How To Incorporate Substance-free Methods Of Reducing Mental Health Symptoms Into Your Lifestyle

According to the Association for Natural Psychology, approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from mental health issues. Prescription medications, such as antidepressants, have been over-prescribed and do not effectively treat these illnesses.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of substance-free methods to treat mental illness. In several cases, these methods have worked better than prescription drugs do to combat mental health issues.

Besides working more effectively, substance-free methods are also safer than prescription medications, which are sometimes addictive and come with a host of side effects.

Why You Should Avoid Psychiatric Drugs

Psychiatric drugs produce many side effects and prove to be more problematic than they are helpful in treating mental illness. According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 286 drug regulatory warnings, 278 studies and more than 400,000 adverse reaction reports have been filed with the FDA.

However, substance-free methods did not contribute to these alarming numbers. In fact, they helped improve mental health for several patients.

What are Substance-Free Methods?

As the name suggests, substance-free methods combat mental health issues without the aid of prescription drugs. Examples of substance-free methods include lifestyle changes and dieting.

Lifestyle Changes

Altering one’s lifestyle can help him or her regain and maintain a better mental balance. When issues in lifestyle are addressed, mental health issues are easier to combat.

One approach to this is filtering what comes into the mind. What we allow into the mind can have an impact on mental health. This solution requires practice and concentration, but it’s a step toward better mental health.

Resting the mind is also beneficial. The mind is like the body’s motor: It needs to rest and refuel. A mind that is constantly running can have a negative impact on mental health. Getting adequate sleep without the use of medications is important to regaining mental health.

Exercise can be another key factor in combating mental health issues. Exercise acts as a long-term treatment. The Association for Natural Psychology shows that exercise can:

  • Help focus the mind
  • Stimulate positive emotions
  • Contribute to self-worth
  • Increase endorphins and natural opiates (giving the brain a sense of well-being)
  • Improve the heart
  • Improve weight loss
  • Help give the mind a rest

Because of the increased endorphins and stimulation of positive emotions, exercise is a fantastic way to ween off antidepressants.

Attention to lifestyle issues is a great place to start in addressing mental health issues. Where attention is given, alterations can happen – which helps improve mental health.


Dieting can have a significant impact on mental health. A proper intake of the basics will help improve mental health. The basics include:

  • High-potency vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Fish oils

These help brain function by providing fuel the brain needs.

Cutting out processed, high-fat and other unhealthy items and replacing them with all-natural, fresh foods also delivers better results. Replace fried foods, hydrogenated oils and trans fats with unsaturated fats found in fish, olive, vegetable and seed oils and omega-3s (found in flaxseed, seafood and nuts). Replacing trans fats with unsaturated fats helps clear the body’s systems and improves mental and physical health.

Drugs, alcohol and tobacco products should also be avoided. These substances affect mental clarity and can alter the brain in a negative way.

Caffeine is another culprit. You should cut back significantly on your consumption of coffee or caffeinated sodas, or cut them out of your diet completely.

What to Consider when Reducing Mental Health Symptoms

If someone is on prescription drugs, he or she should not stop the medications abruptly. According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, no one should attempt to withdraw from medications without a doctor’s supervision. Additionally, keep in mind that substance-free methods are effective at helping ween patients off medications.

Mental Health Treatment at Summit Behavioral Health

The mission at Summit Behavioral Health is to help individuals who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues improve their overall quality of life. Natural and holistic approaches are emphasized in Summit’s treatment programs, with a focus on the patient’s long-term health.

Summit Behavioral Health knows the importance of substance-free methods and these strategies can be effective in reducing mental health symptoms.

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