Skip to main content

The Path from Illness to Wellness by Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC and Will Van Derveer, MD

WHO has predicted that depression is going to be world’s largest global burden of disease by 2030.  This shows progressive decline in the mental health of humans in this planet. Statistically 1 out of 5 adults are suffering from a significant form of mental illness in their life. About 19% of the population in the United States are experiencing some type of anxiety disorders.

Strides have been made by pharmaceutical companies over the decades with medications although in the last few years new type of medication have been waned which is now an issue.

The mind can affect the body and the body can affect the mind. Gut health’s role is vital in being well in terms of mental health. Usually it is where the inflammation begins outside of the brain. It is the most-likely culprit for prolonged inflammation next to HPA axis. Any discomfort felt within the Gastrointestinal tract serves as a clue for gut-problems which is usually caused by unhealthy and processed foods.


The World Health Organization now has predicted that by 2030, it’s going to be the world’s largest global burden of disease, depression itself. And the anxiety and depression organization America is saying from their research, is that roughly 19% of the United States experience anxiety disorders.

Pharmaceutical companies, have made some strides over the decades with medications that we’ve seen. But now we’re also seeing in the last 20 years, that new medication development is really waint. So there’s an issue there. And really, providers in conventional psychiatry typically are medicating to reduce symptoms and are rarely addressing root causes of the disorder. Obviously, we’re addressing neurotransmitter imbalances and things like these pathways. But are we getting to the bottom of why did that happen? And is there more we could addressing?

From an integrative psychiatry perspective, the mind is the operating system and the body is the hardware. And it’s a two-way street. The operating system can actually affect the hardware of the body, the mind can affect the body and the body can affect the mind. So, it’s a two-way street. A pretty core tenant here from the perspective of the body is that inflammation and gut health are very significant factors in being well, in terms of mental health.

In the gut is where the inflammation typically begins. What we teach it IPI is that there are generally speaking two very major sources of prolonged inflammation outside of the brain. The first one is the gut. The gut is most likely culprit for prolonged inflammation. The second part of inflammation the second, most likely or in other, most very likely cause is the HPA axis. In other words, childhood mistreatment, and in terms of the clues in history, any GI complaint, you know, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, etc. stomach hurting after particular kinds of food, the standard American diet is really, I think, a sign of a gut problem, especially people who are eating a lot of processed foods from the middle part of the grocery store.

The huge lever that we have in terms of dietary recommendations and working with people to heal the gut. The gut has so many opportunities for us to heal. When you’re making dietary changes go slow, celebrate the small victories. When the person is now ordering an unsweetened iced tea instead of soda, at Sonic every day, that’s a huge win.