By Joyce Donahue, MA, RD, LD/N
So often, we think of nutrition and its relationship to our bodies from the neck down. How it affects our heart, how it affects our colon, for example. Why do we not acknowledge its impact on our brain health as well? If a patient were to undergo an elective surgical procedure, he or she may be advised to lose weight, gain weight, or avoid certain medications or herbs beforehand. These recommendations are made to help ensure maximum recovery with minimal complications. Why would we not take this approach when dealing with mental illness as well? Shouldn’t we try to achieve optimal nutritional health of the brain if we are trying to heal it?
A poorly nourished body contains a poorly nourished brain. It has been my experience that clients who take the nutritional component of their mental health or substance abuse recovery/rehabilitation seriously, are more likely to be successful and experience “wellness” in their mental health. A more holistic approach is necessary. It is essential to treat the body and mind as one. The brain does not live in isolation to the rest of the body. More and more medical experts are realizing that every biochemical reaction in the brain occurs as a result of the nutrients we feed that brain. Mental illness needs to be attacked with various approaches, medical nutrition therapy being one of them.
One of my favorite quotes, and one that I truly believe in, came from Hippocrates when he said, “Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food.” Whether we are treating substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, or schizoaffective disorder, we need to focus first and foremost on proper nutrition for the brain.
Nutrition in Mental Health is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses how good nutrition impacts a person’s mental health and well being. Includes discussions on “mental wellness” versus “mental illness,” hypothyroidism and it’s impact on mental health, neurotransmitters and amino acids, glycemic index, vitamins, fatty acids, caffeine, chocolate and aspartame, and herbal supplements and medications. Case studies are provided. This course will give the reader some insight into this concept, by providing the student with clinical research, anecdotal information and a good background for understanding the role nutrition plays in mental health.
This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.
Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.