Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker

Psychiatric Illness or Moldy Brain?

Many people diagnosed with a mental illness or other psychiatric condition tell similar stories. They visit their primary care physician complaining of anxiety, overwhelming sadness, fatigue, joint or muscle aches and pains, brain fog, and other general symptoms. Their doctor orders a limited series of lab tests, examine the results, and finds “nothing wrong.” They are then either given a diagnosis on the spot or referred to a psychiatrist. Ultimately, they are told they have depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or some other diagnosis that doesn’t reveal what’s really going on or how to cure it. They are sent home with one or more prescriptions for antidepressants, pain relievers, and other medications that, at best, provide only temporary relief. Sometimes the medications provide no relief or even make the condition worse. The story changes only when a patient is fortunate enough to encounter a doctor who understands the effects …

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Responding to the Mold Outbreak at VA Bay Pines Center

Recent reports published in the Tampa Bay Times— one in which our Dr. Matt Lewis is referenced in — call attention to a serious health problem at a military housing facility and VA medical center in South Florida… chronic, recurring mold outbreaks that are literally making military personnel and their family members, patients, and treatment providers sick. The reports focus specifically on mold present in housing at MacDill Air Force Base and a mold outbreak at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center. However, mold poses a serious health risk throughout Florida, where heat and humidity provide the ideal environment for it to grow. According to the World Health Organization, more than a quarter of U.S. buildings are water-damaged. One can logically conclude that the percentage is significantly higher in Florida, where we receive an average annual rainfall of 60 inches. Nearly 45 million people across the U.S. live or …

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Living with Mold in Tampa: Part 1 — Recognizing the Warning Signs

Do you live in Tampa, run across mold in your home or workplace on a regular basis, and have a persistent illness that defies treatment — fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, unexplained allergies, difficulty breathing, recurring or lingering sinus infections? Do you feel as though you’ve been drugged or poisoned? If you feel miserable, and your doctor can’t figure out the cause, it could be something in your home or workplace, your food or water, or perhaps even growing inside you — toxic mold. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions.” In Florida, whether we’re inside or outside, chances are good that mold is growing all around us. Chances are also good that mold is growing in us. Sadly, for us, mold and mold infection are nothing new. However, thanks to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a leading authority on …

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