The Institute for Integrative Psychiatry was founded to promote awareness to the indivisible link between medicine, psychiatry and the individual patient.
Something untoward is happening to modern medicine. As it is becoming ever- more sophisticated, physicians morph into “hyper-specialists ” to the exclusion of the larger picture. For example, yesteryear eye doctors have been replaced by at least 5 types of specialists, each one focusing on a different element of the eye. With every new discovery, the list of narrowly-focused hyper-specialists continues to grow.
In a way, this is inevitable since the explosion of medical knowledge invariably results in physicians that know a lot about a specific area, but little about everything else. We should have nothing but admiration for medical research and the accumulation of science-based data. Think about peptic ulcers that once necessitated complex, debilitating surgeries and now are treated by a simple course of antibiotic. Or ponder life without antibiotics or immunization, or noninvasive procedures. So many conditions that once were lethal or crippling have now become simple and easy to treat.
Why then are so many opposed to this trend? Of course we can assume that many are undoubtedly people who are opposed to any type of modernity and progress. But many are actually quite sophisticated and progressive. These people do not have issues with the concept of medical progress, but rather, argue against the loss of a larger and important context. The context in which focusing solely on a specialty or part of the body, can result in a neglect of the whole body. The consequences of “losing the forest from the trees”, is often quite grave for the individual patient. After all, no one truly denies the obvious fact that the body is a highly-integrated system and not a modular collection of organs and systems. We must therefore challenge ourselves and ask if there is a way to continue this ever-narrowing scientific focus without losing the importance of seeing the big picture.
One attempt to answer this dilemma is the concept of Integrative Medicine, which has gained prominence in recent years. At its core philosophy, Integrative Medicine is committed to promoting a “whole person” approach to health care. This includes attention to concepts of wellness, best practices and the important interaction between mind and body. This pioneering approach is sure to establish itself as the current prevailing delivery of medicine, especially when over-specialized and mechanistic deliveries of health and medicine, with ever escalating costs and universal patient dissatisfaction, become increasingly indefensible.
Integrative Medicine and the “whole person” approach, pays careful attention to the emotional side of the patient. This is one of the most welcomed aspects of this trend, especially since modern medicine has become increasingly oblivious to the individual, his or her feelings and emotional needs. Modern medicine, delivered by busy specialists or imposing “Medical Centers” often deals with patients’ fears, doubts, and even questions as a nuisance. The bewildered, anxious patient frequently remains unsatisfied even if his specific ailing organ got the state-of-the- art treatment. The attempt of Integrative medicine to address this crucial aspect of medicine in a serious and respectful way cannot be underestimated.
Integrative Psychiatry was founded to complement the welcome trend of Integrative Medicine.
The prevailing healthcare delivery has sadly impacted the contemporary psychiatric practice. Psychiatric treatment is now delivered by brief, symptoms-focused encounters, with little regard to the patient’s overall health, lifestyle, habits, drug interactions and presence of other medical conditions that may interfere with psychological well-being.
Many medical conditions result in serious psychiatric symptoms and conversely, psychiatric conditions can severely affect one’s physical health. Without a careful evaluation of the relationship between the body and the brain, any attempt at optimal psychiatric and medical healthcare is seriously compromised. Treating your body or your mind without paying attention to the centrality of the brain makes little sense. In fact, as the data accumulates about the role of stress in cancer and cardiovascular diseases, the interplay between hormones and mood and other evidence, integrative approaches become an urgent and timely endeavor. If we do not pause and pay attention to the whole person, then the push for overspecialization of medicine, the growing dichotomy between the disciplines and the lack of individual context to health and illness, will continue to erode the chance of delivering good healthcare.
The Institute for Integrative Psychiatry was founded to promote awareness to the indivisible link between medicine, psychiatry and the individual patient. The growing movement of the “whole person” approach in healthcare is a welcome one. Whether proposed as an alternative or complementary western medicine, it is very beneficial in its demand to see the person as a whole unit in the context of his or her life. Integrative Psychiatry attempts to offer another perspective that, while indisputable, suffers from a dearth of attention and publicity. Integrative Psychiatry does not fall in the category of alternative medicine, as it arises well within the bosom of Western Medicine. It honors modern medical research and is born out of deep respect to medicine. Sometimes, in the rush for an ever -increasing progress, current available treatments and age-old notions get sacrificed due to the lack of attention to the larger context. It is that context, namely medicine in the service of the well being of an individual, in addition to curing illnesses that Integrative Psychiatry was founded. We hope to make a powerful statement in support of integrating aspects of medicine and psychiatry into a sensible and beneficial whole. We will do it responsibly, based on solid scientific data and available knowledge and discuss it in accessible jargon -free language for public use.