This time of the year is so special for all of us at Trinergy. It is a time of reflection and gratitude for all the blessings!
We feel immense gratitude to all our patrons – men, women and children who have all trusted us with their health…despite the skepticism that surrounds all things integrative and holistic. Through these warriors we (and they) have discovered that food is medicine, recovery is possible and hope is eternal and for everyone. I feel personally blessed to be a witness to my patients’ transformation…yes, miracles do happen!
But this is not magic, this is science – validated repeatedly throughout time. Just a few examples here:
- An early 40’s young woman with a 20 year (mis)diagnosis of bipolar disorder and recently on the verge of being diagnosed with SLE (the dreaded Lupus). In 4 short months, she is significantly less inflamed – airway hyperreactivity is gone, anxiety (OCD) reduced by 75%, she is happier and with stable moods, her hair loss has stopped, etc. And her life is opening up in ways not imagined by she or I!
- An early 40’s young woman with a 3 year history of Kikuchi disease (what now??) and panic attacks. I had not heard of this disease. But read about it – it is auto-immune lymphadenitis – her immune system was attacking her lymph glands. The steroid treatment prescribed for her made her depressed and anxious, with panic attacks. But after going on an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle as well as Ayurvedic herbs and Panchakarma treatment, this lovely lady has found her health and herself again. Recovery is much more than just from anxiety and panic attacks. Clear signs of resolution of inflammation – her fatigue is gone. She is feeling vital again. She still has some more healing to do but she is hopeful!
- A late 50’s male with a (mis)diagnosis of bipolar disorder and a poor response to standard medicines (including lithium). Also diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder of the skin – no actual name given but recommended tacrolimus – an immune suppressant with a long list of side effects, including risks of certain skin cancers (a recent report). My diagnosis for this gentleman is chronic PTSD, not bipolar disorder. There is strong evidence that early childhood trauma can cause leaky gut, and thus various auto immune diseases. We went with this core hypothesis. Our approach was to heal his gut-brain axis. Once again, an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, mindfulness techniques, Ayurvedic herbs and skin creams to treat his autoimmunity, and finally Panchakarma – Ayurvedic detox treatment. His road rage and impulsive, severe anger outbursts have disappeared. He is not on tacrolimus. Yet, his skin is healing. His wife says she is happy now (because he is healing and he is happy). More importantly, he is not experiencing mood instability. All this in only 12 months. He has some more healing to do as well. But in all his years of struggling with his “bipolar,” he has finally found some healing.
- A 17-year-old young woman with autism and cognitive disability, living in a group home. I was consulted for her mood and behavioral issues, severe anxiety and anger outbursts. In doing my whole evaluation, what stood out the most was her TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) – it was 120, the highest I have seen ever in my practice. Normal range is less than 5. But I like to see this value between 1 and 2. She was under the care of an endocrinologist for at least 6 months before I saw her. Their hypothesis was that her lithium was causing it. They gave her synthroid (standard thyroid medicine) but the TSH did not budge. I dug some more. Found she was positive for thyroid antibodies. Once again, gut brain axis was diseased. Yet again, she went on an anti-inflammatory diet/lifestyle, stopped lithium, and I worked closely with the group home manager and the patient’s therapist. Her therapist and manager attended every visit and showed me her behavior chart, etc. As her inflammation is going down, the negative behaviors are also going down. Anxiety is gone, self stimulating behaviors are down. And her TSH is now at 6.7 – in only 6 months! I have not changed her synthroid dose at all to bring her TSH down. Only worked to heal her physiology in every organ system. Her antibodies are also trending down. Two months ago, I wanted this patient to take a thyroid supplement which basically has thyroid support nutrients. At this time, patient was still following up with her endocrinologist and NP. At one such follow up, the NP got irritated and advised against following my advice (I am a psychiatrist, not an endocrinologist), because, “if it works, then we will have to keep adjusting her synthroid dose down. She is good where she is now.” Wow! Isn’t this what we want for all our patients – that their minds and bodies heal and function on their own so that they do not need to be on pharmaceutical meds? At any rate, her parents decided to switch their child’s thyroid care to me and I gladly accepted. If it gets to the point that I feel out of depth, I will refer this child to a functional endocrinologist. Last visit was just before Thanksgiving. I got an early Christmas present when this child said to me, “I am happy now.”
