What I am about to say may seem shocking to some but obvious to the many who have suffered greatly at the hands of chemical substances. We are all aware of the harmful chemicals that we are exposed to everyday from the toxins in the air to the toxins in our drinking water. But have you ever wondered if toxins can cause mental and emotional issues?
As a clinical psychologist, I have spent decades of my life in research study, and I am here to tell you that you cannot separate the mind from the body. It is impossible! I personally believe that we are 3 part beings- spirit, mind and body and what affects one affects the others.
Furthermore, I will say that I entered into the field of psychology because I was on a quest for my own personal healing and at one point in my life, I thought I could help save the world through the use of medication. What a grandiose belief! Thank goodness, I no longer hold that view.
I have experienced over 20 years of my life heavily reliant on prescription drugs (antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications) primarily used to cope with the psychological symptoms that I was having. I remember first experiencing these symptoms at a very young age beginning sometime around the sixth grade.
The panic attacks and phobias began during my high school years, along with the broken relationships and extreme social anxiety that I experienced. I would have described myself as an extremely timid young girl whose doctor might have labeled “neurotic and sickly.”
Even though it would take a book to detail all my experiences growing up, I will, in short, describe the major lessons that I learned in the process.
I learned that experience trumps education and the more that you tell your story, the greater the validation by those people that have suffered as you have suffered.
Don’t misunderstand me, I do not underestimate the value of a good education but sometimes what you learned along the way may not be totally accurate. This is where one must be open minded and teachable.
I have always had a curious mind and that is what led me to some of the things that I discovered.
Back to the mercury and mental health disorder connection. I will say that many years of study taught me the importance of assessment and most of us would agree that science matters!
Recently in my research, I came across something that totally began to change the way that I viewed mental health. Through my experience, I had discovered that belief systems were extremely powerful and would affect how we felt and behaved. Furthermore, I knew that there was a direct connection between mental illness and nutritional deficiency. Nevertheless, what I overlooked was the strong connection between mental illness and heavy metal toxicity, particularly mercury.
In my healing journey, I discovered something that I had never heard throughout my years of education. It was regarding an occupational syndrome called the “Mad Hatter’s Disease.” You may have heard the term because of the character in Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, I have never seen the movie so I cannot attest to his behavioral characteristics.
As I delve into the study of this disease, I discovered that it was a condition developed by hat makers, in France during the early 1800’s, brought on by their continuous exposure to mercury.
According to the following video, Mad Hatters Disease, you can see how the exposure to mercury was shown to cause a variety of emotional and neurological symptoms.
With my knowledge of mental health disorders, in addition to my own personal experience, I can clearly see the link between mercury toxicity in the following categories of “mental disorders.”
Anxiety Disorders (Panic disorder, Social Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Phobias, etc.)
Mood Disorders (Depression, etc.)
Bipolar Disorder (formerly called Manic Depression)
Schizophrenia (Paranoid, etc.)
Eating Disorders (Anorexia and Bulimia)
Somatoform Disorders (Hypochondriasis, etc.)
Personality Disorders (Borderline personality, Antisocial personality, Avoidant personality, Dependent personality, etc.)
This list shows some of the more common mental disorders that could be directly linked to mercury toxicity. This obviously does not include all of the neurological disorders that are believed to be linked to mercury toxicity as well.
Over the years, there seems to be mounting evidence between autism and mercury vaccines although as we all know, it is highly controversial. On the other hand, there are many people, because of their own personal experience, will never be persuaded that vaccines do not harm our health.
I am not writing this blog to alarm people, I am only writing it because I am passionate about mental health and I want to empower people to take charge of their own health. Once we become aware of truth, I believe that it is our personal responsibility to educate others. Knowledge is power and has the ability to save lives.
Although I received a master’s degree in clinical psychology, I soon discovered that my real passion was to teach, both at the high school and college level. My 15 years of teaching experience taught me that there were many factors influential to learning and knowing what I know now, I often wonder about the effect heavy metal toxicity had upon some of my past students. Today, I question, what impact could mercury have on a student’s ability to actively listen, concentrate, comprehend and behave properly?
I personally witnessed many students who struggled with attention deficit disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, addictions, etc. to the point that they could no longer remain in school. Because we don’t know any better, we quickly assume that the student’s behavioral issues are the result of poor parenting and not biologically based.
Learning is key and if mercury toxicity interferes with a student’s ability to process thought rationally, then we now have a whole new issue to address.
In my strong opinion, the health issues that most people deal with today, with the exception of faulty thinking, are based primarily upon 2 sources, nutritional deficiency and chemical toxicity. If you have not seen the documentary “The Beautiful Truth,” check it out on Youtube. It is an eye opening video! The good news about our health, both physically and emotionally, is that we can reverse many ailments simply by eating healthier, correcting deficiencies with nutritional supplementation and detoxification.
The effects of mercury on health clearly depend upon several factors including individual sensitivity, length of exposure, sources of contact (inhalation, ingestion, and dermal). Although there are many sources of mercury exposure in the environment, I believe that the most harmful effects come from what society personally can control. Those primary sources are the following:
Dental Amalgam Fillings (aka silver tooth fillings)
Seafood, particularly shellfish and large fish (tuna, swordfish, shark, etc.)
There have been a series of small clinical studies performed and several books written to support the link between mercury and illness. Because of my passion to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, I advocate that more clinical studies be done to put the controversy to rest.
From an environmental perspective, you may wonder if I believe that mental illness is primarily the result of heavy metal poisoning? I will only say this, the influence of toxic chemicals (mercury, lead, pesticides, prescription drugs, OTC drugs, food additives, etc.) certainly have a great impact upon the way we heal, both emotionally and physically. The body is designed to heal itself with a healthy immune system. Unfortunately, toxins in the body compromise the immune system.
Once our ability to naturally process thought is adversely affected, every part of our lives (emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and spiritually) can be negatively impacted.
In conclusion, I will leave you with this thought. It is one thing, as an adult, to make decisions regarding our own personal health but it is quite another when those decisions affect the lives of children. Let us all advocate for a brighter future!
For more information about the effects of mercury, check out the World Mercury Project and the advocacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.