Posts by Dr. Robert Hedaya

Precision Medicine applied to Psychiatry

Samantha, a 14-year old girl, was brought to my office by her mother. When I first saw her, she was withdrawn, barely made eye contact, and had her headphones in even as she was answering my questions. She was depressed, had been diagnosed with ADD, and an anxiety disorder, but her mother did not want to put her on medication, so she sought my help. Importantly, Samantha was having episodes of crying, rage and extreme irritability seemingly randomly, and they could occur anywhere and anytime. Feeling terrible remorse, and extreme embarrassment, her self-esteem, and social life suffered greatly. A careful
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Categories: Case Studies and Health Matters Blog.

Toxic Dormitories & Mold

While a college education is a necessary educational step for most people, colleges and universities are under increasing scrutiny due to their high cost and poor performance on a variety of measures. One area not discussed, but of fundamental importance is the dormitory itself. As a psychiatrist and functional medicine physician, I have seen many college students who are underperforming academically, and depressed or anxious. The underlying causes range from social pressures and isolation to drug and alcohol use and poor food. One cause, which has not been discussed, is toxic mold in dormitories. Janet was a 19-year old athletic
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Categories: Health Matters Blog and Mold.

Dr. Robert Hedaya Explains How to Use Genetic Testing Medically

At The Whole Psychiatry & Brain Recovery Center, genetic testing is used as part of an entire whole person workup. Genetic test results are assessed vis a vis personal history, physical exam and other lab data. This provides the most personalized form of Personalized Medicine. Patients come from across the country to avail themselves of Dr. Hedaya’s leading edge approach to brain health. Dr. Hedaya’s mantra: “Yes, you can have a better brain.”
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Whole Psychiatry: Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Dr. Robert Hedaya’s concept of Whole Psychiatry looks at both traditional psychiatry and functional medicine to get a complete view of a patient’s psychological and physical health. This armchair discussion with Dr. Hedaya and Rabbi Shais Taub, a leading authority on Jewish mysticism, will compare and contrast the medical and mystical viewpoints. These vital insights will shed light on the relationship between the body and mind and how to bring healing to both.
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Categories: Health Matters Blog, Interviews with Dr. Hedaya, and Miscellaneous.

Do Antidepressants Really Work?

Antidepressants have a role in clinical practice but they are grossly over-utilized.  As a certified psychopharmacologist, practitioner of The Center for Whole Psychiatry + Brain Recovery (Functional Medicine and traditional psychiatry) and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown School of Medicine, I prescribe antidepressants, but  only after a thorough multi-faceted  evaluation of the patient. We rely on drugs as a solution rather than deal with root causes of illness, and the pills generally are not as effective as we would be led to believe by the pharmaceutical companies (publically acknowledged as distorted in peer reviewed journals such as New England Journal of
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency and its detection have been in the news lately from the New York Times and The Dr. Oz Show. B12 Deficiency Effects Widespread The effects of vitamin B12 deficiency are widespread.  Vitamin B12 has a major influence on the function of neurons and also on the ability of the bone marrow to make red blood cells. B12 Causes Psychiatric Symptoms B12 deficiency can cause almost any psychiatric symptom—from anxiety, and panic to depression and hallucinations.  This is because B12 deficiencies trigger symptoms in the nervous system and red blood cells. Diagnosing B12 Deficiency While it is not
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) is No Laughing Matter

I was wandering around the internet last night, looking for scholarly articles on something called ‘methylation pathways’, when I came across a very disturbing article on the potentially quite toxic interaction between nitrous oxide (NO2) and certain states of B12 deficiency. Before getting into the nitty gritty, bottom line, let me give you some background. Nitrous Oxide (NO2)-commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas’ was used for years in the practice of dentistry.  It is used currently as part of general anesthesia, and recently has been gaining popularity as a ‘recreational drug’.  An article in Popular Science in the late 1940’s
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Light Therapy & Health

Your Biologic Clock Your Biologic Clock keeps our body rhythms and sleep –wake cycles in synch with the light-day cycle of the earth. It is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hormone control center of the brain, the hypothalamus.  When light enters the eye, it activates this part of the brain and reduces production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) produced in the pineal gland of the brain.  The light also acts to the release of a variety of other hormones and affects body temperature. Interestingly, we are programmed to cycle every 24.2 hours―but our exposure to light on
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Can a Brain Be on Fire?

Yes! Over the last 20 years, ample evidence has accumulated to prove that inflammation in the body causes changes in the brain that lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and memory problems. Inflammation comes from the Latin  ‘inflammare’ — to set on fire.  Our brain is ‘on fire’ when it is inflamed, or when our body is inflamed. What sets your brain on fire? Your body experiences inflammation the way your skin reacts to a cut:  The area becomes swollen, warmer, and it may hurt.  (This happens because there is increased blood flow, increased immune activity, and a change in
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Highest Rates of Bipolar Disorder in the United States: Why?

According to a new study discussed on Health.com about 2.4% of people around the world have had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the first comprehensive international figures on the topic. The United States has the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder at 4.4%, and India the lowest, with 0.1%”. Bipolar disorder has a strong genetic component. Depending on which studies you look at, the genetics account for anywhere from 40-60% of the vulnerability. While that seems like a high number it also means 40-60% of the risk of developing the disorder  despite having the same
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.