How to Know What’s Going on Inside Your Brain | Brain Scans 101
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), almost 44 million adults and 14 million children in the United States experience a mental health related condition in a given year. Regrettably, the issue of mental health remains shrouded by misunderstanding and stigma.
If you have concentration issues, severe mood swings or physical/emotional trauma, the best way to get help is to…
Take a Look
If an athlete is taken to the hospital after sustaining a serious limb injury, what’s the first thing the doctor does? Order a scan.
Before making a prognosis or determining a course of treatment for a patient, healthcare providers frequently take a look at the injured area. After obtaining accurate information, a practitioner can then recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Without the help of imaging, medical professionals are reduced to speculation and chance. Which is why it’s so important to take a look.
Cardiologists look, neurologists look, and orthopedic doctors look. In fact, virtually every medical specialist looks at an image of the area they’re treating. Yet, amazingly, psychiatrists look for symptom clusters and then…guess.
As ironic as it sounds, psychiatry is the only branch of medicine that doesn’t take a look at the organ it treats. That’s like a car mechanic diagnosing your engine problems without actually popping the hood.
The standard psychiatric approach is a broken model. Psychiatrists today still diagnose and manage conditions the same way they did back when Abraham Lincoln was being treated for depression: conduct a brief interview, quickly assess the symptoms, form a diagnosis based on those symptoms and then prescribe a high-powered medication. This method makes the patient a guinea pig and often does more harm than good since many medications come with adverse side effects.
Talk It Out
So where can you go to get help? Many people attend support groups or meet with a therapist. While talk therapy can temporarily relieve emotional or psychological distress, the root of the problem may persist, especially if a patient struggles with extreme focus, memory or mood issues. In many cases, progress is slow because patients don’t receive tangible, visible evidence of what’s affecting them. If talking things out fails to improve your situation, then what?
Imaging Changes Everything
At Amen Clinics, we believe that you can’t possibly know what’s going on inside your brain unless you take a look. Brain scans change everything. They remove the guesswork from the standard psychiatric approach of prescribing high-powered medications to mask symptoms, which is like throwing darts at a dartboard in the dark. By contrast, our approach is to look inside the brain and treat it with as natural a regimen as possible. We treat the root of the problem rather than just the symptom.
Amen Clinics has provided education and insight on the clinical use of brain imaging in psychiatry. Over the past 29 years, Amen Clinics has built the world’s largest database of brain scans related to emotional, relational and behavioral problems. Our study is comprised of brain SPECT images.
What is SPECT?
SPECT stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. Because brain activity is directly related to blood flow, SPECT accurately shows us the patterns of activity in the brain. SPECT allows physicians to look deep inside the brain to observe three things: areas of the brain that work well, areas of the brain that work too hard and areas of the brain that don’t work hard enough. With the help of brain imaging, our doctors can see if there are physical or chemical imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, low neurotransmitter production and many other factors.
Amen Clinics has performed over 145,000 scans on patients from age 3 to 103. In addition to diagnosing and treating patients with symptoms such as ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, autism, addiction, head trauma and many other complex or resistant psychiatric problems, we’ve also scanned many health-conscious individuals interested in learning more about their brains and how to keep them optimized far into the future.
Although treatment plans vary based on individual results, our aim is to use the least toxic, most effective solutions to address our patient’s needs. We prefer to heal the brain naturally, which means our doctors typically recommend diet, exercise and supplements first and foremost before medications.
Dr. Amen has created a line of brain healthy vitamins that are ultra-pure, science-based and brain directed. These high-quality supplements come from the finest sources, have undergone rigorous clinical testing and have been formulated for maximum absorption to give you the nutrients you need to be your best self.
For more information about our full catalog of brain healthy supplements, visit us at BrainMD.
To learn more about how SPECT imaging can help provide a customized treatment plan to help heal your brain, call us today at 888-288-9834.
Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”