, cortisol keeps the immune system offline, and we are more susceptible to illness.”

I found this article to make a great connection to how our mind, body and spirit are all interconnected and vital to our well-being.  I would also like to thank the doctors, nurse practitioners, PA’s, chiropractors, and dentists that I currently have a working relationship with for all of their expertise and care to my client’s and their patients!

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