... Natural drug-free treatments for bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD… London clinic and Skype appointment
Treating bipolar, depression, anxiety and OCD with
My name is Peter Smith I specialise in treating mental health problems using natural remedies and functional medicine without drugs.
My treatment methods involve:-
Rebalancing neurotransmitters with natural remedies
Although we now know depression is not just a lack of serotonin and anxiety is not just a lack of GABA treating neurotransmitters is still a direct and helpful way of treating mental health problems, I’ll talk more about this below.
Going beyond neurotransmitters to treat the root functional imbalances in the brain causing neurotransmitter imbalances and mental health problems in the 1st place
There’s a revolutionary new understanding that hidden or silent inflammation is a major and previously unknown cause of mental health problems. It’s been known for decades that elevated inflammation is almost always present in the brains of people with mental health problems from depression through OCD to bipolar and schizophrenia, the only exemption is some types of anxiety. Previously it wasn’t clear if the inflammation was causing the mental health problem or was it the other way around, but in just the last decade this question was answered: it’s has now been established that the inflammation is not just associated with mental health problems but it actually causes changes in the brain that trigger mental health problems.
Elevated inflammation in the brain can cause neurotransmitter imbalances and targeting the inflammation is a way to correct the underlying causes of neurotransmitter imbalances; but what appears to be even more significant is that inflammation can overwhelm the functioning of key structures in the brain involved in mental health problems.
This new understanding is opening up revolutionary new approaches to how we can treat mental health problems and prevent them recurring. The pharmaceutical industry is already looking for a new generation of psychiatric drugs that work by targeting neuroinflammation, but we don’t have to wait for these drugs, we now know the common and uncommon factors that trigger inflammation in the brain, we can target these with natural remedies, diet and exercise.
The real role of psychological stress and trauma in mental health problems
What’s fascinating from the new research is it appears psychological stress and trauma are the top or most common causes of the inflammation in the brain that can trigger mental health problems. The mechanism whereby psychological stress causes inflammation is it can produce over-activity in the bodies stress hormones and physiology (the cortisol releasing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress pathway) and persistent over-activity in these systems causes harmful levels of neuroinflammation that in some people breaks down vulnerable structures in the brain involved in mental health problems.
There are some great ways to work on changing psychological stress and trauma from meditation brain training techniques to rewire the brain, shrink the amygdala and improve resilience to stress through to contemporary psychotherapy techniques to remodel traumatic memories and stressful psychology.
Boosting Neuroplasticity a new way of working with mental health problems
The brain is damaged and broken down by the destructive forces of inflammation oxidative, nitrosative and other toxic stresses, a certain amount of inflammation is natural and healthy and required to clean out old cells but excessive inflammation break down healthy cells, opposing this is the brains neuroplastic ability to repair itself.
There’s a new understanding that mental health problems particularly mood disorders and schizophrenia involve a decline in function in important structures due to the destructive forces overwhelming the brains neuroplastic abilities to protect and repair itself.
With natural remedies diet and exercises we can boost neuroplasticity and reduce the forces that break down the brain, I’ve been developing treatment protocols to do this since 2012 and believe this is a highly effective way of working with mental health problems, particularly problems that have been resistant to the forms of treatment.
Rewiring the brain with brain training exercises
In just the last few years neuroscience has begun to show a new and exciting way of working with mental health problems, brain scans are revealing that different meditation brain training techniques stimulate changes to the structures and wiring of the brain and we can now start to choose different meditation brain training techniques to target specific imbalanced activity in the brain. For example, there is overactivity in the amygdala and default mode network in anxiety and depression and with sufficient training we can dampen down this overactivity to produce truly drugfree and long-lasting or permanent changes; in depression and bipolar there the is a loss of volume in the hippocampus and cortex and these structures can grown. I now teach regular meditation classes specifically designed to treat mental health problems.
Beyond neurotransmitters treating the root functional imbalances in the brain that cause mental health problems
Rebalancing neurotransmitters (whether with drugs or natural remedies is still one of the most useful and direct ways to treat and manage mental health problems, it can relieve suffering and even save lives, but new discoveries from neuroscience have shown that neurotransmitter imbalances are not the root cause of mental health problems. For example we now know that inflammation in the brain changes serotonin metabolism so that we make less serotonin and more quinolinic acid a neurotoxic substance, this means a lack of serotonin may be the symptom but inflammation in the brain is the cause, and then the next question is what’s the root cause of the inflammation in the brain and how do we get rid of it.
