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Unlocking Mental Wellness – Exclusive Interview With Dr. Tiffany M. Smith

Welcome to this exclusive interview with Dr. Tiffany M. Smith, an integrative and functional psychiatric nurse practitioner. Dr. Smith has dedicated her life to empowering people to take control of their mental health. This interview will delve into her holistic lifestyle approach to mental wellness.

Image photo of Dr. Tiffany M. Smith

Dr. Tiffany M. Smith, Aroma Functional Nutrition Psychiatry

Background and expertise of Dr. Tiffany M. Smith

Dr. Smith, please share your background and what led you to your current role.

Absolutely! My journey began due to my husband's increasing pain, which made him almost completely bedridden. In addition, it was taking a toll on his mental health, and depression, anxiety, and PTSD appeared with sleep disturbances. Our quality of life was completely disrupted. My partner was no longer with me at the kids' events and doing other things like grocery shopping or shopping for school clothes. Our quality time was interrupted as well.

We were leaning into the healthcare care system for help, but the options did not lead to a better quality of life, and that was the goal, not just to be out of pain. So, my husband said," That's it. No more from our healthcare system." But we were left with this void of how to help him. It took a while, but we researched, prayed, and did our best until we received the answer. That is when aromatherapy became evident to us as a means to manage his pain and, thus, his other challenges. Still, there weren't any reliable sources to help us learn how to navigate using essential oils for healthcare. So, I went back to school and got a degree in aromatherapy. When I was in school, we had to do case studies, and I did them on him and found blends that worked for him and got him up and moving again. Then we leaned into lifestyle and functional medicine, where I got additional education to prevent having to go back there again. Now, he gets over 20,000 steps a day and is happily living his life to the fullest.

But I realized that my patients were on a similar journey, and I could share everything that I learned with them. Thus, we created Aroma Functional Nutrition Psychiatry. It represents the combination of modalities it took to regain our quality of life and hopes to pique interest in others to learn more about our methods.

Integrative and functional approach to mental wellness

Your approach to mental health is integrative and functional. Can you elaborate on that?

Absolutely. Integrative psychiatry is a holistic approach to mental health care that goes beyond just prescribing medication. While medications can be effective, they often only address the symptoms, not the underlying causes of mental health issues. Integrative psychiatry aims to treat the whole person, considering all aspects of their life, including physical, emotional, and even spiritual well-being.

How do you think integrative psychiatry empowers individuals?

Integrative psychiatry empowers individuals by giving them more control over their treatment. It's not just about taking a pill; it's about understanding how lifestyle, emotional well-being, and even your environment can impact your mental health. This approach allows individuals to take an active role in their own healing process, making them more invested in their mental well-being.

Can you help our audience understand what functional psychiatry is?

Functional psychiatry is an approach that aims to identify and address the root causes of mental health issues rather than just treating the symptoms. It's a patient-centered model that looks at the whole individual and considers how various factors—such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, and even gut health—can impact mental well-being.

How does functional psychiatry differ from traditional psychiatry?

Traditional psychiatry often focuses on symptom management, usually through medication. While this can be effective for some, it doesn't always get to the root of the problem. Functional psychiatry, on the other hand, employs a more investigative approach. We use advanced diagnostic tests and assessments to understand the underlying imbalances or deficiencies contributing to mental health issues. Then, we create a personalized treatment plan that can include lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and other therapies alongside medication when necessary.

Can you share how functional psychiatry empowers individuals to take control of their mental health?

Yes. Functional psychiatry is empowering because it involves the patient in the diagnostic and treatment process. We work together to understand the 'why' behind their mental health issues. This deeper understanding enables individuals to make informed choices about their treatment and lifestyle, giving them a sense of control and ownership over their mental well-being.

Do you have a success story that showcases the benefits of functional psychiatry?

Certainly, I had a client who had lifelong struggles with mental health issues. She came to me and wanted to continue her current regimen, but she was progressively worsening. She was getting ready to spend thousands of dollars for a treatment that was not guaranteed to work. I educated her on functional modalities and that we could get to the root cause of her condition. She agreed. She did some testing and found that she was dealing with mold toxicity, and her environment was tested to be extremely high in mold. This intervention found her root cause and prevented her from having more medications or spending more money trying to find the answer. Her story continues, but this was a huge transition in her mental healthcare journey.

Wow. That is amazing! I have to ask: can you share another example?

Dr. Tiffany M. Smith: Sure. So, I had a patient come to me who thought he had ADHD, depression, and anxiety. He was desperate to find answers because it affected his work and home life. He had a family history of mental health challenges. We conducted some testing, and he did not have any mental health issues. He had gut and liver issues. What is so cool about functional psychiatry is that sometimes the diagnosis is actually a symptom of something else going on. So, with functional psychiatry, a diagnosis is just the beginning of uncovering what is happening with a person.

Insights and strategies for empowering mental well-being

What actionable steps can people take to improve their mental health?

First, put yourself first. Do what is in your best interest. Yes, even before kids or your significant other. It is not selfish. If you are not at your best, everything goes by the wayside. Self-care is a non-negotiable. Second, start getting to know yourself. Track your habits, such as your thoughts through journaling, your resting heart rate, and how well you sleep. Most of us have smartwatches and phones with fitness capabilities. We can get apps to help us be accountable and learn about ourselves. Third, get rid of things that no longer serve you. As you implement your self-care, you will become clear on your goals and desires, and some things will not align with them. Be strong and let them go. If things are iffy about letting go or staying, put them on probation and observe if it serves you.

Thank you, Dr. Smith, for that. Any final thoughts, offers, and ways our audience can contact you?

Yes. First, thank you for taking the time to interview me and allowing me to share my journey and passion for taking back our mental health with your audience.

As I mentioned, self-care is a non-negotiable, and you must get to know yourself. I am offering my 21-day Love Thyself Journey private podcast. Just text SELFCARE to 702-919-4249 to begin the journey.

Follow me on Instagram @dr.tiffanymsmith and download my app, Mental Wellness: Unlocked on Apple and Android.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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