Richard G. Petty, MD

Systemic Psychiatry

“Once a disease has entered the body, all parts which are healthy must fight it: not one alone, but all. Because a disease might mean their common death. Nature knows this; and Nature attacks the disease with whatever help she can muster.”
–Paracelsus (a.k.a. Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, Swiss Physician and Alchemist, 1493-1541)

It is usually a mistake to try and look at an illness in isolation.

We are all human beings, and physical challenges affect the whole organism, as well as our mind, our relationships and our spiritual connections.

There is currently a very hot area of research that is still unknown to most people: even to most people working in psychology and psychiatry. This hot new area proposes that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and autistic spectrum disorders, are disturbances affecting the whole body, but with prominent effects in the brain and on emotion and behavior. This may help provide one part of the explanation for why people struggling with chronic mental illness – and their relatives – suffer from an array of physical illnesses that cannot be explained by stress or poor lifestyle choices alone.

You can find a brief review with a stack of references here.

This idea of psychiatric problems being generalized systemic disturbances that have their primary effects on the brain and on behavior is important to the general themes of this blog. We are always interested in looking beyond the obvious causes, to a dynamic integrated vision of a person that includes every part and every dimension of his or her being. If we want to help people recover from illness, to triumph over adversity, and to use challenges as springboards to transcend themselves and the limits placed upon them, it is only possible if we take account of the whole person.

Perhaps we can reduce mental illnesses to disturbances in cell membranes or a few chemicals in the brain. But I do not think so. It is more accurate for us to be thinking about a perturbation or disturbance in the Informational Matrix that underlies the subtle systems of the body, that in turn support the biochemical reactions that provide the structure for the external expression of life itself.

We live in very interesting times.

“Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees.”

–Willard J. Marriott (American Businessman and Founder of Marriott Hotels, 1900-1985)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


2 Responses to “Systemic Psychiatry”
  1. Daniel Haszard says:

    My issue is Zyprexa which is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
    So how does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

    Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to ‘encourage’ doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved ‘off label’ uses.

    The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.

    Daniel Haszard

  2. Richard Petty says:

    IF pharmaceutical representatives were promoting “off label” that would obviously be wrong. I don’t know of any examples where the company – as opposed to over zealous individuals – were doing so. I think that is what all the investigations are about.

    Doctors constantly have to use medicines “off label.” They cannot say that, “There is published data that drug X will help, but since it isn’t apporved for that indication I am going to withhold tretament.” Every single treatment decision should involve a careful risk/benefit evaluation.

    The balance of evidence does now seem to indicate a slight increase in diabetes risk with several psychotropic medicines, though there is more research on the topic coming. And secondly, it is essential to confirm whether some of these psychotropics are diseases modifying agents. If indeed they are, as some evidence suggests, then that would probably out-weigh a presumptive metabolic effect.

    Kind regards,


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