- A mid 30’s young woman with depression, anxiety, and severe acne who was interested in what we have to offer. Seemed pretty straight forward to me. We addressed gut-brain health, childhood trauma, relationships…she began to recover – acne disappeared, mood improved and she lost extra weight. Then I received news that her pap smear was abnormal. A biopsy showed localized high-grade squamous cell cancer and she was recommended LEEP procedure (where the affected part of the cervix is removed). Since she had started to work with me, she wanted to see how much our treatment would help her cancer. She discussed the options with her gynecologist who finally agreed to wait 3 months and do the biopsy again. Meanwhile, this young woman has done well in treatment and is undergoing Panchakarma treatment now. She had the repeat biopsy and it is now changed to low grade squamous cell cancer. So, did they misdiagnose earlier? Or can changing diet/lifestyle and following the wisdom of a 5000-year-old medical system (Ayurveda) cure her cancer? Her gynecologist thought he may have cleaned out the cancer when he did the biopsy. Nah! She is not giving him that credit :). She has worked hard to be where she is now!
So many more patient stories come to mind, but I will stop here. Maybe one more, a short one. An 11-year-old child with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, with significant dysfunction – not brushing, not going to school, very hopeless and dejected. She was on three meds when she came to me (zoloft, prazosin and buspar). Same approach with food, lifestyle and Ayurvedic herbs. Now, she is not depressed or anxious, loves going to school, no self-harm or suicidal behaviors, back to her original state of functioning – happy and joyful. Her mom described their journey in a video that will be posted soon.
The reason I am writing these patient stories is to create awareness…that there is a better way to health. To be human is to be healthy and well. Disease itself is an abnormal state. All disease arises from disturbed physiology. The only way to recovery is to fix the physiology. The pharmaceuticals in use today offer mainly symptom relief and do not address the underlying disturbed physiology. There’s nothing wrong in using these meds for symptom relief, as I sometimes do…but I rely on psychiatric meds when other natural options have been tried and found wanting. This is mainly because of their side effect profile. In principle, this is similar to Dr Julia Rucklidge’s recommendation in her TED talk.
In this talk, she notes that modern psychiatry’s approach to treatment is upside down – meds are offered first; diet and lifestyle intervention is an after-thought. Instead she recommends we intervene with diet, lifestyle and nutritional recommendations first and then, if needed, add psychiatric meds.
Current Psychiatric Approach
Trinergy’s Integrative Psychiatry Approach (or Dr. Julia Rucklidge’s Recommendation)
To expect the meds to offer a cure is misguided. But to think that a cure is not possible is even more misguided and hopeless!
You will also see that invariably my patients are able to discontinue many of their meds. Not just psych meds but other meds they are taking for various medical illnesses. A rough estimate on my part is that on average, I am able to reduce medication burden by 70% (if not more). Meaning, if a person is on 10 different meds at start, in working with me, they can safely come off of 7 of them simply because they do not need them. Which means – less side effects, less drug-drug interaction, less expense and improved health and vitality.
So far, it is only with psychosis, I find that I need to use antipsychotics for overall recovery. But even in such cases, meds are used always as part of a multi-pronged approach.
So, who benefits from a holistic and integrative medicine approach? Everyone! I repeat…Everyone! This is the only way to evaluate/treat any illness or disease – from cancer to mental illness to endocrine disorders to auto-immunity to genetic diseases. Doctors cannot limit themselves to just their specialty. We should all (from different specialties) become “Generalists.” Only then will we understand how our specific organ (in my case the brain) fits in with the rest of the body. But not all may be able to follow this integrative approach (for various reasons). This does not detract from the method itself.
I urge you to share this information far and wide. Together, let us break down some myths about health and disease. And wish for a healthier, happier, New Year 2020 for everyone!