Warning Signs For Mental Illness3
Each mental illness has its own characteristic symptoms. However, there are some general warningsigns that might alert you that someone needs professional help. Some ofthese signs include
- thinking or talking about suicide or harming oneself,
- extreme mood swingsâhigh or low,
- abuse of alcohol or drugs, and
- excessive anger, hostility, or violent behavior.
A person who shows any of these signs should seek help from a qualified healthprofessional.
What Happens After You Get The Results From A Schizophrenia Brain Scan
If brain scans are ordered for a person who is showing schizophrenia symptoms, it is usually to rule out or confirm other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
Whether the scan shows a different condition or plays a part in confirming a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the healthcare provider will discuss treatment options.
Making The Invisible Visible Through Research
The Royal’s Brain Imaging Centre is a state-of-the art research facility featuring a positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging scanner the first of its kind in Canada dedicated solely to mental health and neuroscience research.
Through advanced neuroimaging, researchers are able to effectively look inside the brain and see mental illness, which is helping to inform the development of more precise diagnostics and therapies.
With brain imaging, we are making important strides towards making the invisible visible when it comes to mental illness demonstrating that like any other medical condition, depression and related mental health disorders have an objective biology.
Also Check: Can Thyroid Cancer Spread To The Brain
The Incongruity Between Dsm Diagnostic Categories And Neuroimaging Findings
Besides the case of depression, another example of the incongruity between DSM diagnostic categorization and neuroimaging data is the diagnosis of Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder . There is overwhelming neurobiological and neuroimaging evidence that multiple forms of ADHD exist. A multitude of functional imaging studies utilizing a diversity of modalities, including SPECT, fMRI, PET, and quantitative electroencephalogram repeatedly derived similar results in children and in adults. Some of these studies, reviewed by Cherkasova and Hechtman , showed reduced regional brain activity during a concentration task. Areas such as the prefrontal cortex, orbital frontal cortex, and caudate nuclei in some patients with ADHD decrease activity during concentration. This is what we have come to recognize as typical or intrinsic ADHD.
A second example of an alternate endophenotype in ADHD is reduced temporal lobe function . These patients will often demonstrate no evidence of frontal lobe deactivation during a concentration task, but persistent or worsening temporal lobe hypoperfusion with SPECT functional neuroimaging. Given that acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter in the temporal lobes, we have utilized donepezil , an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor for these patients. Donepezil was shown in a small study to improve ADHD symptoms . In patients with reduced temporal lobe function, donepezil improves attention and academic performance .
Functional Neuroimaging Can Aid The Diagnostic Process
While the position of ISAN is not that SPECT or PET functional neuroimaging replaces the diagnostician, it is our position that functional neuroimaging can aid and inform the diagnostic process and resulting treatment plan. Can neuroimaging provide a pathognomonic imaging result for each DSM condition? No, but it can eliminate several possibilities and lead one closer to a definitive conclusion. Functional neuroimaging can offer clues and information about psychiatric disorders and their comorbid conditions.
Functional neuroimaging helps clinicians to unravel complex cases. For example, ruling out toxic exposure or TBI can be highly valuable in the differential diagnosis of complex cases. The ability of SPECT neuroimaging to differentiate TBI from PTSD not only meets the APA criteria, but offers hope to tens of thousands of veterans who suffer from one or both disorders . As a second example, if a perfusion SPECT scan shows a diffuse pattern of decreased function, ADHD become much less likely and systemic effects such as metal , mold , or other toxicity, carbon monoxide poisoning , or infection become more likely. Rather than treating the patient with a stimulant, a clinician would be directed by the scan results to seek a cause for the brain dysfunction, as described above.
Also Check: Effects Of Drugs On Brain
Pathophysiological Subterfugehow Toxicity Infection And Inflammation Masquerade As Psychiatric Diagnoses
An important underlying concept for diagnostic imaging in all its forms is that imaging allows a clinician to eliminate possibilities and narrow the differential diagnosis. This progression is central to any medical diagnostic process. Physicians obtain laboratory values to eliminate alternative explanations for a patient’s symptoms and focus in on the diagnosis. Similarly, physicians order imaging studies to further eliminate alternate diagnoses and close in on the actual diagnosis for that particular patient. For example, if a patient presents with shortness of breath which is worse with exertion, such as when climbing stairs, then a diagnostic process is begun. Let us examine that process from two perspectives and by comparing it to the symptom of anxiety. First, we will approach this patient as a psychiatrist would. Second, we will approach this patient in the manner that most physicians in medicine would.
We can hear our psychiatric colleagues scoff. Most people with anxiety have an anxiety disorder, they would say. Most people with alternating high and low moods have bipolar disorder, they would add. Why go on a wild goose chase?
We will explore some of the biological and, therefore, treatable contributors to psychopathology which can and are visualized using functional neuroimaging.
