Limbic Medical

Why Functional Medicine May Be the Best Approach to Depression Treatment


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People struggling with depression have an overwhelming number of treatment options, from medication to therapy to lifestyle changes and more. Each treatment is typically managed by a separate health care provider, with little or no coordination between efforts.

Functional medicine for depression offers patients an alternative to the typical symptom-focused approach. Functional medicine emphasizes lasting results and personalized care based on each individual’s unique health background, genetic makeup, and lifestyle.

Issues with Conventional Depression Treatment

Traditional approaches to treating depression often include antidepressants and psychotherapy. While these methods can be effective for some, they frequently fall short for others. One of the main issues with conventional treatments is that they typically address the symptoms of depression without tackling the underlying causes. Antidepressants, for example, target the brain’s neurotransmitters, yet they do not address the multifaceted root causes of depression, which can be as varied as the individuals experiencing the condition. This can lead to a cycle of temporary relief followed by relapses, frustrating patients and leading to a sense of hopelessness.

How Functional Medicine Approaches Depression

Functional medicine for depression1 is a patient-centered approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of depression rather than just managing its symptoms. It considers the patient’s history, physiology, genetics, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term mental health disorders. In the context of depression specifically, functional medicine seeks to uncover the underlying causes, which can range from nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances to environmental exposures and genetic predispositions.

Functional Medicine Treatment for Depression

Functional medicine emphasizes a comprehensive approach to treating illness, including depression, at its root cause. Functional medicine considers multiple body systems and their interactions as an integral step to helping patients heal from depression. Functional medicine offers patients several advantages, such as:

Thorough Evaluations:

Using a functional medicine approach, providers can conduct in-depth assessments to identify various contributing factors to depression, such as:

Nutritional deficiencies2:Lack of certain vitamins and minerals can affect mood and brain function.

Hormonal imbalances: Thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, or sex hormone imbalances can contribute to depressive symptoms.

Inflammation: Chronic inflammation has been linked to depression.

Gut health: The gut-brain axis plays a crucial role in mental health.

Genetic factors: Understanding genetic predispositions can help tailor treatment.

Environmental factors: Exposure to toxins or chronic stress can trigger depression.

Personalized Treatment Plans:

Based on the findings from an evaluation, providers can then develop customized treatment plans that may include:

Dietary changes: Adopting a diet that supports brain health and reduces inflammation can significantly impact mental well-being. Guidance on nutrition is personalized to address individual deficiencies and health goals.

Supplementation: Targeted supplements can address specific nutritional deficiencies, supporting overall brain health and function, and directly influencing mood and cognitive processes.

Lifestyle adjustments: Incorporating regular exercise, ensuring adequate sleep, and implementing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga can significantly affect mental health.

Detoxification programs: Identifying and reducing exposure to toxins, coupled with programs designed to clear the body of accumulated harmful substances, can improve mental clarity and emotional balance.

Comprehensive Care:

A functional medicine approach is holistic, addressing not only the physical aspects of depression but also the psychological, social, and environmental factors affecting a patient’s mental health. This comprehensive care model ensures that all elements contributing to a patient’s depression are considered and addressed, leading to a more effective and sustainable recovery.

Ketamine As A Functional Medicine Depression Therapy

Functional medicine is aided by innovative treatments like ketamine therapy, whose functional mechanism also addresses issues with multiple body systems. Ketamine is renowned for its fast-acting relief of depression symptoms. Ketamine’s efficacy is due, in part, to its ability to impact different areas of the brain and body responsible for mood and emotions, and to induce multiple positive changes simultaneously. Even cases resistant to traditional treatments are improved through ketamine therapy..

Ketamine therapy at Limbic Medical integrates ketamine administration with other medical treatments to address the full scope of individual needs and the root causes of depression. Our approach is highly successful and provides significant patient benefits:

Addressing Multiple Systems:

Ketamine works on various neurotransmitter systems and can address multiple underlying issues simultaneously when combined with functional medicine.

Rapid Symptom Relief:

Ketamine provides fast-acting relief from depression symptoms, a crucial benefit for those with treatment-resistant depression. This quick response can be a significant turning point in a patient’s recovery journey.

High Success Rate:

Ketamine has shown a success rate of over 60%3 in patients who have not benefited from conventional treatments, offering hope and relief to those suffering from debilitating depression.

Continuity of Care:

Functional medicine provides ongoing support and personalized care, allowing for adjustments based on the patient’s evolving needs. This continuity ensures that the benefits of ketamine are maximized over time, allowing for sustained mental health improvements.

By addressing the root causes of depression and providing ongoing support and adjustments, functional medicine and ketamine therapy work together to promote long-term improvements in mental health and overall wellness​​.

Limbic Medical – Ketamine Therapy in Los Angeles

At Limbic Medical, we’re proud to be at the forefront of integrating functional medicine with ketamine therapy to provide long-term, successful depression treatment. Our clinic incorporates ketamine into a broader functional medicine framework that addresses multiple body systems. Under the guidance of Dr. Atoian, a specialist with extensive experience in anesthesiology, pain management, addiction medicine, and mood disorders, we offer a personalized and innovative approach to depression treatment.

By choosing Limbic Medical, patients can expect a comprehensive, compassionate, and tailored approach to their mental health. Our methods go beyond temporary fixes, aiming instead for long-term wellness and recovery. We are dedicated to helping our patients rediscover a life free from depressive symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about how functional medicine can benefit you!


1. “Adjunct Therapies for Depression: More Treatment Options.” The Institute for Functional Medicine

2. “Dietary Nutrient Deficiencies and Risk of Depression (Review Article 2018–2023).” NCBI

3. “Antidepressant Efficacy and Tolerability of Ketamine and Esketamine: A Critical Review.” PubMed