BRADENTON, Fla. — A local woman struggling with mental health issues and severe neurological symptoms, went to over 20 doctors and never found relief.
But then, she visited an alternative psychiatrist, who used a holistic approach to properly diagnose her.
"I had already lost so much. I had to closed my practice of 22 years. I'm an acupuncture physician. I was home all the time. I could barely leave the house,'' explained Adrienne Sundberg, who's life collapsed three years ago.
She began to experience serious health issues with frightening neurological symptoms and her mental health rapidly deteriorating.
"The intense anxiety. I would have what are called adrenaline surges, up to 48 times a day, which basically feels like a panic attack. But you're not having a panic attack. Your body's having it without you basically, that's how I used to describe it. I would have terrible twitching. My whole body would twitch. I would have Bell's Palsy like symptoms or my jaw would drag down. I would not be able to speak," she said.
She went to 20 different doctors but no one could diagnose her. "Many of them just shook their head at me, and told me to go to Mayo, or perhaps some suggested that I needed to be institutionalized," she said.
Then she found a holistic practice run by Alternative Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Sylvester.
"He vowed to stand by my side. And he said he would find out what was wrong with me, no matter what it took. And he did," she said.
"So psychiatrists help between 30% to 40% of patients that come into their office, which I don't know where you went to school, but that's an F at every school that I went to," said Dr. Sylvester.
Dr. Sylvester says the traditional approach in psychiatry has been largely pharmaceutically driven and largely unsuccessful.
"And then you wonder why? Why are we missing 70%? Basically, it comes down to a simple answer because we're not ever asking the question why? What is the origin of this illness? Or this dysfunction?" Sylvester asks.
And despite Sundberg suffering with panic attacks and anxiety, Sylvester knew he had to think out of the box because of all the other conditions she suffered with.
"If we don't look at what's going on in the body, a lot of times, we're going to miss the mark in healing the mind," he explained.
"He took a hair sample and checked me for heavy metal toxicity. And he found that not only did I have mercury and a lot of other heavy metals on board, I had severe lead poisoning. I mean, off the charts amount of lead in my body," Sundberg said.
That diagnosis was followed with an extensive holistic treatment plan by Sylvester and his entire team including addressing functional nutrition, exercise, IV therapy and more.
After months of treatment, Sundberg was finally able to go back to work, travel again and feels forever grateful.
"I meditate. I journal. I practice gratitude. And I just thank God and Dr. Sylvester every day that I made it through and I'm still here," she said.
Sylvester also says before the pandemic, he'd see one new patient a week. Now, he sees about 20 new patients per week.
And he feels the need for functional psychiatry will continue to increase for the next decade due to the mental health challenges from the last two years of the pandemic.
For more information on Sylvester's practice, click here.