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Natural Mental Health | Build Your Blueprint for Success

Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Are you looking for better ways to improve your mental health naturally? Perhaps you are also considering replacing your prescription drug with less toxic treatments, but you are not sure how to go about it safely. Never abruptly stop taking prescription drugs. Seek qualified medical help.

At Alternative to Meds, we have helped thousands of people improve their natural mental health without drugs. We also specialize in holistic detox as part of a personalized “blueprint” for success. Please read on to find out more about what we can provide you or your loved one.

adhd medication withdrawal

Is Natural Mental Health Possible without Prescription Drugs?
For nearly 20 years Alternative to Meds Center has applied the tenets of Orthomolecular and Environmental Medicine to assist clients in achieving relief of symptoms that may have plagued a person for decades, despite conventional treatment with prescription drugs. Our years-long documented success speaks for itself. We have observed that a wide range of evidence-based holistic protocols can achieve more success than other more toxic treatments ever could.
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What is Natural Mental Health?

Back in 2004, the W.H.O. declared a shift was emerging in the field of mental health, one that would require an expansion of a skilled workforce to be able to successfully implement. This new conceptualization of how mental health services should be accomplished included a shift from treating mental illness to promoting mental well-being.19

natural holistic mental healthSince that time, pharmaceutical companies have continued to reap $billions on drugs to “treat mental illness.” In contrast, Alternative to Meds Center has seen great success with its approach of promoting natural mental health and reducing the reliance on toxic drugs that carry no claim to cure anything.

Natural mental health requires an earnest and thorough discovery of root causes that if treated, may lead to diminished or eliminated symptoms that have plagued a person’s mental and often physical well-being. Evidence-based tools are required, with a professional team to correctly implement testing, correct the diet and address nutritional deficits, improve lifestyle factors, remove neurotoxic accumulations in the body, and other aspects that promote natural mental health in very real ways. Alternative to Meds Centers provides a personalized blueprint for success. Below is a sampling of tools that can be implemented, followed by an expanded description of these methods.

A blueprint for Natural Mental Health can include:
  • Cleanse the body of toxic accumulations
  • Neurotransmitter rehabilitation through a clean diet and supplementation
  • Avoid alcohol and drug consumption
  • Support for a healthy, well-functioning microbiome
  • Exercise, especially outdoors where possible
  • Psychological support
  • Create healthy social connections
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Helpful physical therapies such as acupuncture, bright-light therapy
  • Spiritual personal growth

Toxicity and Natural Mental Health

In the modern world, we are constantly being bombarded with toxic chemicals in our food, water, and the environments where we work and live. Psychiatric symptoms can emerge after toxic exposure to preservatives, drugs, artificial sweeteners, industrial and home use of cleaners and surfactants, and the chemicals used for taste and color enhancement in processed food. Additional toxic exposure can occur from airborne and water-borne particulate matter, according to the EPA.3,4,11,20

According to published research, mood, behavioral, cognitive, and other disorders are all associated with toxic exposures.19 Psychiatric disorders associated with toxic exposures include these:

  • Suicidality
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Neurosis
  • Mood swings
  • Rage
  • Weeping
  • Giddiness
  • Amnesia
  • Declining academic skills
  • Learning disabilities
  • Compulsive behaviors and impulsivity
  • Confusion
  • Personality changes
  • Eating disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social withdrawal, excessive embarrassment, timidity
  • Violent behavior
  • Sleepwalking
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue, weakness, somnolence
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Hysteria
  • Nightmares
  • Explosive speech
  • Bizarre behaviors
  • Sexual dysfunction, hypersexuality

… and many, many others. In fact, psychiatric and physical symptoms associated with toxic exposures encompass such a long list it becomes impractical to list them all here in this short article.