The Single Most Common Biological Cause Of Psychiatric Symptoms
Not surprisingly, the single most common masquerader of psychiatric disorders is TBI. Brain trauma irrefutably leads to disruption of the function of the affected portion of the brain. Since the brain is highly organized with each structure involved in a specific function, the functional disruption depends on what part of the brain is injured. Damage to the parietal lobes can affect visuospatial processing, spatial orientation, and language/writing abilities. Damage to the temporal lobes, which is among the most common injuries , leads to memory difficulties, learning difficulties, and emotional dysregulation. Damage to the frontal lobes, the single most common area to be injured , leads to impaired judgment, impaired concentration, fatigue, depression, and a host of other challenges.
The link between TBI and psychiatric symptoms is well-characterized. For example, over 40% of patients who experience a concussion will develop depression over the subsequent year . Other conditions may develop as well. Concussion and TBI can lead to depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, irritability, anger outbursts, relationship problems, irrational or socially inappropriate behaviors, cognitive changes, and impaired memory. How does a psychiatrist differentiate these symptoms from the symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Dementia? There is no single interview question that will differentiate TBI from any of these diagnoses.
Also Check: First Aid Mental Health Training
Limitations Of Spect And Pet Imaging
Education of physicians will be essential in this process of introducing neuroimaging into mainstream psychiatry. This is no different from the situation of introducing the first atypical antipsychotic, the first dopamine partial agonist, or transcranial magnetic stimulation. The expectations and the understanding of both patients and physicians will come through education. Thematic to this review has been highlighting the disparity between the categorical system of diagnosis and the neurobiological findings.
In our collective clinical experience, patients tend to be less interested in the diagnosis, compared to physicians. Rather, patients tend to be most interested in learning what can be done for their condition, whatever it might be. SPECT and PET functional neuroimaging helps the patient by revealing the functional substrate of their psychiatric/psychological symptoms. There are two very fascinating outcomes we have observed. First, the patient, as well as their family, engages in less blaming and criticism since they now see the symptoms as the product of disrupted neurophysiology. Second, the patient often demonstrates improved compliance with treatment.
But what do the experts say about the overall risk of undergoing a SPECT scan or a PET scan? A leading authority on the subject of medical radiation exposure, Dr. Michael Devous, has stated in several settings ,
Along the same lines, the Health Physics Society in their 2004 and 2009 position papers states,
There Are Some Benefits To Using Brain Scans In The Diagnosis Of Mental Health Conditions But Imaging Can Also Some Limitations
Diagnosing mental illness can be a subjective process, as it is largely based on client reports and practitioner assessments. Upon examination, it is possible that multiple practitioners could come up with varying diagnoses for the same client. More objective diagnostic methods are necessary to prevent misdiagnosis and to ensure proper treatment. Brain scans for mental illness are being studied as an objective tool, which can be used alongside traditional client assessment techniques.
Brain scans and other technology are becoming more and more proficient at diagnosing mental illness and are being used to create new psychiatric medications. Mental health brain scans show the structures and tissue of the brain and provide information about blood flow and cellular energy use.
Also Check: Sleep Deprivation And Mental Health
What Is A Brain Scan
A brain scan is like an X-ray for your brain. The scan takes very detailed pictures of your brains size, shape, and activity, which helps doctors see and understand whats going on in your mind. The most common types of brain scans include:
- Electroencephalography or EEG, which shows how your brain acts during certain psychological states such as alertness and drowsiness.
- Computerized Tomography or CT, which uses ionizing radiation to take pictures of the structure of your brain.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, which uses echo waves to produce pictures of your brain. MRIs also help doctors detect how much grey matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid you have in your brain.
- Positron Emission Tomography or PET, which injects radioactive sugar glucose into your veins through an IV. Unlike the CT scan and the MRI, which take pictures of how your brain looks, the PET scan shows how your brain functions by looking at which neurons in your brain react to the sugar glucose.
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, which combines pictures from multiple MRIs to show how your brain functions.
Neuroimaging Could Guide The Diagnostic Processif Only
Ironically, in this age of heightened awareness of the importance of the brain and its central role in the generation of the symptoms, we associate with psychiatric disorders, the American Psychiatric Association has taken the position that neuroimaging has no role in Psychiatry. In 2018, the APA published a position paper stating neuroimaging has yet to have a significant impact on the diagnosis or treatment of individual patients in clinical settings .
The APA’s claim that neuroimaging has not had a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses seems to assume that functional brain neuroimaging can only be helpful if it provides a pathognomonic fingerprint for a DSM diagnosis. Notwithstanding the absurdity of expecting imaging of the human brain to yield a hallmark of a disorder created by a committee, issues of comorbidity, and the shared final neurophysiological outcome of multiple diagnoses make it highly unlikely logically that we will have neuroimaging fingerprints for committee-created disorders.
The Stigma Of Mental Illness7
“The last great stigma of the twentieth century is the stigma of mentalillness.”
âTipper Gore, wife of the former U.S. Vice President
Words can hurt. Many derogatory words and phrases are used in relation tomental illness. However, these words maintain the stereotyped image and notthe reality about mental illness. Try not to use these words, and encouragestudents not to use them.
