Psychiatric nurse

Todd Adams recently founded Anthem Adult Psychiatry. (Todd Adams/Submitted)

Todd Adams has devoted his life to caring for people. 

He’s served as a pastor, registered nurse and paramedic. Now, as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Adams has founded Anthem Adult Psychiatry, which opened in August. 

Adams treats patients ages 18 and older for a wide range of psychiatric needs. He can prescribe meds, but he uses counseling and natural remedies to try to heal.

“I’m big on nonpharmaceutical treatments,” Adams said. 

“There are things that people can do that don’t involve taking medicine. No. 1 is increasing their intake of leafy green vegetables, things like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts. Those are all leafy vegetables. 

“Those increase glutathione, which is your body’s main molecular detox. It’s been proven there’s a direct correlation between leafy green vegetables and body’s ability to detox and improve overall mental house.” 

Adams cited studies that show disruptions in the gut-brain axis affect intestinal motility and secretion, contribute to visceral hypersensitivity and lead to cellular alterations of the entero-endocrine and immune systems. 

“About 90% of serotonin comes from the intestines,” he said. “There’s a direct correlation between the gut-brain axis and mental health.” 

Researchers have discovered that the gut and brain are closely connected; and that this relationship serves an important function not only in managing emotions and stress but also aiding digestion. Emotions are felt in the gut. Feelings such sadness, anger, nervousness, fear and joy can be felt in the gut.

“I know medicine extremely well, but I’m also promoting healthy lifestyles, supplements, diets and things that are not medicine related,” he said. 

He specializes in addiction medicine. He works part-time for a men’s residential facility and is one of the only nurse practitioners in Arizona to go through training at the Betty Ford Clinic. 

A Lexington, Kentucky, native, Adams was recruited by a headhunter to work in Arizona. He did the interview, not thinking anything would come from it.

“Here we are, a couple years later,” he said.  

Anthem Adult Psychiatry is a full-service practice that treats anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizophrenia effective disorder and borderline personality disorder.

He sees new patients and does medication management on Fridays. Adams offers appointments from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

As a former paramedic, Adams is not naïve about the reality of mental health. Whenever someone was having a mental health crisis, the police showed up but left the care to paramedics.

“It was up to me to deal with these people, whether they were homicidal or suicidal,” he said. 

“You don’t have to be a trained therapist, you just have to care about people, accept where they’re at and not judge them. If you approach other people with judgmental attitudes, they can feel the judgment and it creates a wall between you and them. 

“I was a rated No. 1 nurse in Kentucky. Although my medical skills were extremely good, the thing that set me apart was my ability to connect with difficult patients. I mean the most ornery, uncooperative patients. I would see those patients over and over again. By the grace of God, I would connect with those people and they loved me.” 

His talents come down to loving people and science.

“I really care about people,” he added. “People are important to me. I’m extremely good at connecting with people. With my time as pastor, I have at least 10,000 hours of counseling, talking with people and listening to their concerns.

“I’d hear their heart, encourage them, guide them and listen. I was an infantry officer in the national guard, too. I’ve spent 30 years helping in every possible human service you can imagine.”

Adams said not everything has gone his way, as there were bumps and bruises along the way. But it’s made him a better person. 

“It looks good on paper, but the reality is it was a lot of hard work, late nights, bumps and bruises along the way. I think, in many ways, that makes me better able to live with people. I’m right where they’re at. It’s not like I’m floating in on high, above other people. I’m just a dude.

“My job is to come along side you and lift you up. At the end of the day, this is up to them and it’s their life. People really respond positively to that. They know I’m here for them.”

Anthem Adult Psychiatry

39506 N. Daisy Mountain Drive, Suite 122418, Anthem