• amyk

Where We Are With Understanding Behavioral Health Diseases

First A Note of Thanks from Me!

This post marks our 200th on this blog. I am so appreciative of the subscribed readers that are continuing to grow in support of this blog. Thank you!

What We Know

The truth is we don’t know all about how our brain and emotions work or how they connect to our physical health.

We don’t know what causes these things to not work well anymore resulting in conditions we label as behavioral health or mental health issues.

We live in a society that understands these things even less than the doctors and scientists resulting in stigma, stereotyping and lack of acceptance and support.

Information is still evolving in the field of mental and behavioral health studies to understand what causes these conditions and how to diagnosis and treat them. Doctors and scientists don’t have cures for these conditions. However, billions of dollars of prescriptions are written in hopes of managing and “curing” these conditions.

Behavioral health conditions are a wild west of uncertainty and disconnection that further complicates the diagnosis and prevents true healing from occurring.

A Limited Health System

All touch points for treating behavioral health in our health care system are broken and severely limited when it comes to getting care.

High Cost

The issue of care and knowledge is limited for behavioral health needs from our health care industry with limitations of coverage and high deductibles that prevent people from getting help earlier.

Most insurances still do not provide basic mental and behavioral coverage for supporting preventative or chronic behavioral health needs. If coverage is provided, visits are limited to a certain amount per year if they are covered at all.

The coverage gap between the deductible and co-insurance can quickly use up savings similar to physical diseases like cancer.

Provider Access Limits

Diagnosing and treating these conditions is also often difficult. Most commonly the first step is with the primary care provider who will start out with a common depression diagnosis and anti-depressant medication. The actual root diagnosis takes time to identify and can unfortunately result in more severe conditions until that diagnosis is confirmed.

Once confirmed, a new problem evolves with a limitation in the type and availability of providers who work with more severe diagnosis.. There are a limited providers in many areas of the country who with these diagnosis resulting in overloaded provider offices where there is someone available and long wait times in between appointments.

Policy Limits

Additionally, things like disability and social security are limited and significantly harder to get if the diagnosis is behavioral health related.  This puts the burden of care and cost of that care on the families whereas someone with a physical disease just as debilitating and life-threatening can receive these benefits much easier and with less invasive personal questions.

There are not the same level of HIPAA protections for information and privacy when it comes to behavioral health issues even if that HIPAA form you sign says there is. Failure to fully disclose all information in this area often results in termination of benefits and support. So much for privacy.

The amount of information and interference to privacy is insulting quite frankly and can result in someone who needs care from going without it just so they can retain their dignity and privacy about their health. Again, for many physical conditions a simple high level diagnosis is accepted without question without this level of intense questioning and suspect.

Expensive Medications

The medications prescribed for these conditions are expensive, addictive and can have life long implications to your health. There can be a significant change in cost from going from a regular dosage to an extended release version of the same medication. In many cases these more sophisticated drugs are hundreds of dollars or more and not covered by  your insurance formulary.

The drugs used often have severe side effects and will become ineffective over time resulting in higher doses or changes to more severe medications. The side effects can include physical pain further complicating the treatment and increasing the amount of medication needed on a daily basis.

It is a vicious circle of medication without end.

Why Behavioral Health is Different

The person suffering from PTSD, acute anxiety and similar conditions can look “normal” on the outside but inside they are unable to focus, can’t sit still, and are like a time bomb ready to explode with anger, frustration and emotions we cannot even begin to know how to deal with on that level.

Sleep is often not restful and the person can feel tired all the time. Often individuals with these conditions go long periods without sleep and then “crash” for long period of time from pure physical exhaustion.

They physically hurt because of the high cortisol levels in their system from being in a constant fight-or-flight state. This can lead to long term physical conditions and complications with treatments especially is pain medications are included in the other medications the person is prescribed.

When you live with someone who suffers from these types of conditions there is also an increase of stress on the family emotionally, physically and financially.  This can strain relationships, impact children and further impact the person with the condition from healing. The damage from these conditions on relationships, friendships and marriages is real and it’s big.

What Does Work

The breakdowns in care and cost burden are the reason a lot of individuals have turned to natural treatments for managing these conditions.

It is so important to have a physician who is willing to consider natural and traditional treatments when it comes to behavioral health care planning.  Being able to openly discuss options in the natural treatment realm and have that as part of the treatment plan can play a significant role in management of the condition and long term implications.

Having natural options as part of the care plan also helps financially as compared to more expensive medications that are prescribed.

Natural Options to Consider

CBD Oil has become popularly known as the miracle oil for supporting behavioral health conditions. Many have found relief through its use and incorporation into their treatment that has extended to being able to step down or completely eliminate prescription medications.

Essential Oils also have a solid support to helping with these conditions. Infusing them with CBD or using in conjunction with CBD offers many individuals the increased ability to sleep, rest, remain calm, and start the process of supporting healing.

Marijuana while not legal in all 50 states also can help in these conditions. It’s not ideal in a lot of situations because quite understandably we don’t want this to be something our children our exposed to and think is OK to do on a recreational level and there are some deep concerns about the effects from using it but when managed appropriately can offer so much help to that individual.

These options sometimes just help that individual smile, laugh and engage with their family in a way they have not done in a long time. That can mean so much for that individual and the family when you are living with these conditions.

Interested in more?

It is our hope as providers and scientists learn more about how our brain, emotions and physical health intertwine, treatment for behavioral health conditions can become more robust with improved results. These solutions need to include both traditional and natural methods. We hope this continued advancement of understanding these conditions helps drive policy changes for coverage, financial support and access to care for those that need it.

Until these things occur, trying natural solutions can help. Find providers who are open to discussing them and incorporating them into your care plan.

If you are interested in essential oils or CBD, please reach out. We are happy to share information on what we have found helps and help you find the products right for you.

amyk@dragonspitapothecary.com 

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