Nutrition and Mental Disorders

In order to function properly our brain and nervous system require the presence of many different nutrients. Absence or reduced levels of these nutrients can result in psychological symptoms. Therefore, nutrition can be an important and sometimes critical link in improving psychological function, according to psychologist and author Alfred L. Scoop PhD.

In his nutrition-based psychotherapy approach, Dr. Scoop says that the average American diet is neither well-balanced nor nutritionally adequate. Soil depletion of trace elements and the refining of foods has resulted in the removal of about 80% of some nutrients that are critical for psychological well-being, such as chromium, magnesium, and the B-Complex vitamins. Dr. Scoop has found that 90% of his psychotherapy clients do not meet the minimum daily requirements of two or more nutrients. Further, a U.S. Senate commission also reported that 25% of the caloric intake of an average American diet is from refined white sugar – a food devoid of any vitamin or mineral value. In another study, 90% of respondents taking tranquilizers had inadequate intake of magnesium, a natural tranquilizer.

Emotional Symptoms Precede Physical Illness

The use of nutritional analysis as part of psychological treatment of emotional and mental disorders is an approach that Dr. Scoop employs, along with some basic assumptions: Nutritional deficiencies manifest themselves through emotional symptoms long before they become apparent in medical symptoms. One study found that while no symptoms of physical illness appeared in a group of psychotherapy patients, more than one-third had low levels of vitamin B-12. Substantial improvement resulted when they were given the missing supplement. Another study found that patients with only mild deficiencies of magnesium were startled at loud or unexpected movement or noise, or experienced disorientation, mental confusion, hallucinations, and convulstions.

One for You, Two for Me

Since no two people are exactly alike, differing personalities have widely varied nutritional needs. The amount of stress an individual has, for example, also increases the need for certain nutrients. One study of schizophrenics found they had metabolized ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, at a rate ten times that of a control group of normal individuals. After ten patients were given six to eight grams of ascorbic acid every four hours, all showed clinical improvement.

The wide variation in why individuals have different nutritional requirements explains why some people may need B6, niacin, C, B-12 or B-1 supplements, and other stress related vitamins in quantities hundreds of times greater than the suggested minimum daily requirements in order to function at their psychologically optimum level, while other people may have their nutritional needs met with merely a well-balanced diet.

“Nutritional Psychotherapy”

Since the 1950s, mega-vitamins such as niacin and Vitamin C have helped schizophrenic patients. When food additives, preservatives, sugars and excessively refined carbohydrates were removed from the diets of hyperactive or learning impaired children, behavior improved dramatically. A study by the Northern Nassau County Mental Center treated 5,000 schizophrenics and alcoholics using nutritional psychotherapy with high success rates. Treatments consisted of individualized programs of vitamins, minerals, diet and avoidance of specific foods that can create a variety of mental and emotional problems such as depression, irritability, confusion and hyperactivity – proving the old adage: “we are what we eat.”

Before beginning any use of vitamins, minerals, supplements or changes in diet, be sure to consult with your physician.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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