Causation Is Key to Improving Emotional Health
There has been a lot of discussion about emotional and mental health in light of the many shooting tragedies we’ve witnessed in the last 24 months. Though mental illness is something we have been attempting to treat for generations, there still seems to be this disconnect between mental health and its emotional counterpart. Furthermore, we continue to struggle to treat both because we don’t know enough about causation.
There are some very specific mental health issues that we can treat successfully through the use of therapy and medication. But could it be that some of these issues are the direct result of poor emotional health? Could it be that identifying the root causes of emotional disturbances would make it possible to prevent some mental illnesses from developing?
What must be understood is that while mental and emotional problems often go hand-in-hand, they can be two very separate things. Furthermore, a person who starts out with an emotional disturbance can eventually transition to a clinically diagnosed mental condition. It would seem that getting a handle on emotional disturbances could be an important tool in combating mental illness.
Identifying the Root Causes
A person suffering from chronic depression may go to a psychiatrist for regular therapy and prescription medications. In some cases, the doctor may dig a little more deeply to see if he or she can figure out the underlying mechanisms that are causing the depression. In other cases, no such attempt may be made. But here’s the thing: depression is just one of several mental illnesses that can be traced back to emotional disturbances caused by things that are easily correctable.
For example, extreme stress and sleep deprivation are known to contribute to emotional disturbances that can eventually become depression. A person predisposed to depression from childhood might never actually develop the condition as an adult if medical professionals were able to identify emotional disturbances along the way that were indicative of high levels of stress and sleep deprivation. Then, by addressing the stress and sleep issues, those emotional disturbances could be settled and future depression avoided.
This is not to say that all mental health problems are preventable. It is merely to say that we need to do a better job of analyzing the relationship between mental and emotional health and tying them both into the goal of discovering the root cause. Only by going down the root cause path will we find ways to prevent emotional disturbances and mental illness before they occur.
Prevention Works for the Body
The point to understand here is that identifying causation and embarking on prevention are two strategies that work very well for the physical body. That’s what naturopathic medicine is all about. And if it works for the body, shouldn’t it also work for the mind and emotions? Absolutely.
We must do a better job of understanding causation in the arena of emotional mental health. Causation is not only critical to treatment, but it is also key to finding ways to prevent future illness. To ignore causation is to say to people suffering from emotional and mental disturbances that they are on their own until they reach a state that requires direct medical intervention.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s office released a National Prevention Strategy in 2011 as a means of improving the overall health of Americans. Mental and emotional health is part of that strategy. If we can prevent emotional and mental disturbances before they take root, we can change the current reality that mental health is responsible for more disabilities than any other group of illnesses in America.