Taking a New Approach to Mental Health [PODCAST]
Taking a New Approach to Mental Health
In this special episode of Bulletproof Radio, I asked holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora what she thought was the single most important element that supports vitality at any age. She answered “community.”
“Not only do I believe that, but the evidence supports that actually having good social connections, feeling held in community, that’s really our most potent anti-aging medicine,” she says.
When people are part of a community, they are happier and able to see things with different perspectives, Dr. Vora continued. “They can have a little bit more of a resilient mindset on things. People are just a little more cognitively nimble when they’re surrounded by good people and happiness.”
And that’s important when it comes to depression, anxiety and sleep. Three things Dr. Vora sees a lot of in her medical practice. We talk about why so many people struggle with those issues.
She takes a functional medicine approach to mental health, considering the whole person and addressing imbalance at the root cause. Dr. Vora received an undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduated from Columbia University medical school and went on to become a board-certified psychiatrist, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. She specializes in depression, anxiety, insomnia, women’s mental health, adult ADHD, bipolar, autoimmunity and digestive issues.
Our conversation goes into sympathetic and parasympathetic stress, meditation, flossing (!) and psychedelics.
“What we know is substances like psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, ketamine, they do cause a release of BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor. So, you have an increase in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and you start to see a brain that can grow and change.”
Another biggie that affects your mental health? Adverse childhood experience. “[The ACE] research renders everything else you’ve ever studied and paid attention to in healthcare totally irrelevant because what we’re really seeing is that every marker that matters–health span, lifespan risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, certainly risk of digestive issues and autoimmunity, cancer–adverse childhood events play a significant role in determining your risk of these issues later on.”
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