“Mentally ill people are nuts, crazy, wacko.” “Mentally ill people are morally bad.””Mentally ill people are dangerous and should be locked in an asylum forever.””Mentally ill people need somebody to take care of them.” How often have we heardcomments like these or seen these types of portrayals in movies, television shows,or books? We may even be guilty ofmaking comments like them ourselves. Is there any truth behind these portrayals, oris that negative view based on our ignorance and fear?
Stigmas are negative stereotypes about groups of people. Common stigmasabout people who are mentally ill are
- Individuals who have a mental illness are dangerous.
- Individuals who have a mental illness are irresponsible and can’t makelife decisions for themselves.
- People who have a mental illness are childlike and must be taken care ofby parents or guardians.
- People who have a mental illness should just get overit.
Providing accurate information is one way to reduce stigmas about mentalillness.
Does My Child Have Schizophrenia
Early signs of schizophrenia can be hard to detect because they often overlap with common adolescent behavior. Moreover, these symptoms in people of any age group do not necessarily mean that a person will develop schizophrenia.
These symptoms can be disruptive though, and they may indicate something worrisome is going on, even if it isn’t schizophrenia. If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a healthcare provider.
What Disorders Can A Brain Scan Show
Some of the advantages that brain scans can bring are as follows: Identifying frontal or temporal lobe abnormalities, as well as thalamic and hypothalamic lesions Anxiety, sadness, schizophrenia, and anorexia, as well as cognitive problems, can all be caused by brain injuries. A CT or MRI scan can show damage to the brain tissue itself, as well as any abnormal growths . Treatment for many brain diseases depends on what type of disease it is so different therapies may be used at once. For example, people with Alzheimer’s disease may be given drugs to reduce the risk of further memory loss and also nutritional supplements such as acetyl-L-carnitine or lipoic acid to help neurons function better.
A neuroimaging test can reveal whether someone has suffered a head injury and can give information about the severity of the injury. It can also show changes that occur within specific areas of the brain over time in conditions such as dementia or multiple sclerosis. These images are also useful in detecting tumors and other abnormalities.
In conclusion, a brain scan is a very useful tool for identifying causes of neurological symptoms.
Why Choose Amen Clinics For Brain Spect Imaging
Over the past 30 years at Amen Clinics, we have built the worlds largest database of brain scansover 200,000 scans and growingrelated to emotional, learning, and behavioral problems. We have scanned people across the globe from 9 months old to 105 years old and have been helped them with a wide variety of mental health conditions and other cognitive issues. Our decades of experience, in addition to our scientific research on SPECT , guides us in being the best in the world for brain SPECT imaging.
Making New Discoveries With Brain Imaging
Functional human brain imaging makes it possible for scientists and doctors to see inside the working brain. As a result, brain imaging can be used to investigate how the brain functions differently in people with various psychiatric disorders. Studies showed that during tasks involving emotions, people with depression had different activity in a region in the middle of the front of the brain than people without depression. Other studies showed that other frontal areas involved in attentional control are less active in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Not all brain imaging discoveries had to do with how participants performed tasks. In fact, one of the biggest insights came from observing brain activity when people were asked to do nothing at all! When researchers looked at how similar activity across different brain areas was, they found fascinating networks of resting state activity.
Missed Opportunities In Psychiatric Neuroimaging
As members of the International Society of Applied Neuroimaging , we cannot agree with the position of the APA. Our clinical experience as psychiatrists, neuroimaging specialists, nuclear medicine physicians, and experienced general practitioners is that functional neuroimaging, using SPECT and/or PET functional imaging, provides valuable insights into patient diagnosis. We will now summarize the data that support the use of SPECT and/or PET functional neuroimaging in the diagnostic process, as well as in the treatment monitoring process. In addition, we will demonstrate how other pathophysiological processes can masquerade as psychiatric conditions. Only by correctly determining the absence of these confounding pathophysiological processes can treatment be maximally effective.
Ultimately, we will demonstrate that functional brain imaging with PET and SPECT has already proven itself valuable in the psychiatric treatment of individual patients, and we will illustrate how it can contribute to the advancement of the field, going forward.
Mental Illness In Adults
Scientists estimate that one of every four people is affected by mentalillness either directly or indirectly.
Even if you or a family member has not experienced mental illness directly, it isvery likely that you have known someone who has. Estimates are that at least onein four people is affected by mental illness either directly or indirectly. Consider the followingstatistics to get an idea of just how widespread the effects of mental illnessare in society: , ,
- According to recent estimates, approximately 20 percent of Americans,or about one in five people over the age of 18, suffer from adiagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
- Four of the 10 leading causes of disabilityâmajordepression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, andobsessive-compulsive disorderâare mental illnesses.
- About 3 percent of the population have more than one mental illnessat a time.
- About 5 percent of adults are affected so seriously by mental illnessthat it interferes with their ability to function in society. Thesesevere and persistent mental illnesses include schizophrenia,bipolar disorder, other severe forms of depression, panicdisorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Approximately 20 percent of doctor’s appointments are related toanxiety disorders such as panic attacks.
- Eight million people have depression each year.
- Two million Americans have schizophrenia disorders, and 300,000 newcases are diagnosed each year.