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One-stop shopping for physical and mental health

Created date

March 22nd, 2018

One very positive development in medicine has been the shift to whole-person care. Primary care providers now address wellness from a holistic perspective rather than solely focusing on physical symptoms or just one organ system such as the heart or lungs. This trend has been strengthened by the American College of Physicians’ endorsement of an integrated care approach for behavioral health treatment.

Behavioral health care is a term encompassing treatment for mental health conditions, substance abuse, life stresses, stress-related physical symptoms, and health behavior issues such as unhealthful eating or sleeping patterns. Behavioral health may not be a topic of discussion at your regular doctor’s appointment, but in some instances, these types of problems could be directly related to physical symptoms or illness. For example, having depression or anxiety—both of which commonly affect seniors—increases the likelihood of many conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Shift to whole-person care

Historically, primary care physicians spent little time on behavioral health issues and typically referred patients to a mental health professional without further followup or integration between the two disciplines. Fortunately, this pattern is changing and the health care paradigm has moved toward whole-person care. Today, medical providers have a better awareness and understanding of mental health and its impact on overall well-being. Your primary doctor may now screen for and diagnose a behavioral health issue and directly treat it or work with a specialist to more effectively manage care.

Research results have borne out the benefits of integrated care. Treating depression using an integrated approach has been shown to be particularly effective. Erickson Living believes in this method and has behavioral health nurse practitioners and social workers on staff at our medical centers. These professionals work right alongside our medical providers. We have witnessed firsthand the high value of combining the disciplines and the difference it makes in the health outcomes and quality of life for many.

Please pay as much attention to your behavioral health as you do to your physical health. If you have a concern, simply visit the doctor who knows you best and who you trust the most.

 

In good health,

Dr. Narrett

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