The proper functioning of the vagus nerve is what allows us to feel calm and relaxed and thus is one of the most important determinants of our physical and emotional wellbeing. In this podcast, I’ll discuss the many roles of the vagus - from peacemaker, overseer of many bodily functions, activist against inflammation, filter of sensory input to influencer of social communication (all the subtleties of communication beyond the words we say). While learning how to access calm from the body is useful for everyone, understanding the vagus nerve can help connect a lot of physical and brain related symptoms for those with psychiatric conditions and provide endless opportunities for healing.
In this episode, I'll be discussing what I would say is the root cause to suicide. When someone dies by suicide, the cultural story focuses on an emotionally stressful event. I'm going to be telling another story one that involves inflammation of the brain, Just as the joints and other parts of the body can be inflamed, so can the brain. It is likely when someone takes their life they've already had a degree of chronic brain inflammation before the emotional trigger takes it to another level. Here, I'll discuss the evolving research into brain inflammation and suicide separately. I'll be discussing how from a functional medicine standpoint I address inflammation and how I address and treat what is causing it in the first place. Though my focus will not be on psychiatric medicationsI do recommend medications when they can save someone's life alleviate significant suffering, or even help someone get to a level of functioning so that they can address the deeper root causes.
To read more about brain inflammation, see my blog post "Mast Cell Activation, Brain Disorder, How to Calm Things Down"
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
To read more on the research into suicide and brain inflammation.
I start this episode with briefly discussing the startling statistics on student mental health and the stories our culture tells for why students are receiving more psychiatric diagnoses and even dropping out of college. Mainly I focus on the rarely considered - but, I argue - very common root cause to mental health issues in college students - mold toxicity from dorms. I explain how physiologically someone can go to college thriving and having great hope for the future to living in a dorm with mold (seen or unseen) and then go on to become diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADHD or even bipolar disorder...or simply loose motivation and energy for school and drop out. I also discuss other potential symptoms, how one can acquire testing for mold toxicity without a physician and what treatment for mold toxicity can look like.
Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify and most listening Platforms.
In these podcasts, I use a common cultural reference - such as something from the news, the arts, media, or politics, as a starting place before delving into the fascinating and less known roots to our brain related symptoms and mental wellbeing. Along the way, I discuss new and evolving treatment options that address these root causes. Her hope is to challenge us to look at ourselves, our families, our lives, our culture and even our humanity through a different lens - a lens that offers more possibility and more hope.
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