Licensed to work with clients throughout the state of Illinois – Virtual telehealth appointments available

FAQ

Weight Management FAQ

It usually takes two to three months to begin to see weight loss results.

Labs are necessary to establish a baseline and rule out any conditions or deficiencies that may hinder weight loss.

This schedule is recommended so that medication doses can be increased or decreased as needed based on tolerance, side effects, and rate of weight loss.

Within two to three months, results depend on following guidelines and are not guaranteed.

Weight loss will vary from person to person depending on which, if any, medications are used and how healthy and physically active you are. Oral medications, for example, can cause weight loss of 3-10% of body weight and injectable medications can cause weight loss of 5-25% of body weight with diet and exercise.

It is possible to maintain the weight loss; however, it is likely that if healthy lifestyle habits are abandoned, the weight will return. Synergy prioritizes a holistic approach to weight loss and offers nutritional support and health coaching to address any barriers to change and increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Yes, the medications are obtained from licensed compounding pharmacies which are required to follow rules and regulations.

While it’s possible to lose a few pounds with just the medication alone, reaching and maintaining your weight goal requires regular physical activity and healthy eating habits.

Labs done within the past three months do not need to be repeated. We request that you have your labs forwarded to us for review and we will order any labs that were not done or are outside the 3-month window.

We offer several different options, including supplements, oral medications such as bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), Bella, Orlistat (Xenical), and phentermine, and injectable GLP-1 agonist medications such as semaglutide (Ozempic) and liraglutide (Saxenda). Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is also offered.

Certain individuals should not take semaglutide or tirzepatide such as individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or a history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). They should be used in caution with individuals who have a history of pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, or diabetic retinopathy.

Most individuals do not experience significant adverse reactions. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal and include decreased appetite, nausea, and diarrhea. Vomiting, belching, acid reflux, and constipation can also occur.

Nutritional Counseling & Health Coaching FAQ

A holistic health coach is a wellness professional who works with individuals to help them achieve optimal health and well-being by taking a comprehensive and holistic approach. Their focus often includes areas such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep, and emotional well-being, to promote balance and vitality in all aspects of a person’s life.

While there can be some overlap in addressing aspects of well-being, the key difference is that holistic health coaches concentrate on general wellness and lifestyle choices, whereas therapists are trained to diagnose and treat mental and emotional health issues.

Holistic health coaching encompasses a well-rounded approach to overall well-being. While it includes diet and exercise, it goes beyond to address the interconnected aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

You can expect a personalized experience focusing on improving your overall well-being. A session typically includes goal setting, tailored guidance on lifestyle, support for making positive changes, education on various health aspects, and a holistic approach that considers the interconnected nature of physical, mental, and emotional health. You can also anticipate emotional support and accountability from your coach.

A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), also known as a registered dietitian (RD), is a credentialed healthcare professional who applies evidence-based information about nutrition and diet to contribute to the health and wellness of individuals, groups, and communities.

All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians. The difference between these two professions is the type of training each receives and their scope of practice.

In addition to the RD training, a registered dietitian who holds the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner (IFNCP) credential has completed five tracks (over 24 months) of functional and integrative nutrition training on a wide array of topics (including gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity and weight management, metabolic detoxification, and more), passed the IFNCP exam, and kept up with ongoing education to maintain the certification.

Due to their education and licensure, it is within a registered dietitian’s scope of practice to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy for specific health conditions and chronic illnesses. With these combined certifications, an RD with a functional background will not only focus on your particular health condition but help you to find and address the root cause.

Yes! Weight loss is not as simple as “calories in–calories out.” It involves optimizing the functioning of your entire body. Your registered dietitian will look at the types of food and beverages you’re consuming along with your meal timing, sleep patterns, exercise patterns, stress level, and more to help you achieve your weight loss goals. If you have stubborn weight loss, your team can help look at the root cause, which may involve poor gut health, blood sugar imbalance, and/or hormonal shifts.

Not necessarily. RDNs can also help individuals with goals such as longevity, exercise performance, food allergies, and intolerances, increasing energy levels, improving sleep, and more. RDNs can also help individuals improve their relationship with food through intuitive eating principles if desired.

Yes! Research shows that your microbiome provides over 90% of our total body serotonin, a hormone that creates a long-lasting feeling of happiness or well-being. For this reason and many others, what we eat is directly linked to mental health.

Absolutely. Just as in Western medicine, integrative and functional nutrition is evidence-based and makes recommendations based on the outcomes of randomized controlled trials.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy FAQ

Check out this blog post that Judy wrote for her former employer, Field Trip, which provides a thorough overview.

Yes, ketamine is an accepted and established treatment within the mainstream medical community. Its use for mental health conditions is often considered a breakthrough in the field of psychiatry as it can provide rapid and significant relief for individuals who have failed other treatments.

First, make sure to have the conversation at an appropriate time and place. While respecting their perspective and beliefs, you can explain to them honestly and openly why you’ve decided to use a psychedelic drug for your mental health. Share the research and scientific support for ketamine in the treatment of mental illness and involve your medical provider, therapist, or counselor in these conversations to provide guidance and facilitate communication if needed.

When administered under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider, ketamine is generally considered very safe. It has an excellent safety profile—even at much higher doses than what is used for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy—when used for surgical anesthesia. During your initial consultation, you and your provider will carefully review your medical and psychiatric history and weigh the risks and benefits and rule out any contraindications before starting treatment.