The cytokine or inflammation theory of depression and other mental health problemsIf you suffer from depression that has been resistant to treatment or chronic relapsing depression the underlying problem may be chronic hidden inflammation in the brain and until you eliminate this problem may persist.
Inflammation can come from several sources a but perhaps the most common is persistent elevated stress physiology. A consistent finding in the depressed, OCD and bipolar brain is overactivity in the HPA axis, a pathway activated by stress that releases cortisol into the blood and brain. With training we can teach our brain to switch off overactivity in the HPA axis to prevent stress physiology causing harmful neuroinflammation; we can also combat neuroinflammation with an anti-inflammation diet and natural remedies.
Regrowing synapsesChronic neuroinflammation also causes a loss of synaptic connections, this means the brain can have a lack of synapses to carry neurotransmitters rather than a lack of neurotransmitters in the synapses. The good news is that we can stimulate neuroplasticity which is the brains ability to regrow and maintain connections. I’ve been in practice since 1988 and the discoveries made in neuroscience in the last few years have been truly revolutionary opening up completely new approaches to treat mental health problems that go beyond simply increasing neurotransmitter levels.
I’ve been developing treatment techniques to boost neuroplasticity combining specific supplements, diet and exercises since 2012.
A very simplistic way of looking at it is that in the depressed brain there is a significant aspect of underactivity in areas of the brain (see the lack of activity yellow and red in the frontal cortex of the depressed brain on the far right compared to a normal brain), brain activity is literally depressed and hidden background inflammation is now believed to be a primary cause of this, so successful treatment should be include efrradicating neuro-inflammation and increasing neuroplasticity to stimulate regeneration.
In the anxious brain there is a significant aspect of overactivity in structures and circuits that switch on our perception of danger and anxiety and successful treatment should include targeting these overactive systems by rewiring the brain with brain training exercises.
In the bipolar brain is complex with dysregulation of several neurotransmitters that has to be managed, there is also both overactivity and underactivity in different areas of the brain, neuroinflammation and a los of neuroplasticity, the may also be a lack of methylation due to the MTHFR gene mutation, all of these features can be influenced and improved; I myself have bipolar disorder and have brought it completely under control without drugs using natural therapies.
If you would like me to look into your individual case and develop a tailor-made programme of natural remedies, dietary advice and brain training exercises intended to improve the health of your brain and mental health I’m available for private consultations and group meditations at my London clinic or via Skype for people that live too far away. Click on the bookings tab to make an appointment.
I’m passionate about treating mental health and I’d be very happy to work with you.
I’m passionate about treating mental health and I’d be very happy to work with you.
Fixing the Depressed brain beyond serotonin and dopamineBesides imbalances in serotonin, dopamine or PEA activity in the depressed (and bipolar) brain there is underactivity due to shrinkage or a loss of volume in the hippocampus and cortex, as far as we know this is caused by inflammation.
Hidden low-grade inflammation in the brain is now known to be one of the root functional imbalances in the brain that causes depression and in my practice I focus a lot on eliminating the sources of inflammation and then up-regulating neuroplasticity to stimulate regrowth and regeneration of the hippocampus and cortex. Inflammation steers the amino acid tryptophan award the production of a neurotoxic chemical called quinolinic and away from the production of antidepressant serotonin and neuroprotective melatonin; inflammation also breaks down synapses so we end up with less synapses to ‘carry’ neurotransmitters. This is a new understanding it’s saying your problem may not be a lack of neurotransmitters inside your synapses but is actually a lack of synapses to store, carry and transmit your neurotransmitters. The solution to this problem is up-regulating neuroplasticity to regrow lost synapses, and growing synapses is absolutely possible.
Inflammation can come from many sources, one of the most researched and significant is overactivity in the body’s HPA stress physiology. Overactivity in the HPA stress physiology is such a significant contribution to depression and other mental health problems that I developed specific techniques to directly train the brain how to switch off the HPA stress pathway in the system and change the way that the brain internally manages stress responses; meditation and psychotherapy can be a help but they have less direct and slower affects on the HPA axis. I teach HPA relaxation brain training exercises and meditation exercises specifically for people with mental health problems in both by individual consultations and in regular groups. You can only techniques either as part of a regular individual consultation with me, you can also learn them by joining my Affordable Drop-In Meditation Classes Specifically for Mental Health Problems
Inflammation can come from a lack of methylation from the MTHFR gene mutation and many other causes. For more information on this see Where Does Inflammation in the Brain Come from and How Do We Get Rid of It?
