Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and other diagnosticians continue to make two HUGE errors that leave us feeling crazy when we are NOT! They fail to engage in the first two REQUIRED steps towards an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan:

  1. Ruling out a general medical condition that explains the presenting symptoms;
  2. Ruling out the use of substances that can cause the presenting symptoms (alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and any other “upper” or “downer” no matter how natural it is).

When the presenting symptoms can be explained by a general medical condition, they are NOT the result of a mental illness (DSM-V diagnosis) and they will not be helped by traditional talk therapy or long-term use of psychotropic medication. Medical conditions such as Lyme Disease, PANS/PANDAS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, hormonal imbalances, Cystic Fibrosis, and so on, often create symptoms of both hyperarousal (anxiety, panic, distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and aggression) and underarousal (inattentiveness, memory loss, hopelessness, shame, powerlessness, lethargy, despondency and shut down). When someone has a general medical condition, chronic or not, life threatening or not, that someone’s brain and body frequently experience the health issue as a potential killer, as an attack or ambush from inside the skin. Typical survival processes are mobilized – elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol – which cause cycles of hyper-vigilance and exhaustion. Hear me when I say: These experiences are NOT the result of a mental illness. We don’t need a psychiatrist. We aren’t helped by the shameful process of obtaining a psychiatric diagnosis (often a lifelong label) paired with the ongoing search for the right “cocktail” of medication. Rather, we need to know that our sensations and feelings, as scary as they are at times, are the result of a health condition that can be treated effectively both medically, nutritionally, AND with stress and trauma HEALING.

Let us now consider our common use of substances and the symptoms they cause. It has helped my own healing TREMENDOUSLY to become aware of the scientific fact that what we put in our bodies has a direct and powerful impact on both our central and autonomic nervous systems. I appreciate that we use substances rather innocently. We are simply trying to help ourselves wake up and stay awake or be more alert and present. We want to be able to calm down and be less reactive or aggressive. Substances help us to do make those shifts at first. Though many of the substances we use are considered “natural,” even “medicinal,” over time, they do, in fact, cause our nervous system to cycle through patterns of hyperarousal and underarousal, as described above. I am so personally grateful that there are simpler, more freeing ways to bring about natural regulation to our brain and body so that we can have authentic alertness and presence of mind, less reactivity, better health, and more self-generated joy. It is my eternal hope that we will all find our way to the science and practice of the healing tools that give us back our own internal power to regulate ourselves. I offer the blogs, articles, and YouTube videos I do, so that you will find an easy way to get started on a healing journey that is entirely worth taking. My best to you all.


Dr. Reggie