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What is Integrative Psychiatry: How to Find a Practitioner Near You

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What is Integrative Psychiatry: How to Find a Practitioner Near You

If there's one thing we've come to understand about mental health, it's that there is no one-size-fits-all approach or solution. Mental health issues are intricate and multifaceted, requiring comprehensive and personalized care approaches. It's estimated that nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental health condition. Given the profound impact of these statistics, a reevaluation and expansion of our perspectives on psychiatric care is warranted.

This is where integrative psychiatry comes in. Integrative psychiatry is an emerging field that combines conventional psychiatric practices with holistic and integrative therapies, aiming to address the root causes of mental health issues and foster overall well-being.


What is Integrative Psychiatry?

Integrative psychiatry, drawing inspiration from integrative primary care, is a modern approach to mental health care that combines conventional psychiatric practices with the principles of integrative medicine. This approach takes a holistic view, addressing not just physical symptoms but also mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person's well-being. Compared to traditional psychiatric approaches, integrative psychiatry embraces longer sessions, allowing for a deeper exploration of a patient's comprehensive health history and the development of more personal, trust-based relationships between the patient and provider. This contrasts with conventional psychiatry, which tends to focus more narrowly on symptom relief.

The guiding principles of integrative psychiatry, similar to those in the collaborative care model, include patient-centered care, team-based collaboration, measurement-based treatment, evidence-based care, and provider accountability for the quality of care and clinical outcomes.

Additionally, integrative psychiatry places a strong emphasis on the mind-body connection. This connection highlights the interdependence between physical and mental health. This connection can serve as a guide to identifying the root cause of mental health disorders rather than focusing solely on alleviating symptoms. It underscores the belief that mental health cannot be separated from physical health and that comprehensive care must address both areas for optimal patient outcomes.

What are the Common Specialty Lab Tests Used By Integrative Psychiatrists?

Several lab tests can be incorporated into an integrative psychiatrist’s plan of care. Frequent tests ordered include:

Hormone Testing

Hormones can greatly affect our mood and mental health. Hormone testing, like the DUTCH Complete by Precision Analytical, can reveal imbalances that may be contributing to conditions like depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Micronutrient Testing

Micronutrient testing, like the Micronutrient test offered by SpectraCell Laboratories, can identify nutritional deficiencies that could be affecting mental health. Deficiencies in vitamins like B12, for example, can contribute to feelings of fatigue, depression, and poor concentration.

Stool Testing

Stool testing, like the GI-MAP test by Diagnostic Solutions, allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the gut microbiome, a major player in the body's overall health, including mental health. Imbalances in gut bacteria can influence mood and cognition, potentially contributing to issues like anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

Heavy Metal Testing

High levels of these metals have been linked to various mental health issues, including cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety. Early detection through testing allows for targeted treatment to reduce the heavy metal burden and its potential impact on mental health.

Complementary and Integrative Therapies Used By Integrative Psychiatrists

Complementary and integrative therapies used in integrative psychiatry encompass a broad spectrum of modalities designed to address not just symptoms but the root causes of mental health conditions. Here's an overview of some key treatment methods:


This traditional form of therapy is often a cornerstone of an integrative approach. It can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and other types of counseling. The purpose of psychotherapy is to provide a non-judgmental and safe space for individuals to explore and understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as develop effective coping strategies.


In the realm of integrative psychiatry, it's understood that what we eat significantly impacts our mental health. Nutritional psychiatry focuses on using diet and nutritional supplementation to support brain health. This might include recommendations for a balanced, nutrient-dense diet or specific foods known to support mood and cognitive function. It's worth noting that certain foods and nutrients can influence levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are integral to mood regulation. In addition, nutrient-rich diets have been linked to improved mental health by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.


Certain dietary supplements might be recommended based on individual needs. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium, or probiotics can support brain health and address deficiencies that could contribute to mental health issues.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle is a big part of integrative psychiatry. It includes aspects like sleep, physical activity, stress management, and social connections. Psychiatrists in this field understand the vital role these elements play in mental health and will provide personalized recommendations and support. Along with these lifestyle factors, managing exposure to heavy metal toxins, which can be harmful to mental health, is also important and can be addressed by specific dietary and lifestyle changes.

Complementary Therapies

These can include a range of therapies, such as acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, biofeedback, and more. The idea is to use these tools to supplement health, reduce stress, and support the body's innate healing abilities. Additionally, addressing hormonal imbalances that may affect mental health can also be a key aspect of treatment, as therapies like yoga and meditation can also support hormonal balance.

How to Find an Integrative Psychiatrist Near You

Finding an integrative psychiatrist near you might sound challenging, but there are actually several ways to go about it. As a first step, you can conduct a simple Google search. Many integrative psychiatrists ensure they're easily found online, so by entering "Integrative Psychiatrist" and your location into a search engine, a list of relevant professionals should readily appear. In addition to online searches, you can explore some directories that focus on integrative and functional medicine. Remember, these directories might only list psychiatrists who have paid for memberships, so some psychiatrists with integrative practices might not be listed there.

However, these directories can serve as excellent starting points. Here are a few you can look into:

  1. Integrative Medicine for Mental Health (IMMH)
  2. American Psychiatric Association: Find a Psychiatrist
  3. Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)

Another important step is to reflect on your own needs and preferences. What type of approach or therapies are you open to? Do you prefer a certain gender for your psychiatrist? These factors can help you narrow down your options.

Don't forget the power of a referral. Primary care physicians, mental health professionals, or trusted friends and family who've had positive experiences can be invaluable sources of recommendations.

Finally, it's important to consider practical aspects such as insurance coverage and financial considerations. Some psychiatrists may be out of network, and some treatments or therapies might not be covered by insurance. Understanding your coverage and budget can help guide your search.

Questions to Ask a Potential Integrative Psychiatrist

Finding the right integrative psychiatrist for your needs may require a bit of homework. After all, you're not only looking for a professional to guide your mental health journey, but also someone who resonates with your values, needs, and health objectives. As part of this search, it's important to ask insightful questions that allow you to assess whether a potential psychiatrist will be a good fit for you. Here are six questions that can help you delve deeper into their practice:

  1. "Can you elaborate on the types of treatment modalities and techniques you employ in your practice?"
  2. "How do you approach medication management in the context of integrative psychiatry?"
  3. "What is the expected duration and frequency of treatment in your approach?"
  4. "Do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals? If so, how does this collaboration work in your practice?"
  5. "How do you incorporate the principles of mind-body connection into your treatment plans?"
  6. "What is your experience in dealing with my specific mental health concerns?"

Remember, your health journey is personal, and it's important to find a provider who supports and aligns with your unique needs. These questions should serve as a guide, aiding you in making an informed decision about your mental health care.


Integrative psychiatry signifies a comprehensive and patient-centric methodology in mental health treatment. This approach takes into account the multi-dimensional aspects of an individual's health, encompassing physical, psychological, emotional, and environmental factors. The primary objective of integrative psychiatrists is not merely symptomatic relief but also the promotion of resilience and the enhancement of overall health. Considering the staggering rates of mental health issues, the need for this detailed and nuanced approach in psychiatric care is becoming increasingly essential.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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