In this health video you will learn the natural approaches that are available for mental health.
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Raena Morgan: What are some natural, non-medicated approaches to mental health? Dr. Gary Kohls: There's a whole bunch of different things that you can say about people that are totally mentally healthy. For one thing, they're engaged in community. They have healthy community. They have people in their family, or their church, or their neighborhood, or organizations that are like-minded and are not unhealthy. They're nurturing, they're compassionate. They help one another. They rescue you and you rescue them. So if you have that you're lucky because that's hard to get. They have meaningful work. People with jobs that are meaningful, they don't hate their work, they're doing something that's good for society, they feel it's a fulfilling work. That makes you mentally healthy. If you hate your job, you know, you're angry and you want to go to the bar then or something. They exercise regularly. Raena Morgan: Now that's the elixir, isn't it? Dr. Gary Kohls: Yeah. That's one of the best things for depression that there is is exercise, regular exercise. That and fish oil. Those are the two that beat all of the drugs hands down and they don't have any side-effects. Although I guess you can get addicted to running, probably. Raena Morgan: But you won't get addicted to fish oil. Dr. Gary Kohls: And then of course all these other nutrients haven't even been assessed in comparison like 5-HTP...they haven't really done a study comparing that and other modalities. I guess that's probably one of the best antidepressants there is. But they also have balanced lives. This mythical person that doesn't have any mental illness, so-called mental illness. They have balanced lives. They have fun. They enjoy art or music or poetry or they pray or do meditation or yoga or body work. Those are all mentally healthy things to do. They have some spiritual depth -- believe in a higher power perhaps. Raena Morgan: So you don't hear about the Buddhist monks, they meditate for several hours a day, being crazy and being on antidepressants. Dr. Gary Kohls: That's right. All these things are things that you're going to avoid drugs. You can avoid the desire to self-medicate your mental anguish if you're not having any mental anguish. The most healthy people I know, mentally healthy people I know, are anti-war protesters. They're out there with people protesting injustice or working for justice or peace or anti-racism or something, a cause. They don't even think that they need to have a drink or they need to take a drug or whatever. And then of course if they have had healthy child rearing. If they have been in a non-punitive family that nurtures them and you are obedient because you have mutual love and care rather than the fear of a beating -- you're obedient because you're going to be afraid of getting beat -- that's a different picture entirely than someone who says, "I want to please my dad because I love him so much and he loves me." And so there's probably a whole bunch of other things like that. But if we are living the lives of fulfillment, we're not needing self-medication. We're feeling good about our lives. Unfortunately, it's a rare day for somebody to have all of those. But we can at least strive to have some of them. In my psychotherapy, I mean, I educate everyone of my patients about what are the alternatives to drugs and we talk about that. And of course we talk about nutrition and brain nutrients are vital. You can be the healthiest person alive, but if you're eating lousy food and you're poisoning your brain because of toxic substances in the food supply you're not going to be at that optimal level of mental health or physical health. So there's a lot of things that we should try before drugs. Raena Morgan: Thank you Dr. Kohls.