Dr. Andrew Weil has strong roots in alternative methods of treating disease, having researched medicinal and psychoactive plants from the early days of his career. He is working now to further the use of integrative mental health treatments.
Integrative mental health practices may involve medication if necessary but medication is not the automatic first choice. Dietary supplements, physical activity and a variety of different forms of mind-body practices are all used in integrative mental health.
The mental health profession at the moment is very locked into what’s called the biomedical model which views all mental disturbances as results of disordered brain biochemistry and treats everything by giving medication.
Integrative mental health seeks to break that dependence on medication as the only method of treatment and to look especially at lifestyle factors that affect mental health.
So starting with diet, nutrition, physical activity, stress, rest, sleep, relationships and we have just had the first National Integrative Mental Health Conference in Phoenix, sponsored by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine that’s been very, very successful.
We attracted a great many mental health professionals here and there’s a lot of scientific evidence for nutritional approaches, use of dietary supplements, various forms of mind-body practice, the role of regular physical activity.
So integrative mental health draws on all of these lifestyle interventions and is willing to use medication when that’s appropriate, but really is trying to broaden the treatment horizons here.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind.