Mental health is still rather a taboo medical topic worldwide, more so in conservative countries. Many of us treat it as an isolated stand-alone medical obstacle that only exists in a world of a few. Shockingly, in many black communities the stereotypical notion that it only worries/attacks white people still exists. Often, when a black person is diagnosed with any mental dysfunction it is considered as an ancestral issue that should only involve African doctors; sangomas.
Speaking at our Women’s Day event hosted on Saturday at Southern Sun, Hyde Park, Kings and St Thomas’ School of Medicine in London UK graduate, Dr Sam Cleminson shared the importance of taking care of your mental health just as much as you do your body health.
Dr Sam has over 10 years medical experience and 7 years experience in the aesthetic, wellness and anti-aging sphere in South Africa. In addition to botox and other anti-aging treatments, Dr Cleminson has a special interest in the use of natural herbs and supplements for the treatment of disease, ageing and supporting peak mental and emotional states. Where necessary, Dr Cleminson will combine natural and herbal therapies with traditional Western medicine to achieve powerful results that are tailored to your specific body needs. Dr Cleminson is a strong advocate for treating you the individual rather than the disease.
Dr Sam says not taking care of your mental health will have the following repercussions in a long run:
- Increases risk cardiovascular disease
- Weaker immune system (T cells)
- Increased autoimmune diseases
- Increased dementia risk
Dr Sam says it is essential that we know the causes of diseases linked to mental health in order to treat it before it is irreversible.
- Poor Gut Health
- Hormone Imbalance
- Genetics e.g. methylation, faulty receptors
- Major events or trauma
- Medication e.g. interferon, accutane
- Poor sleep
Dr Sam explains the causes of anxiety and depression and says there is an underlying factor when it comes to mental health which includes:
1, Inflammation – recent study showed if a person is injected with inflammatory supplements, then you will feel depressed within hours. This can be managed through a low inflammatory diet. He further explains that low vitamin D and a shortage of omega3s may cause depression.
2. Poor gut poor health – Your gut is the second brain says Dr Sam. He adds that 95% of serotonin is manufactured in the gut. Gut damage and inflammation causes depression he says you should consider:
- Reduce sugar and gluten intake
- Repair gut lining
3. Neurotransmitters- Dr Sam explains that a neurotransmitter is the chemical that carries a signal between two nerve cells. When your GP tells you have over 50 neurotransmitters, it creates Excitator or inhibitory imbalances that cause depression/anxiety.
He further explains that neurotransmitters are assessed through blood and urine testing, QEEG or by Braverman Questionnaire which is:
Set of questions linked to neurotransmitters
Developed by American psychiatrist
Establishes natural state
Looks at current deficiencies
Mental health is a level of psychological wellbeing, or an absence of a mental disorder, it is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”. From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. According to World Health Organization (WHO) mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.
He concluded by saying amino acids, vitamins and herbs can correct neurotransmitters imbalance:
Connection and sensitivity, calming, appetite control, sleep, pain control
Motivation, self confidence pleasure, brain processing power, focus
Memory, recall, brain processing
Calming, grounding, ordered