Psychiatry Redefined was created to address the deficiencies in mainstream psychiatry’s standard approach to treatment. More than ever, the latest CDC survey on our children’s mental health reveals a stunning failure of our current approach to mental health care.
Providing a more comprehensive assessment and treatment of the different underlying causes of mental illness is the foundation of Functional Psychiatry. Research shows that nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, microbiome disruptions, hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, and other components can all play a role.
Our upcoming free webinars in March, our three-month ADHD Intensive program, which starts in April, can help you learn more about practical assessment and treatment options for our children and youth in desperate need of more effective support and solutions.
Youth Mental Health Concerns Rise Due to Pandemic
Rates of mental illness and the concerns over them have been rising. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents were hit exceptionally hard. While major medical groups and institutions sounded the alarm about the growing crisis of mental health in our youth in 2021, research continues to show alarming trends.
The CDC’s recent release of the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011–2021” highlights some of the most troubling findings.
From the survey, measures of youth mental health were all worse or unchanged:
- 42% of youth have persistent sadness or hopelessness
- 29% experience poor mental health
- 22% seriously considered suicide
- 18% made a suicide plan
- 10% attempted suicide
Broken down by gender, the levels are even more alarming for adolescent girls:
- 57% of girls have persistent sadness or hopelessness
- 41% experience poor mental health
- 30% seriously considered suicide
- 24% made a suicide plan
- 13% attempted suicide
These numbers represent an abject failure in our policies and approach to the mental health of our children. Part of the problem likely lies in psychiatry’s overreliance on medications, especially since pharmaceuticals are well known to be poorly effective for mood problems in adolescents (Hetrick 2021).
Physiological Causes of Mental Illness in Teens
The other half of the problem is likely due to a lack of any evaluation of the physiological causes or contributing factors to symptoms. Mental illness is complex, usually set off by a constellation of components that all contribute to an individual’s mental state. Nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, chronic infections, genetic factors, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, microbiota disruptions, and psychosocial issues can all play a role. Ignoring this underlying complexity and relying on just medication and counseling is missing a huge component of necessary care.
For example, treatment for disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) is poorly characterized, mainly with a focus on treating comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and Coping Power psychotherapy programs. Yet research on micronutrient approaches for the treatment of DBD also show promise, although such approaches are almost categorically ignored (Hambly 2017).
Similarly, ADHD is almost always treated with medications. And yet again, data suggests a number of nutrient deficiencies and dietary components that appear to cause or contribute to the condition (Granero 2021, Del-Pinte 2019). While there is a place for medication treatment, ignoring these underlying physiological components hampers treatment and reduces positive outcomes.
Doing better with Functional Psychiatry
Psychiatry Redefined was founded to teach health-care providers a more effective, comprehensive approach to mental health care. Our training can provide you the tools and understanding to expand your practice through cutting-edge, research-based functional medicine evaluation and treatment.
I encourage you to explore our resources, including a free webinar on disruptive behavior disorder in children, and our Child & Adolescent Mental Health Intensive, which provides a comprehensive analysis of factors that often underly pediatric mental illness. Additionally, the lectures from our Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Redefined conference from 2021 include expert speakers, offering clinical pearls for treating mental health disorders in our children and teens.
More than ever, today’s youth need our support. Through the practice of Functional Medicine, we can help to better address the youth mental health crisis threatening our adolescents and children. With Functional Psychiatry, we are making a lasting difference.
Ready to learn breakthrough functional strategies to help your child and teen patients? Enroll in our comprehensive Fellowship program and discover protocols you can use immediately in your practice.
Hetrick SE, McKenzie JE, Bailey AP, et al. New generation antidepressants for depression in children and adolescents: a network meta-analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;5(5):CD013674. Published 2021 May 24. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD013674.pub2
Hambly JL, Francis K, Khan S, et al. Micronutrient Therapy for Violent and Aggressive Male Youth: An Open-Label Trial. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017;27(9):823-832. doi:10.1089/cap.2016.0199
Granero R, Pardo-Garrido A, Carpio-Toro IL, Ramírez-Coronel AA, Martínez-Suárez PC, Reivan-Ortiz GG. The Role of Iron and Zinc in the Treatment of ADHD among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2021;13(11):4059. Published 2021 Nov 13. doi:10.3390/nu13114059
Del-Ponte B, Quinte GC, Cruz S, Grellert M, Santos IS. Dietary patterns and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2019;252:160-173. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.061