However, a well-informed physician in any genre of medicine should know ALL of these, and is obliged to test for toxic exposures before assuming a diagnosis of Bipolar, schizophrenia, depressive disorder, or other “mental disorder.” Anything else is supposition, assumption, and guesswork. Toxic exposures should be tested before any such diagnosis can be factually made. This is one of the most fundamental approaches to supporting natural mental health, but unfortunately, is one of the most frequently omitted protocols when diagnosing a patient.

The Blueprint for Natural Mental Health Includes Neurotoxin Removal

At Alternative to Meds Center, testing for neurotoxin accumulations is done very near the beginning of a client’s stay with us. This is because we have found that in the vast majority of cases, neurotoxicity is the main culprit in what has been commonly diagnosed as anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depressive disorders, and other diagnoses, especially those that did not remit adequately with prescription medication for treatment.

Deep cleansing toxic residues out of the body is done safely, gradually, and under medical supervision, in tandem with other treatments that may include cessation of prescription drugs, as well as other basic treatments. Toxins in the body can produce damage and dysfunction in a person’s biological neurochemistry. A blend of cleansing protocols is used in achieving a “clean machine”. These can include the use of sauna and other spa services, chelation, nebulized glutathione treatments, colon hydrotherapy, mineral baths, and others to release accumulated toxins. Once the toxins are purged, neurochemical rehabilitation is possible.

Neurotransmitter Rehabilitation

The body’s system of operation includes billions of parts and pieces that somehow masterfully coordinate and function in a healthy body. When any of these become dysfunctional, the consequences can include symptoms, acting as signposts that can help us understand their path of origin. There can be a domino effect involving the many interactions within the body, making quite a puzzle to solve.

restore neurotransmittersThe neurotransmitter systems and pathways throughout the body are one such piece that drug companies have emphasized over all others. Prescription drugs for mental health aim to target one microscopic part of the puzzle while neglecting the uncountable other factors involved.

For example, SSRI drugs target serotonin and create a down-regulation effect, where the serotonin receptors eventually become disabled over the course of treatment. While SSRIs became mega-profitable, their therapeutic effectiveness has never been without controversy or challenges.21,22

Another example is treating a headache caused by dehydration with aspirin, but neglecting a drink of water, and not restoring lost sodium or other factors that may also have contributed to the symptom.

However, a dietary approach to restoring holistic balance across many systems in the body works exceptionally well and does not introduce further damage. Lab tests are a practical tool in designing a diet and in determining supplementation needed to support health and healing across all the interacting systems in a healthy body, including neurotransmitter rehabilitation.

Gut Health and Mental Wellness

gut health is directly connected to mental healthThe importance of a healthy gut cannot be overstated. The bacteria in the gut are what make vitamins, hormones, and other necessities of life possible. The gut is like a 24/7 factory that, given the correct raw materials, creates the essential materials needed for physical and mental health in uncountable ways. Though it is often neglected, the gut is a major driver of a vast number of areas of human wellness including the immune system, the endocrine system, modulation of genes, energy production, combating disease pathogens, optimizing healthy neural pathways and brain function, and many others. The number of bacteria in the gut makes up a vast army that outnumbers the number of cells in the entire body. Sometimes the gut is referred to as “the second brain” for its role in optimal brain function. Through a corrected diet and supplementation, the microbiome can be restored to a more optimal functional condition. A blueprint for mental wellness includes dietary supports such as probiotics, and prebiotics, either in supplement form or from food sources such as fish, yogurt, sauerkraut, and adequate fresh fruits and vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.23,24

Other Drug-Free Therapies are Part of a Blueprint for Natural Mental Health

Mental wellness can be supported and enhanced in many natural ways. The following is a list of non-drug-based opportunities that may be relatively easy to implement. These and many similar methods are used at Alternative to Meds Center, because they are scientifically and clinically effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other symptoms, without prescription drugs.

Additional drug-free therapies for mental health can include:

Exercise:  forest bathing, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, walking, and swimming can help get the body moving, breathing, relaxing, and enjoying more energy.1,2,5-8

Psychological therapy:  CBT, Equine assisted therapy, art therapy, and peer group support all have clinically proven therapeutic benefits for natural mental health without prescription drugs.

