Dr. Tiffany M. Smith is an integrative and functional psychiatric nurse practitioner, but she did not start practicing this way until she was challenged with improving her husband’s health without the use of Western medicine practices. Her husband, a combat veteran, suffered from debilitating pain, PTSD, chronic depression and anxiety, and insomnia/hypersomnia. Bed-bound, he felt little relief from traditional treatment methods, like pain pills and steroids. Her husband refused any further treatment from Western medicine and was faced with how to improve their quality of life without the medicinal approach they were taught. Helping him improve his conditions inspired her to start her psychiatric practice Aroma Functional Nutrition Psychiatry.
While helping him heal, she saw the benefits firsthand of functional medicine and nutrition in treating a wealth of conditions and added it to her practice. Her practice focuses on helping her patients improve holistically and become more mindful of how their lifestyles affect their conditions. “How you live your life is going to either move you toward or away from health,” says Dr. Smith. “70 to 80% of your health and wellbeing is based on how you live.”
She believes overprescription of drugs and a lack of education on healthy lifestyles are a barrier to wellness. “The thing with our healthcare system is they’re only trained in acute situations, but we’re dealing with lifestyle and chronic conditions.” She believes that if people choose the healthier lifestyle habits that work for them it will result in better physical and mental well-being instances; when they can’t, she’s there to identify the root cause and work with her client to create a holistic customized treatment plan.
While she prescribes medication when appropriate, medication isn’t the first part of her treatment plan. “If you come to me and you say, ‘I’m sad,’ I’m not going to say, well, here’s an anti-sad medication like Zoloft,” said Dr. Smith. “We put a lifestyle plan into place that will include sleep, nutrition, movement, relationships in addition to possibly needing counseling or coaching; then using supplements and botanical medicines depending on the severity.
Helping her patients improve their condition, without unnecessary medication, is her biggest reward. “I am ecstatic when we don’t have to go in and change your body with a medication to make you better, that you were able to harness the power of your body naturally to help you heal and get through,” she said. Her goal is always to help her clients create a lifetime of skills and habits that lead to better health and for her patients to know how their bodies respond to certain things. “The message isn’t getting out, that if you change your lifestyle, you could reverse diabetes. You can significantly impact fibromyalgia and lupus, and many chronic conditions which also affect mental health,” she said.
Dr. Smith has created a Mental Health Resuscitation program that involves sessions with her, access to her community (Free2BU Nation), and her Mental Wellness Unlocked course. She believes that this is the trifecta to better mental health and well-being and the catalyst to recovery from mental illness and living the full and unique life people are destined to have. The community and course are available to everyone regardless of whether she is licensed in your state.
Dr. Smith currently holds a monthly webinar for BIPOC women. She is also trained in perinatal mental health care. Next year, she will be holding an event called “Climb Out The Darkness” that brings awareness to mental health among new families. In the future, Dr. Smith wants to grow her practice with providers across the country. She also plans to start a podcast called “It’s More Than Just A Pill” where listeners can hear from complementary and alternative practitioners of other modalities like yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy. As for her ultimate aspirations, she wants to be global. “I want to help people live better lives and understand that how you live your life affects your health and wellbeing; then move that needle across the world.”