The Wellness Center

Prevention and Wellness
The best way to treat a mental illness is not to get one in the first place. Research has categorically shown that the majority of people, even those who are genetically predisposed to mental illness, usually show symptoms after first being worn down by other causes. Stress, effects of another illness, poor diet, or environmental toxins all can trigger mental illnesses. 
We have learned that just treating the symptoms of mental illness, with drugs only, is no longer appropriate and no longer adequate. Research of people's lived experience prove that treating the whole person is more effective in achieving wellness. This means exercise, education, diet, stress management and spiritual belief systems all come into play when treating a person with a mental illness.
Everyone can benefit from exercise, learning about our bodies, eating healthier, learning how to de-stress, and finding inner peace. There is no arguing with that. What we are promoting are lifestyle changes, including peer support, as part of our treatment for our health challenges. It works better than medication alone.
        How to beat Stress                      Meditation        Humor for Healing 


          Exercise             Adult coloring as a stress tool                     

Personal Accountability
What we should be totally aware of is recovery is about personal accountability. No one can "make" us well. Just swallowing pills doesn't make us well. It takes personal responsibility to participate in the things that build health.
Doctors don't put unhealthy food in your mouth and don't go home with us to see if we're doing what they suggest. Recovery from any illness requires that the person invest in their own wellness. We have to decide to eat healthy; we have to decide to exercise; Even in Twelve step programs we are the one's to choose to ask our higher power for help. Our decisions are directly linked to our wellness. Doctors and our peers can encourage us and give us good information but ultimately we are the ones responsible for using the information and getting ourselves well.
Yes! People with mental illness find it hard to motivate themselves. It is important to communicate  our difficulties to our peers and healthcare practitioners so that they can offer encouragement towards achievable goals. Many of our friends overcame similar problems learn from their experiences and try, try again. We are worth it and deserve the best quality of life possible. 

In the spirit of education, Naturopathy is a medical practice that looks first at underlying causes of illness and tries to find healing. Many find it helpful in addition to or replacing conventional medicine.



Sometimes the side effects of medication interfere with our ability to participate in our recover. Low motivation and feeling tried all the time, are classic side effects. Discuss with your doctor your desire to take an appropriate level of  medication and that you feel strongly about your recovery process.
"Mental Health Advocacy Inc. advocates for health services that help people get well not just endless services."  - Marc Jacques - CoDirector
St. John's wort's medicinal uses were first recorded in ancient Greece. It contains many chemical compounds. Some are believed to be the active ingredients that produce the herb's effects, including hypericin and hyperforin. How these compounds actually work is not yet fully understood, but several theories have been suggested. Preliminary studies suggest that St. John's wort might work by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing the chemical messenger serotonin, or by reducing levels of a protein involved in the body's immune system functioning. 

St. John's wort has been used over the centuries for mental conditions, nerve pain, and a wide variety of other health conditions. Today, St. John's wort is used for anxiety, mild to moderate depression, and sleep disorders. Throughout Europe, and particularly in Germany, St. John's wort is widely prescribed for depression. In the United States it is much less popular and is not widely endorsed as a legitimate treatment for depression. 

So is St. John's wort effective for treating depression? In the case of mild to moderate depression the answer is YES. Understand that the active compounds in St. John Wort as with any supplement are drugs; hypericin and hyperforin. Always treat supplements with respect and consult with your doctor before taking especially if you are already on prescribed medication. Many people find supplements as a helpful adjunct to medication and sometimes in place of medication. Consult with your doctor. 

One review that analyzed 23 randomized clinical trials concluded that St. John’s wort was more effective than a placebo, or inactive substance, for the treatment of mild to moderate depression and was found to be as effective as standard antidepressants. A more recent review of controlled, double-blinded studies reached a similar conclusion. 

In 2004, a German group analyzed 30 studies that looked at St. John’s wort for mild to moderate depression and found that the herb compared well to newer antidepressants. In the studies looking at mild depression, patients taking St. John’s wort sometimes had better results than with standard treatment. 

