Today I had therapy and next week I will be seeing my psychiatrist for an appointment. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of therapists and psychiatrists who’ve given me multiple diagnoses from; bipolar disorder to major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Each condition requires a unique set of medication treatments.
The main obstacle faced in mental health today is that diagnosis and treatment is all based off the intangibles.
Unlike a physical ailment in which we can see, touch and treat, mental ailments don’t work in the same black and white fashion. We don’t look at the brain when diagnosing or treating, and so it makes this area a very grey one.
Although we have technologies such as the SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scan, these technologies are not yet available to mainstream psychiatric practices.
Moving forward, I feel like being able to actually observe the physical structure of the brain will give us better insights into what is going inside someone’s brain, allowing room for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
If the brain is like a computer, than thoughts and emotions are like the software, and things like electrical activity and blood flow inside the brain are part of the hardware. Although these mental illnesses involve mental, emotional and behavioural events for those who experience them, there is always an underlying physical cause.
Evidence of this can be found through the example of a condition referred to as hypofrontality – a state of decreased blood flow in a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This can be a symptom of such mental illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.
Without actually peering inside the brain, most of this becomes a guessing game and that’s what makes this whole process a tricky one.
It’s important to find professionals who you trust and who genuinely care for your well-being. It’s also important to do your own research so you can go that extra mile for yourself. Treatment and recovery can be a slow, grueling and sometimes frustrating process. But you can find joy and purpose in many parts of it.