An Overview of Ortho-molecular Psychiatry

Orthomolecular medicine uses unconventional methods of testing to create treatment plans that are unique to the individual.

Orthomolecular medicine uses unconventional methods of testing to create treatment plans that are unique to the individual. By using information obtained from the patient, the health professional can use diet, medications and varying amounts of nutrients to devise a treatment program created specifically for the individual in question. Orthomolecular psychiatry is used in the treatment of mental health disorders.

Orthomolecuar psychiatry studies the molecules within the brain to discover their origin and how they correlate with one another. Any molecule that enters the body and subsequently affects the brain can eventually disrupt the chemical balance causing a variety of mental disorders. By using tests and procedures to measure the types of molecules found in the brain, they can reduce the patient’s exposure to specific elements in an attempt to bring the chemicals back into balance.

Each person is different and exhibits different symptoms in varying degrees. The unorthodox methods used by orthomolecular practitioners uses variables garnered only from the patient. They do not use procedures and treatments patterned to help several individuals. They focus on one person’s individual symptomology. Just as each treatment is individualized, so are the methods used to test the patient.

When dealing with mental illness, every patient responds to stimuli different than others. With that being said, evaluating every patient in the same way can leave major gaps in the diagnosis as well as in how their treatment plans are created. While some variables may be consistent, the individuals are different enough that the results received during the testing process can be dramatically different.

In the 1950’s, Abram Hoffer was orthomolecular psychiatry’s first practitioner. His studies with niacin and its effects on Alzheimer’s caught the attention of the American Psychiatric Association who eventually turned away from Hoffer saying his findings were unreliable. Hoffer continued his studies in the hopes of providing more substantial information.

Eventually Carl Pfeiffer began studying the same concepts. Between the two men and other professionals in the field, they came to the conclusion that many of the psychotic disorders being diagnosed could stem from heavy metal levels found in the body. Dental fillings and exposure to high levels of lead were just two ways individuals could be exposed. They theorized that many of these toxicities could be reduced by adding different amounts of certain nutrients, such as niacin, to their patients diets.

As of yet, orthomolecular psychiatry has not been recognized by members of the American Psychiatric Association. While professional psychiatrists do not accept the concepts of this new type of medicine, they would be willing to consider new evidence if and when it is ever presented.

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