Harnesses new research about the link between neuroscience and immunology that underlies promising nonpharmacological treatment for mental disorders
As researchers learn more about the neuroscience and neurobiology of mental disorders, the prevailing understanding of how to treat these conditions-often favouring the use of psychotropic medications-is changing rapidly. This book harnesses cutting-edge research about how neuroscience integrated with recent findings in immunology can explain behavioural syndromes and describes nonpharmacological approaches for ameliorating psychic distress and promoting wellbeing. The text discusses the pros and cons of using pharmaceuticals for treating different categories of mental distress in adults and children while illuminating key developments in alternative approaches to treatment-encompassing lifestyle changes related to diet, exercise, and strong interpersonal relationships-that have value and can lead to improved outcomes without medication. These new approaches are discussed as additions to the other research-validated techniques that are already offered in the therapeutic community.
The book presents the latest neuroscience and physiological explanations behind the major diagnostic categories of mental illness-including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and addiction-that underlie traditional pharmaceutical treatment interventions and describe how and why non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies can be effective. It integrates current information about brain function and its chemical underpinnings with new research about immunology that identifies the mechanism through which lifestyle changes can obviate stress and offer new avenues for wellbeing. Of particular note is cutting-edge information about fast-spiking GABA interneurons and the role of NMDA receptors in psychosis, the role of inflammatory processes in mood disorders, and gut microbiota's influence on inflammation. The book also explores the physiology undergirding health and resilience, offering a research-based rationale for viewing the mind and body as inseparable for treatment purposes. Students and mental health professionals in social work, counselling, and psychology will learn the benefits of delivering treatment interventions geared toward prevention and amelioration of distress, through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and maintaining regular sleep and daily routines.
- Presents the latest information on the neuroscience behind disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, anxiety disorders, and addictions
- Explains the mechanisms through which diet and exercise can influence mood disorders and psychosis
- Covers the latest on the efficacy and side effects of antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers, and stimulants
- Discusses ADHD, depression, pediatric bipolar, issues for children in the child welfare system, and advocacy efforts
- Prepares mental health professionals to provide services in a primary health care setting in the role of the behavioural health professional
Jill Littrell, PhD, LCSW, is Associate Professor, Georgia State University School of Social Work, USA. During prior work as a psychologist in the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Department at CIGNA Health Plan, she wrote Understanding and Treating Alcoholism. Having been intrigued by the connections between mind and body, she earned a Masters degree in Biology (Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry) while on faculty at Georgia State, USA. Much of her class work and laboratory experience was focused on immunology and neuroscience. She has published various papers on the links between behaviour, disease, and immune system function as well as on the efficacy of antidepressants. Dr. Littrell writes for the website Mad in America on research updates related to medications, diagnoses, ways to support natural resilience, and various trends in the mental health field. She has published articles in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Clinical Psychology Review, and Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.