Mental Illness

Doctor and Patient Robin Williams was not only phenomenal actor but a wonderful human being.  Unfortunately Life’s challenges, combined with what is likely some genetic brain chemistry associated with mental illness take a heavy toll.

This has been a very sad week, losing one of the brightest actors and comedians to ever live.

With my last patient, a nurse this morning we had a frank discussion about why mental illness is still under recognized, under treated, and stigmatized.

I find it very helpful for both patients and professionals to look at it like this.  It is our brain and nervous system that determines how we interpret the outside world. When our brains and nervous systems fail to work properly, or are compromised by illness, drugs, or genetic changes, life challenges can push us and overwhelm then come to the forefront.

This is nothing to be ashamed of!!!

There are all different types of mental illness, ranging from depression to schizophrenia to bipolar disorder and of course so much more.

Because we are all unique biochemically and neurologically, some brains demand more but we all require in balance neurotransmitters (brain and nervous system chemical messengers) including dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, serotonin and all the other co-factors which are essential to make our brains and nervous systems “hum”.

And taking good care of YOU is the FIRST LINE of good health care!

What a lot of doctors and patients fail to realize however is that just as lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, obesity, and poor nutrition contribute to neuropathy and chronic pain they also can contribute significantly to mental illness.

Our brains are the most sensitive portion of our nervous system. This is why diligence and our lifestyles are so important throughout our lives.

And this is also why it is so important to make sure that any mental stress or resultant illness is dealt with compassionately, and professionally very early on.

Your healthcare professional knows that adding certain drugs, as well as nutrients may help lift the veil of mental illness and compliment good therapy and self care.

There’s also good evidence that exercise, yoga, meditation as well as cognitive behavioral therapy can go along way towards helping many people with mental and physical illnesses.

But the most important thing that you need to do is to recognize that dealing directly with mental illness is just as an important part of your health as maintaining normal blood pressure or brushing your teeth.

It’s time we lifted any stigma associated with mental illness early and care for ourselves, and every one around us compassionately and completely!



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