In general, side effects are self-limiting and resolve within a few hours. The most common side effects are lightheadedness/dizziness, headache, impaired balance and coordination, slurred speech, vision disturbances (e.g., double vision, photosensitivity), nausea/vomiting, sedation, confusion, and anxiety.

First, for safety—to make sure you have adequate preparation before the ketamine experience and to help ensure your physical and emotional safety during the ketamine session. Psychedelic experiences can be intense and unpredictable, and your therapist can guide you through it and help you navigate your thoughts, feelings, and insights, and also be there to ground you and provide support if you have a challenging or distressing experience. Second, ketamine is simply a tool, a catalyst, to help you dive deeper faster and get past these places where you are feeling stuck and address things you are struggling with. Working with your therapist and processing and integrating your ketamine experiences is where the magic really happens and how lasting change is created.

Ketamine’s exact mechanism is unknown, but it is thought to work in several different ways including as a dissociative anesthetic that causes temporary dissociation from one’s body and mind. This short break from usual thought patterns can be therapeutic, especially in individuals who struggle with ruminations or negative self-talk. An important way ketamine works is through its action on glutamate, a predominant neurotransmitter in the brain. Another critical way ketamine works is by enhancing neuroplasticity in the brain, which means that it increases neural pathways and connections so that individuals can develop new insights and perspectives and make remarkable changes in mindset and behavior more easily.

Ketamine is legal in the U.S. when prescribed by a licensed medical provider. The FDA approved ketamine in 1970 for use as an anesthetic and it can be legally prescribed “off-label” to treat a range of mental health conditions.

Our team will evaluate medical, psychiatric, psychosocial, and environmental factors to determine whether ketamine is right for you. In general, it’s best for people who have a mental health condition and want to be active participants in their healing process. Ketamine is best for people who are comfortable with getting uncomfortable since treatment can bring up difficult memories that were buried long ago, as well as intense feelings. Clients need to have a strong support system going into ketamine treatment—and to start at a time and place that feels safe and comfortable to them.

The ketamine experience is different for everyone and can also vary significantly for the same person depending on the dose and what one’s mindset and setting (physical environment) are like. At lower doses, you will likely feel relaxed, calm, and peaceful while maintaining your conscious awareness and ability to talk and/or communicate with others. You may also have an emotional experience and feel joy, grief, love, or overwhelming love and gratitude. You may laugh or cry during your ketamine experience. Sensory experiences may include the feeling of floating or being on a roller coaster. There may be colors or other visuals; you may also find that you are more sensitive to external stimuli (lights, sounds, etc.) and that your sense of time is altered. At higher doses, you may have a psychedelic or dissociative experience where you feel separate from your body or the external, physical world. Your Synergy medical provider, in collaboration with you and your ketamine- or psychedelic-trained therapist, will determine the ideal ketamine dose based on your goals for treatment and ensure that you are adequately prepared (physically and mentally) for your ketamine experiences.

Your ketamine experience will last about two hours, and you will not be able to drive the day of your experience. It will take about four to six hours for the effects of the ketamine to wear off, and we recommend not making any major decisions for 24 hours.

Mental Health Medication Management FAQ

Determining if medications are needed for a mental health condition is a complex process and should involve a healthcare professional. A thorough assessment of your symptoms, medical history, risk factors, and overall health is needed to gain a better understanding of the best treatment options for you.

Some mental health conditions are best treated with therapy, while others are more effectively treated by adding medication. The decision to use medications is individualized and takes into account each individual’s unique conditions, circumstances, and preferences. The severity and duration of symptoms are key when determining if medications are needed. If medications are necessary, they are just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan. Many mental health conditions benefit from a combination of lifestyle changes, therapy, medication, and support from loved ones.

This varies from person to person and depends on the type of medication. Some medications may start working in a few days, and while some individuals might notice improvement early in treatment, full therapeutic benefits may take several weeks to months.

Side effects vary depending on the medication, but some common side effects include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, and lightheadedness. Not everyone experiences side effects, and their severity can vary. Some side effects can improve or resolve over time as your body adjusts to the medication.

Medication management for mental health conditions is a long-term, ongoing process to ensure safety and efficacy. The frequency of follow-up appointments will depend on your specific condition and medication. When first initiating medication, we recommend that you follow up with your provider more frequently so that they can make adjustments as needed to optimize effectiveness and minimize side effects of the medication. Over time, appointments may become less frequent if your symptoms stabilize.

Absolutely. Primary care providers (PCPs) such as family physicians and nurse practitioners can and often do treat mental illness and play a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and initial management of mental health conditions. They initiate treatment for mild to moderate mental health conditions, which often includes prescribing medication, providing psychoeducation, and recommending lifestyle changes or self-help strategies. For individuals with more severe or persistent mental health conditions, PCPs manage and adjust medication regimens and monitor medication effectiveness, side effects, and potential drug interactions. If an individual’s mental health condition is complex or requires specialized treatment, they are referred to mental health specialists to ensure that they receive the most appropriate and comprehensive care.

Synergy’s “Boost Your Wellness Toolkit”

Find equilibrium and balance again with our holistic tools! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and get our downloadable toolkit PDF, including

  • Stress reduction strategies
  • 30 days of healthy snack ideas
  • A healthy sleep checklist
  • Steps to starting a home meditation practice