Get Connected:  join a group with similar interests, find peer support, or engage in community outreach, hobbies, and volunteer projects that appeal to you for pleasing and satisfying social interactions.

Improve sleep hygiene:  non-toxic bed linens and proper pillows, improve ventilation, remove electronics from the bedroom, don’t eat heavy foods close to bedtime, black-out curtains, comfortable eye mask, ear plugs, avoid caffeine or other stimulants, eliminate alcohol and other drug use, supplements such as melatonin or L-theanine may promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep.25

Bright Light Therapy:  used successfully in seasonal and non-seasonal-related depression.27

Acupuncture:  shown in clinical trials to significantly reduce symptoms of depression.26

Spiritual and Religious Practices:  positive religious and spiritual practices have shown benefits in mental health by providing stress relief, comfort, hope, and meaning. While Alternative to Meds is not a faith-based program, we recognize and support the value of religious and non-religious spiritual personal growth.28

Find out more about Alternative to Meds Drug-Free Treatments

Please contact the center to find out more about our philosophy and the methods we use to help our clients achieve their goals of improving natural mental health and achieving successful recovery after prescription drug use.

1. Jimenez MP, DeVille NV, Elliott EG, Schiff JE, Wilt GE, Hart JE, James P. Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 30;18(9):4790. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094790. PMID: 33946197; PMCID: PMC8125471. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

2. Gascon M, Sánchez-Benavides G, Dadvand P, Martínez D, Gramunt N, Gotsens X, Cirach M, Vert C, Molinuevo JL, Crous-Bou M, Nieuwenhuijsen M. Long-term exposure to residential green and blue spaces and anxiety and depression in adults: A cross-sectional study. Environ Res. 2018 Apr;162:231-239. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Jan 19. PMID: 29358115. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

3. Vert C, Sánchez-Benavides G, Martínez D, Gotsens X, Gramunt N, Cirach M, Molinuevo JL, Sunyer J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Crous-Bou M, Gascon M. Effect of long-term exposure to air pollution on anxiety and depression in adults: A cross-sectional study. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2017 Aug;220(6):1074-1080. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jul 3. PMID: 28705430.

4. Liu Q, Wang W, Gu X, Deng F, Wang X, Lin H, Guo X, Wu S. Association between particulate matter air pollution and risk of depression and suicide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Feb;28(8):9029-9049. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-12357-3. Epub 2021 Jan 22. PMID: 33481201. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

5. Antonelli M, Donelli D, Carlone L, Maggini V, Firenzuoli F, Bedeschi E. Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on individual well-being: an umbrella review. Int J Environ Health Res. 2022 Aug;32(8):1842-1867. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2021.1919293. Epub 2021 Apr 28. PMID: 33910423. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

6. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D. Physical activity, exercise, and mental disorders: it is time to move on. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2021 Jul-Sep;43(3):177-184. doi: 10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0237. Epub 2021 Apr 21. PMID: 33890431; PMCID: PMC8638711. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

7. Brinsley J, Schuch F, Lederman O, Girard D, Smout M, Immink MA, Stubbs B, Firth J, Davison K, Rosenbaum S. Effects of yoga on depressive symptoms in people with mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2021 Sep;55(17):992-1000. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-101242. Epub 2020 May 18. PMID: 32423912. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

8. Yeung A, et al., QiGong and Tai Chi for Mood Regulation published online Focus – the Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry 24 Jan 2018 [cited 2022 Dec 28]

9. Haghighatdoost F, Feizi A, Esmaillzadeh A, Rashidi-Pourfard N, Keshteli AH, Roohafza H, Adibi P. Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. World J Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 20;8(3):88-96. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.88. PMID: 30254979; PMCID: PMC6147771. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

