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Natural Awakenings Tucson

The Role of Toxic Mold in Triggering Psychiatric Symptoms

Integrative psychiatrists often attract patients that aren’t receiving help by traditional meds. They go to their doctors and are prescribed Zoloft or Prozac or Xanax, but it doesn’t help and often makes them feel worse, so they seek out someone that is willing to work with different methods.

Although people complain of depression and anxiety, fatigue and muscle and joint pain are the strongest complaints, but are usually ignored by busy traditional family practitioners because they lump them all together under the heading of depression or pre-dementia.

Dr. Richard Shoemaker’s book, Mold Warriors, provides a list of symptoms that includes ice pick pains, brain fog, excessive urination and stomach pains among others. These multiple complaints are difficult to sort out, but proper treatment can provide dramatic relief. Shoemaker’s work on biotoxin illness is not included in current medical school curriculum, but neuroinflammation, caused by a variety of mechanisms including biotoxins, is widely documented in the psychiatric literature as a cause of depression, anxiety and even suicide. However, because there is not a simple “neuroinflammatory pill”, most clinicians only treat psychiatric illness with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines instead of looking deeper into causes.

A high percentage of integrative psychiatric patients have some degree of biotoxin illness. They have haplotypes, which means they are susceptible to becoming ill after mold exposure and/or elevated cytokine (small proteins in the bloodstream) levels. Shoemaker states that about 25 percentage of the population is susceptible to biotoxin-associated illness. When we add up all those diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, it also adds up to about 25 percent of the population.

Research has been published on inflammation and depression from Denmark, which is considered a homogeneous population. They had access to records of 3 million people, and found that if someone had a diagnosis of either autoimmune disease, which would include things like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome, it increased risk of being diagnosed with a mood disorder like depression by 45 percent. For those hospitalized for some sort of infectious illness, the risk of having mood disorders increased by 62 percent. With a combination of both, the risk of subsequently being diagnosed with a mood illness is effectively doubled.

Mary Ackerley M.D. M.D. (H), is a board-certified physical, homeopathic physician and has recently been certified by Shoemaker as a diplomate of the Shoemaker Protocol for Biotoxin Illness. Contact her at 520-299-5694, [email protected] or To learn more, visit

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