Holistic Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, MD on the Diagnosis that Made Her Stop Prescribing Medication

Holistic Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, MD on the Diagnosis that Made Her Stop Prescribing Medication


I was an entirely conventional physician
before, you know, I had my own experience bumping up against the glass ceiling of
what conventional medicine has to offer and you’ll find most renegade doctors
have sort of jumped the fence because of our own personal health
experiences you live what your patients are going through as they, you know, are just
in the realm of managing symptoms and you know indentured servants of this
system that they never feel they can get out of and until you experience that
yourself you don’t really have the motivation to question anything that
you’ve learned also because of the blood, sweat, and tears that you invest in a
medical education and training so it wasn’t until as someone specialized,
believe it or not, in prescribing to pregnant and breastfeeding women. That’s
how much I believed in the pharmaceutical model. That I was one of
the first 300 so-called reproductive psychiatrists who specialized in you
know helping to manage the one in four women of reproductive age who found
themselves either pregnant or looking to conceive and it was in that context that
I, after my own childbirth experience and postpartum window,
you know prescribing everyday to women just like me, I began to sort of have
this funny feeling that I don’t think I would want to take an antidepressant as
a pregnant woman. Well that’s an inconvenient feeling, you know, let’s tuck
that under the rug and it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s
thyroiditis which is an exceedingly common especially in women autoimmune
condition that is particularly prevalent theoretically around 10% of postpartum
women I think it’s probably far higher than is statistically documented. I was
diagnosed with that about nine months postpartum on a routine physical and of
course chalked all the symptoms that I was having a brain fog and memory issues,
flat mood, a feeling of overwhelm, hair and skin stuff. I chalked it up
to new motherhood. We love to make excuses so
we don’t have to actually address what our body is trying to tell us.
And that same sort of feeling cropped up where I said, “I don’t want to take a
prescription for the rest of my life.” That’s fine for my patients apparently
but it’s… I don’t want to do that. And so I went to a naturopath in New York and
it was with her help Nicole Egenberger that I changed my diet, I
started some supplements and I watched because I was, you know, I’m still a very
numbers, science oriented kind of a you know left brain kind of gal and I
watched my antibodies go from the high 2000s and a TSH of 20 I watched on paper
that resolution in the space of a year
I said, “Well wow.” I never learned that diet matters. In my Ivy League
education. The average medical student doesn’t have more than one hour
of nutrition education and it’s really like a window dressing it’s like, “Oh by
the way if your patients drinking like a 32-ounce Pepsi everyday
probably just tell them maybe they shouldn’t do that.” That’s
literally the extent of it. And I also didn’t learn that autoimmune conditions
chronic conditions could be put into remission through lifestyle change. And
so that, just because of my personality, my Irish Italian roots, I had
like a temper tantrum and I was like, “What?” Yeah there’s so much rage you know
about how much I’d invested and sacrificed you know to learn only part
of the story and so I went back to the books I’m very comfortable on PubMed.gov
and reading primary papers and knowing how to interpret them and that’s
what I did near obsessively for the ensuing years
that I unpacked everything I assumed to be true you know birth control is every
woman’s right, statins should be in the water, antidepressants are the kindest thing we can do for patients
and on and on and on. Antibiotics and acid blockers and everything that I just
sort of assumed didn’t have a dark side I went in and investigated it and what I
found was really shocking at worst and interesting at best and really
became the foundation for a very new way of practicing medicine.

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