St. John's wort versus Prozac 

In a double-blind study conducted at seven German medical clinics, physicians treated 240 patients with mild to moderate depression for six weeks. A total of 126 patients received a standardized extract of St. John's wort (250 mg twice daily) and 114 received 20 mg/day fluoxetine (Prozac). Scores on the Hamilton Depression Scale (a standard clinical measure of depression) at the beginning of the study ranged from 16 to 24. By the end of the study, scores decreased to 11.54 in the St. John's wort group and 12.2 in the Prozac group. Further analysis by the researchers found that St. John's wort was slightly more effective than Prozac, and that about one-third more patients responded to the herb than to the drug. The main difference, though, was the lack of side effects: 34 people (29.8 percent) taking Prozac reported side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, dizziness, and erectile dysfunction, while only six (4.7 percent) of the patients taking St. John's wort reported side effects, and those were limited to only GI distress. 

So then if this is the case why isn't St. John's wort being pushed in the United States? The simple answer is there's no money in it. Herbs cannot be patented by a single drug company so there is no real profit potential for the pharmaceutical industry. In addition in the Unites States most physicians are not educated about herbal medicine. Here the emphasis is on drug therapy. 

So how much St. John’s wort does one take? First of all St. John's wort should not be taken with other antidepressant medications. Wait three weeks after stopping other meds before starting on St. John's wort. The generally accepted dosage is 300 mg, to be taken 3 times a day of standardized extract containing at least .125 Hypericin. One should allow 4 to 6 weeks for full benefits to be realized. 

The most common side effect reported with St. John's wort was increased sensitivity to sunlight. 

For more information on Saint John's wort please visit the American Cancer Society's site for alternative treatments.

Fish oil supplements 'beat Psychotic mental illness'
Taking a daily fish oil capsule can stave off mental illness in those at highest risk, trial findings suggest.

A three-month course of the supplement appeared to be as effective as drugs, cutting the rate of psychotic illness like schizophrenia by a quarter. The researchers believe it is the omega-3 in fish oil - already hailed for promoting healthy hearts - that has beneficial effects in the brain. A "natural" remedy would be welcomed, Archives of General Psychiatry says. "The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent, or at least delay, the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotic drugs," the study authors said.

If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics 

Alison Cobb 

Antipsychotic drugs are potent and can have serious side effects, which puts some people off taking them. Fish oil supplements, on the other hand, are generally well tolerated and easy to take, say the scientists. The international team from Austria, Australia and Switzerland tested the treatment in 81 people deemed to be at particularly high risk of developing psychosis.

Natural choice

Their high risk was down to a strong family history of schizophrenia, or similar disorders, or them already showing mild symptoms of these conditions themselves. For the test, half of the individuals took fish oil supplements (1.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids) for 12 weeks, while the other half took only a dummy pill. Neither group knew which treatment they were receiving. Dr Paul Amminger and his team followed the groups for a year to see how many, if any, went on to develop illness. Two in the fish oil group developed a psychotic disorder compared to 11 in the placebo group.

Based on the results, the investigators estimate that one high-risk adult could be protected from developing psychosis for every four treated over a year.

They believe the omega-3 fatty acids found in the supplements may alter brain signalling in the brain with beneficial effects.

Alison Cobb, of the mental health charity Mind, said: "If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, whereas omega-3s are actually beneficial to their general state of health.

"These are promising results and more research is needed to show if omega-3s could be an alternative to antipsychotics in the long term."

FOR THOSE OF US who have sleep problems and don't like the idea taking prescription medication. In a recent British study volunteers who sipped one ounce of a tart cherry juice concentrate twice a day spent, on average, 39 more minutes snoozing a day than those given a placebo drink. The magic ingredient? Melatonin: Tart Cherry Juice is loaded with this sleep-inducing hormone. Natural melatonin is a great alternative to prescription Ambien or Lunesta and helps many fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Find the Concentrate at natural food stores as supermarket juice drinks won't work and have too much sugar.
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