Food as Medicine: New Treatment for Depression at MDABC

MDABC's Food as Medicine Program

Research shows that mood disorders and pain disorders have something in common: chronic inflammation. Our understanding of mood and pain disorders has expanded dramatically over the past decade. We now know that dietary habits, inflammation and oxidative stress are common underlying factors in mood, pain and other brain based disorders.

This group medical visit will provide a personalized examination of various causes of chronic inflammation.  Each individual will have a medical work up to identify treatable root causes contributing to mood and brain based disorders. There will be an assessment of common nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to mood and pain disorders. 

Treatment will include evidence based dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, the use of supplements and select medication. There will be a focus on improving gut health and nurturing a healthy microbiome, both of which are important in the treatment of mood and inflammatory disorders. You will be taught which foods cause harm to your body and how to use food as medicine. Participants should be prepared to make major changes to their diet.  

These group medical visits are led by psychiatrist and naturopath trained in functional medicine and nutritional psychiatry. The group program meets once a week for 8 weeks. Each group is 2 hours. 

This program is for individuals with the following diagnoses: 

   •    major depression

   •    persistent depressive disorder

   •    bipolar depression 

   •    fibromyalgia


Co-occurring disorders that can benefit from this treatment include: 

  • inflammatory/autoimmune disorders
  • joint pain/arthritis
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • pre-diabetes/type II diabetes/metabolic syndrome
  • obesity


Individuals who may want to consider the group include:

1. Those with mild to moderate depression or fibromyalgia who prefer to make dietary and lifestyle changes rather than use prescription medication.

2. Those with depression, bipolar depression or fibromyalgia who are only partially improving with medication or are not responsive to medication.

Exclusion criteria for the group treatment include:

Active mania or hypomania, psychosis, active eating disorder, active alcohol or other substance use disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and severe cognitive impairment.


Physician referrals are required to attend the group medical visits. Each person will be scheduled for a 50 minute psychiatric consultation with Dr. Leslie Wicholas prior to acceptance to ensure that the group is a good fit for the individual.

Visit the links below to learn more about nutritional psychiatry and the connection between food, mood and brain health.


If you are a physician who would like to refer a patient to the Food as Medicine Programclick here to download the referral form.