May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s talk about the brain/mind connection!

The mind and brain are inextricably linked. The brain is the organ that gives rise to the mind, and the mind cannot exist without the brain. Think of it like a computer – the brain is like the hardware, while the mind is like the software. The hardware (brain) is necessary for the software (mind) to run properly.

Every thought, feeling, and experience you’ve ever had is the result of your brain activity. But when we talk about mental health, there is a disconnect about the brain/mind connection that stems from stigma. There are negative cultural and societal beliefs that people may have towards individuals with mental health conditions. This can lead to discrimination, exclusion, and a lack of understanding and support for those who are struggling with mental health issues.

This can manifest in many different ways. People may assume that individuals with mental health conditions are “weak” or “lazy”, or that they could “snap out of it” if they just tried harder. This can make it difficult for people to seek help and support when they need it, as they may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their condition.

By understanding the brain/mind connection we can help to reduce the stigma that continues to be associated with mental health issues, which, like any physical disorder or disease, is a physical health problem.

I’ll never forget an interaction with a patient, a young woman, who was profusely apologetic and crying, embarrassed by her mental health issues. She said “I just feel so embarrassed because I know it’s not real.”

If you were a diabetic would you take measures to control your glucose levels? Would anybody judge you for doing that? Of course not, and mental health should be regarded with the same level of compassion.

Mental health issues can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, environmental factors, changes in the gut microbiome, hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivities, toxin exposure, trauma and lifestyle choices. These factors can affect the way the brain functions, leading to changes in mood, thoughts, and behaviors. When the hardware (the brain) is hurt, this affects the software (the mind).

Your mind is not it’s own body part. Your brain controls it through neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain that help to transmit messages between nerve cells (neurons). They play a crucial role in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, emotions, and behaviors. Imbalances in neurotransmitter levels can contribute to the development of mental health problems. The majority of neurotransmitters are produced in the gut, not the brain! As I address all the other “causes”, I find an improvement in mood and emotions as the body becomes balanced.

Remember, depression is not a Prozac deficiency! There are other factors causing it!

By recognizing that mental health is an essential component of brain health, we can work together to reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental illness and encourage more individuals to seek the help and support they need.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Mental health is brain health. Let’s work together to prioritize both.


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