Integrative Medicine For Mental Health

a doctor at Chicago Rehab Center shows the benefits of integrative medicine on mental health

What Is Integrative Medicine? 

The short answer is that its the future of medicine.

The long answer is that integrative medicine (IM) for mental health is a diverse web of healing practices and treatments that complement traditional forms of therapy. It integrates medical, clinical, holistic, and extended care practices into a single, organic form of treatment. Embraced by institutions such as The Mayo Clinic and Duke University Medical Center, IM is an evidence-based practice that works with the whole of a patients being: physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.

Lets unpack what that means.

Integrative medicine is not a substitute for traditional medicine.  It augments traditional medical practices to deepen the patients healing process.  Moreover, it views a patients condition as the intersection of various factors. For instance, a depressed person with a substance abuse disorder cannot simply be treated for the substance abuse disorder.  They must be treated for depression too, for treatment to be fully effective.

Thus, every course of IM requires a bespoke system of treatment. For example, in a rehabilitation setting, a patient may undergo traditional talk therapy treatments every morning. For lunch, a patient would eat a balanced and vitamin-rich meal that maximizes whole-body health. In the afternoon, the same patient may spend hours cultivating an institutions healing garden as part of horticultural therapy.  In the evening, they might attend a meditation class before breaking out into another round of small-group talk therapies.

Of course, the various components of the day would be tailored to the patients needs as assessed by medical professionals.  Instead of horticultural therapy in the afternoons, a patient may have a session of NAD+ or ketamine-based therapy. IM treats the patient and practitioner as partners in the healing process. It seeks to cultivate the patients natural healing ability by taking a larger view of the issues at hand.

Mental Health Treatment with Integrative Medicine at CRC Institute

Essentially, IM hinges on the synergy between different forms of healing. It is always evidence-based. This means that the cutting-edge, holistic therapeutics involved in the process has proven effective in rigorous scientific tests. There is no snake oil in the process.  IM providers, such as Chicago Rehab Center, are eager to expand the current paradigm of therapy in the service of patient healing.

Reviewed by Dr. Beth Dunlap

Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, is the medical director at CRC Institute, where she is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at the Institute. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.

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