Mental Health Disorders, Depression & Anxiety:
Pharmaceutical Treatments Compared to Integrative Treatments
If you’ve ever considered your options for treatment of depression or anxiety using pharmaceuticals and/or integrative approaches, we wanted to offer an educational essay on some of the comparisons of consideration from the perspective of what happens chemically and biologically in the body.
“Depression’s treatments have morphed over time, as has the disease itself, reminding us that suffering is never stagnant, that even discrete illnesses take the shape of the culture’s currents.” Lauren Slater
Mental healthcare in our society has become a touchpoint of awareness through not only self-awareness of individual mental health, but also through family influences, friends, colleagues, peers, and even through the increase in social influence through media and social platforms. Mental health effects a sense of self, relationships with others, physical health, and also an individual’s ability to maintain and balance stability, resilience and coping throughout one’s life. According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” (WHO)
Mental health, as an attribute of the state of health, can branch into many conditions, disorders, and disturbances with a very broad number of diagnoses. The clinical definition of a mental health disorder according to the Diagnostic & Statistic Manual (DSM) is, “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.” (DSM) An individual’s diagnosis of a mental health disorder can evolve throughout an individual’s life, but overall, the most common diagnoses for mental health conditions fall into the categories of depression and anxiety. The World Health Organization has announced that Depression is now the #1 Illness, with 300 million people worldwide suffering from this condition. (Depression) Clinical symptoms of depression include a depressed mood on a daily basis, a diminished sense of pleasure in activity, weight loss or gain, lack of sleep, agitation, feelings of restlessness, fatigue, feeling unworthy, and recurrent thoughts of death.