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This patient history was written for the Integrative Medicine Board Recertification Process (ABIHM). It is included as an example of how empowering integrative medicine can be for the treatment of depression and alcohol abuse. Alice W. Lee, MD
A. H. (Changed the initials) is a 46 y.o. (changed age) male who presented on February 20, 2014 with depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. He reported that he felt empty, lonely, and worthless. He felt depressed and very tired. He could not sleep well, and his appetite was unreliable, going up and down. He had always been “aware of his physical well being, but “lately, I really do not care.”
He had been a fireman for over 20 years, but due to multiple injuries on the job, he had to take an early retirement at age 45 and found a job that was less physically taxing. However, he had loved his job, and he found his new job unfulfilling. He felt useless and reminisced about his old job, wishing that he could have continued as a fire fighter. Several close friends and family members died over the three years. He was prescribed Percocet for surgeries associated with work related injuries and withdrawal from Percocet had been difficult.
He began to use alcohol to deal with his pain, losses, and emotional disappointment. His wife reported that when he was drunk, he would become angry and hit the door and throw things. However, he did not want to attend AA, because he said that he was not an alcoholic. By the time he came for treatment, he reported that he had been depressed for three years. His drinking was almost daily.
Treatment began during the intake appointment, where the patient and his wife were able to learn about the role of nutritional supplements, diet, and energy medicine to support the healing process. The patient felt encouraged through being listened to and respected. Later during a follow up appointment, when he came alone, he told the clinician that when he felt that he was understood and that the clinician could support him, he felt much better and less anxious.
He and his wife were taught how to do Emotional Freedom Technique and the clinician created a template for them to do over the following week, to help him deal with the problem of “not feeling important and necessary on a regular basis.” This was practiced together as a group, during the session with the clinician. The patient was given guidance and recommendations regarding the use of certain nutritional supplements. These included: GABA rice (germinated brown rice), to help increase GABA levels and help decrease anxiety; glutathione, pyridoxal 5 phosphate; D-phenylalanine, to help with mood, attention, and pain; and kudzu root for his alcohol abuse issues. He was already taking his own nutritional supplements at home, and he was instructed to continue them as he had before. He was also taught how to use guided visualization for meditation. The clinician supported a state of relaxation by doing a guided visualization exercise with him. The patient stated that he felt more relaxed than he had felt for many years.
The patient went away to visit his father in law, and did not take all of his supplement regimen as prescribed when he returned two weeks later. However, he was feeling better, and the rest was good for him. He was still drinking, but not abusing it when he was with his father in law. When he returned, time was devoted to help reinforce the use of nutritional supplements to help support his overall recovery. In addition, he was given a formal regimen consisting of more supplements. This time, the following were added: Pure Harvest Greens, Hemp protein, Acai powder, Calscorbplex, Opti-Zinc, Organically Bound Minerals, Krebs Ionized Chelates, UBQH (co-enzyme Q10), niacinamide, B12/folate, vitamin D, digestive enzyme, Norival, krill Oil, black currant seed oil, probiotic, and foot detox pads.
These supplements were given to support the eight areas of nutritional healing: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, anti-oxidants, G. I. health, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory support. He also had further mood support through Norival, which supplied tyrosine for norepinephrine support and D-phenylalanine for endorphin support. Again, he was supported through a guided visualization and meditation exercise that helped him to relax and be open to healing.
The following week, he returned and said that he “felt like my old self again.” His mood and energy were good. His sleep and pain had improved markedly. He was no longer sad about his retirement.
He returned two weeks later and again one month after that. Each time, he reported that he felt great. He no longer had any problems with alcohol abuse. He had started volunteering to help youth. He said that he felt happy. His libido had returned. Further follow up was set, but the patient later cancelled due to his busy and productive life. His fifth and last appointment was on May 2, 2014. The clinician simply offered an open door to her services in the future, if he ever needed further support. As of this date, November 18, 2014, he has not needed any further help with his problems or mood.
Alice W. Lee, MD, ABIHM