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What Parents Should Know About Infections and Mental Health

After infections, some children are misdiagnosed with mental health conditions.

A reality of trauma and many other mental health problems is the complexity of causes. This means that sustainable solutions have to be complex as well. Single-cause approaches don’t work for very long.  

Professionals—counselors, psychologists, medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists of all kinds—are schooled in a particular field of diagnosis and treatment. They trust the tools they know, often had teachers and mentors who did wonderful things with them, and see these tools as the answer to problems they encounter. 

In other words, they tend to define the symptoms they see as problems caused by the issues they are trained to deal with. As the saying goes: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail.”

All this is natural and perhaps not so bad, if not for something else. Science is increasingly revealing that a large number of medical and mental problems are interrelated. In ways unknown to the teachers who mentored the practitioners of today, diet and exercise, community, environment, and mind are inextricably woven together. Problems in one area often manifest in other areas. 

Few professionals are equipped to diagnose and treat people in the integrative way required. A large number of people receive care that is less effective and less sustainable than if the practitioners working with them were up-to-date about cross-linkages among disciplines.

I was first introduced to the brain-gut connection over a decade ago. At that time, few doctors or other practitioners were aware of this connection. In recent years, social media and numerous evidence-based studies have made it far easier to learn about the many implications of this interaction.

In my last blog, I wrote about inflammation, one of the best-researched and most promising areas for integrative approaches to mental health. In this post, I go a step further and explore a question with implications for almost all aspects of mental health: What are the root causes of inflammation?

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