Believe it or not, the leading cause of disability in the United States is mental disorders.  Most people that suffer from a mental disorder are normally diagnosed with more than one disorder, making mental health just as important as physical health. In today’s society, 26.2 percent, or one in four Americans age 18 years and older have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to U.S. Census data.

Several steps are involved with the proper diagnosis of a mental disorder.  If the person shows symptoms of mental health issues, either a doctor or other mental health professional must evaluate them. The typical protocol is for the doctor to ask questions about the person’s symptoms, medical history, and sometimes the doctor will perform a physical exam. The symptoms and degree of disability point to a diagnosis of a specific mental disorder.

If a family member is seeing odd or abnormal behavior from a loved one, it is important to have the person be evaluated. There are some key behaviors you can look for in a loved one you suspect of having a mental health problem:


  • An unusual drop in functioning, at work, school, or difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • A feeling of being disconnected from oneself and their surroundings
  • Drastic changes in one’s sleep and appetite or personal hygiene
  • Heightened sensitivity to sounds, sights, smell or touch
  • Recent social withdrawal or loss of interest in others
  • Problems with concentrating, memory, or logical thoughts

There are numerous ways to treat a person with a mental disorder. The most common approach is the traditional way of treatment, which typically uses medications based on the person’s symptoms. There are two problems with this approach, however. Most importantly, it requires the mental health professional to chase their symptoms, acting reactively and not proactively to help improve the patients mental health.

Additionally, with the emphasis on medication, typically the person will need one medication to treat one of the problems, and possibly another one to treat the side effects of the first medication and so forth.

There are holistic and integrative approaches to treating mental disorders. At Lake Norman Health and Wellness, we use an integrative model of care, with a focus on clinical nutrition, functional neurology and active therapies performed both in office and at home. By addressing the whole body, it allows the clinician to identify the underlying causes of the mental health problem. 

As Dr. Gary Draper D.C. states, “We address the whole body, using brain based therapies to fire up the brain pathways that are not firing correctly. You could say we help rewire the brain," Dr. Gary Draper said. "By not just chasing symptoms, we are getting to the root of the problem. With the holistic approach it is less invasive, has fewer side effects, and presents better long-term outcomes.”

- Drs. Akiba Green and Gary Draper, Lake Norman Health & Wellness