As Naturopathic doctors we have a wonderful ability to address people’s mood issues without the use of psychotropic medication. However, if we treat mental health concerns for an extended period, we are bound to find at least 1 patient with whom we do not see the desired results, despite addressing all the usual culprits, based on objective testing, and presenting symptoms.
What is preventing the patient from getting well?
It has come to light that the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on health is either widely ignored or too little is known about it. ACEs can affect every bodily system, and it is out duty to educate ourselves about this important concept, asses our patients carefully for these risk factors, and address any dysregulation that is present. When a person experiences chronic stress during childhood, a stress response is activated. In response the pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which binds to receptors on the adrenal cortex, stimulating the release of cortisol.
Hyperactivity of the stress response in early childhood has significant effects on the immune system as well. When we are exposed to an acute stressor, HPA axis activation leads to an upregulation of the immune system and in turn we see an increase of inflammation. When stressors occur for months and years more and more cortisol is secreted, leading to an alternative immune response. This can include the immune response to become slower and less effective, as well as a disinhibition of the inflammatory reflex.
Keyways to help ACE survivors
- Getting enough sleep
- Dietary recommendations
- Physical activity
- Anti-Inflammation therapy
- Herbal therapy
- Probiotic supplementation
We have solid treatment protocols to address over production of cortisol, referrals for cognitive therapists and I.V. Ozone MAH and medicines to calm the central nervous system.