Besides under activity in some areas there may be overactivity in the amygdala and default mode network, we can work on combating this problem with meditation brain training exercises. See Meditation Classes for Mental Health Problems
Regrowing and repairing the depressed and bipolar brainThe good news is the brain is highly repairable or neuroplastic, much more so than we used to think it was, we can regrow lost volume in the cortex and hippocampus. I developed a treatment to stimulate regeneration in the brain by increasing neuroplasticity by increasing the production of the brain’s natural growth stimulating protein BDNF whilst at the same time combating the things that are downgrading neuroplasticity including toxic metals, imbalances in your HPA stress physiology, leaky gut syndrome from yeast or bacterial infections in the intestines imbalances, deficiencies in particular nutrients including B12, D3, magnesium and then imbalances in other nutrients including your zinc copper ratio and omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
Fixing the Bipolar Brain beyond neurotransmitters and suppressing maniaself-monitoring bipolar and recognising the early warning signs that neurotransmitter levels are going out of balance and then having specific combinations of remedies to correct bipolar neurotransmitter imbalances. Mainstream psychiatric treatment involves taking the same prescription every day mainly targeted at sedating mania and many of my patients complain about how this approach leaves them feeling sedated and depressed, in my treatment for bipolar disorder I generate 3 prescriptions, one to take for maintenance and prevention, one to take during phases of depression and another to take during phases of mania.
In common with depression a fundamental imbalance present in the bipolar brain is elevated inflammation, this inflammation constantly undermines the function of key structures that control mood and causes imbalance neurotransmitter production; to successfully control bipolar this inflammation needs to be eliminated.
Diminished methylation due to the MTHFR gene mutation may be another feature in some bipolar brain so when you get pent-up just itself seems and down so s and this would need to be treated, see MTHFR Mutation Treatment for Depression and Bipolar
Brain scans show alterations the size and function of specific structures of the brain, the amygdala, hippocampus, cortex and more that should be be targeted with remedies and brain training exercises. See Meditations and Brain Training
Fixing the Anxious Brain beyond GABA
In anxiety there can be overactivity in the default mode network causing us to ruminate on worrying and anxious thinking, the good news is we can train the brain to calm down this overactivity in the default mode network with specific types of meditation. There can also be overactivity in the amygdala, this is particularly associated with panic disorders and again the good news is with sufficient brain training we change the anatomy of the amygdala to dampen down this overactivity.
I teach meditation and brain training techniques specifically for general anxiety disorder GAD, social anxiety, OCD and panic disorder.Related pages:-
Cortex Based Anxiety
Amygdala Based Anxiety
Meditation Classes for Anxiety
Is brain inflammation causing your mental health problems?We now know that low-grade hidden inflammation in the brain is present in almost all mental health problems and that this inflammation is not there because of the mental health problem but it’s actually causing the problem; inflammation negatively alters neurotransmitter production and also it attacks key structures in the brain involved in mental health problems causing these structures to lose synaptic connections. The presence effect of low-grade hidden inflammation in the brain is a new understanding about what causes mental health problems and it gives us a new way to treat them.
Inflammation in the brain can come from many sources and each one of them should be eliminated to overcome a mental health problem.Inflammation can come from overactivity of stress physiology responses in the brain, overactive stress physiology results in elevated levels of cortisol which then enters the brain and elevated the levels of chemicals called cytokines which then switch on inflammation in the brain which then disrupts neurotransmitter production and causes a breakdown of the part of the brain involved in mental health problems.
Inflammation in the brain contributing to mental health problems can also come from:-
- specific nutritional deficiencies,
- the wrong diet (too high in omega-6 and too low in omega-3 oils, too low in polyphenols, high GI carbohydrates)
- leaky gut syndrome, SIBO and an imbalance in the gut-brain axis,
- a lack of methylation from the MTHFR gene mutation,
- hidden ongoing infections,
- allergies and autoimmunity,
Are natural remedies strong enough to treat mental health problems?Natural remedies have zero to few side-effects but they are not as strong as the pharmaceutical drugs and in order to treat mental health problems they need to be combined or stacked together to produce a sufficiently powerful therapeutic effect. They must also be taken with the right cofactors to do what they’re supposed to do, tryptophan for example must be taken with magnesium and B6 otherwise it may not increase your serotonin levels but instead increase the production of neurotoxic chemical called quinolinic acid.
But are natural remedies strong enough? Well I believe they can be when correctly combined together, I myself have bipolar disorder a condition many would argue is to severe to be controlled with gentle natural remedies however I have kept it completely under control for years without drugs using a combination of natural remedies and other therapy techniques
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to stimulate regeneration