10. Bremner JD, Moazzami K, Wittbrodt MT, Nye JA, Lima BB, Gillespie CF, Rapaport MH, Pearce BD, Shah AJ, Vaccarino V. Diet, Stress and Mental Health. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 13;12(8):2428. doi: 10.3390/nu12082428. PMID: 32823562; PMCID: PMC7468813. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

11. Brown JS Jr. Psychiatric issues in toxic exposures. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;30(4):837-54. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2007.07.004. PMID: 17938048. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

12. van Bruchem-Visser RL, de Beaufort ID, Mattace-Raso FUS, Kuipers EJ. What to do when patients and physicians disagree? Qualitative research among physicians with different working experiences. Eur Geriatr Med. 2020 Aug;11(4):659-666. doi: 10.1007/s41999-020-00312-3. Epub 2020 Apr 2. PMID: 32297273; PMCID: PMC7438371. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

13. Mallardi V. Le origini del consenso informato [The origin of informed consent]. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2005 Oct;25(5):312-27. Italian. PMID: 16602332. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

14. Paterick TE, Patel N, Tajik AJ, Chandrasekaran K. Improving health outcomes through patient education and partnerships with patients. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2017 Jan;30(1):112-113. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2017.11929552. PMID: 28152110; PMCID: PMC5242136. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

15. Ochoa-Repáraz J, Kasper LH. The Second Brain: Is the Gut Microbiota a Link Between Obesity and Central Nervous System Disorders? Curr Obes Rep. 2016 Mar;5(1):51-64. doi: 10.1007/s13679-016-0191-1. PMID: 26865085; PMCID: PMC4798912. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

16. Hiller-Sturmhöfel S, Bartke A. The endocrine system: an overview. Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):153-64. PMID: 15706790; PMCID: PMC6761896. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

17. Campbell M, Jialal I. Physiology, Endocrine Hormones. [Updated 2022 Sep 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2022 Dec 28]

18. Gammack JK. Light therapy for insomnia in older adults. Clin Geriatr Med. 2008 Feb;24(1):139-49, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2007.08.013. PMID: 18035237. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

19. Slade M. Mental illness and well-being: the central importance of positive psychology and recovery approaches. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010 Jan 26;10:26. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-10-26. PMID: 20102609; PMCID: PMC2835700. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

20. Environmental Protection Agency, US Gov What is Particulate Matter? published online March 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 28]

21. Briguglio M, et al., “Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge.” PubMed ID 29748506 [Nutrients Journal 2018 May] [cited 2022 Dec 28]

22. Moncrieff J, Cooper RE, Stockmann T, Amendola S, Hengartner MP, Horowitz MA. The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence. Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01661-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35854107. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

23. Ochoa-Repáraz J, Kasper LH. The Second Brain: Is the Gut Microbiota a Link Between Obesity and Central Nervous System Disorders? Curr Obes Rep. 2016 Mar;5(1):51-64. doi: 10.1007/s13679-016-0191-1. PMID: 26865085; PMCID: PMC4798912. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

24. Foster JA, McVey Neufeld KA. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci. 2013 May;36(5):305-12. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Feb 4. PMID: 23384445. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

25. Rao TP, Ozeki M, Juneja LR. In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(5):436-47. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.926153. Epub 2015 Mar 11. PMID: 25759004. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

26. Wang H, Qi H, Wang BS, Cui YY, Zhu L, Rong ZX, Chen HZ. Is acupuncture beneficial in depression: a meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials? J Affect Disord. 2008 Dec;111(2-3):125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 Jun 11. PMID: 18550177. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

27. Tao L, Jiang R, Zhang K, Qian Z, Chen P, Lv Y, Yao Y. Light therapy in non-seasonal depression: An update meta-analysis. Psychiatry Res. 2020 Sep;291:113247. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113247. Epub 2020 Jun 22. PMID: 32622169. [cited 2022 Dec 28]

Originally Published December 29, 2022 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Natural Mental Health | Build Your Blueprint for Success
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