Mental Health Challenges: A Holistic Problem Requiring A Holistic Solution — (Reader comment)

Article posted is original to SSRIStories.org

By Lucy Wyndham

March 8, 2018

The human mind is an incredible and complicated machine, with the line between normal differences in personality and mental illness unclear. In the United States, antidepressant prescriptions increased by 65% between 2002 and 2017. While many of these medications will be legitimate and necessary, it seems absurd to believe that all are. It is becoming all too easy to reach for a pill without exploring whether mood disorders are the result of a poor quality life. We need to start viewing mental health in holistic terms if we wish to return to better times.

What is holistic healing?

Civilization flourishes through specialization. This is why in modern day society, we have doctors who heal the body, therapists who work with emotions and gurus who are interested in the well-being of the spirit. The philosophy of holistic healing rejects the idea of atomization and of viewing problems in a vacuum.

Instead, the entire human, including their physical and non-physical components, should be evaluated as a whole. This requires an understanding that changing one aspect can affect everything else. It seeks to build a life of balance and harmony in order to achieve the optimal well-being of mind, body, and spirit.

The mind-body connection

You will likely have already realized that the health of your body affects your conscious experience. If you cut yourself, the experience is manifested as the mental state known as pain. Conversely, if you eat healthily and exercise, you will be rewarded with a boost in mood. There is an intimate and interdependent connection between the mind and body.

This philosophy doesn’t require a belief in anything supernatural. It is a fact of nature that you experience the world through your subjective conscious experience. It is obvious that pain and pleasure are dependent on external stimuli, but often people discount the role of external circumstances on mood and emotions.

Try lifestyle changes before reaching for pills

It is true that some people are more prone to feelings of depression and anxiety than of tranquility and wellbeing, and there are probably many reasons for this.   Medication can be useful to provide relief in certain circumstances, while a fundamental solution is sought.

However, these pills are often far too over-prescribed and come with side effects.

So before you choose to take such medication, consider lifestyle changes. The basic factors for happiness are physical health, relationships, purpose, security and enough income to live comfortably. If any of these are lacking, then make a change. This isn’t easy and won’t happen overnight, but holistic healing requires focusing on all aspects of well-being first. If you do all this and the only thing remaining is a chemical imbalance, then you can cautiously explore the world of antidepressants.

Dealing with mental health is a deeply complex aspect of being human. It is something that everyone is doing on a daily basis, regardless of whether they have a medical diagnosis. The idea that there is a one-fix solution is flawed. Instead, we should appreciate the inter-connectedness of the mind, body, and spirit and look for a holistic solution.