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Why can't we treat mental illness by fixing the brain?

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Snowdrop, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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  2. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Fascinating!

    There are ongoing studies that may show some progress understanding the brain works. It's probably the most complicated bodily process imaginable. Unfortunately, that makes it harder to understand.

    Space is often said to be the new frontier of knowledge. I think it's the brain and if wishes were horses I feel that money on outer space should be shifted to medical ventures. The study of outer space is fascinating but the fact that it's such a high priority when it comes to spending is misdirected.

    Barb
     
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  3. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    I agree that the inner world frontier of the brain is at least as exciting to study. Although I think science defends space exploration because the research into how to get people or probes into space yields inventions that have other applications and therefore economic value.
    Unfortunately, that's not something you can say with regard to brain exploration I think.
     
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  4. GhostGum

    GhostGum Senior Member

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    I thought the US government, under Obama has given some very copious amounts of money to study/map the brain? Just as they did with genetics.

    And isn't there also good signs that new types of brain stimulation can help treat mental illness? When you think of how many connections and complicated the brain is though, there is rarely going to be any simple answers; especially in a climate where in a crap shoot we throw random medications (which work no better than a placebo apparently) at people with 'mental illness' based on how they feel and no diagnostic testing whatsoever. We have a long way to come.
     
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  5. GhostGum

    GhostGum Senior Member

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    By pure coincidence I turned on the tv before and a good science show here in Australia was covering this exact topic I mentioned above, about brain stimulation,

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4322228.htm

    Also covers an interesting look at how our perception works and its potential in treating pain.

    Really interested in the brain stimulation, might see if I can get my GP to hook me up.

    Edit: Here is the part about perception and the sense issues related to certain mental illness, I thought the above link covered the whole show but they obviously edit the segments,

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4322230.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
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  6. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    From the text:

    "It’s interesting that Alzheimer’s disease has moved from the province of psychiatry to neurology. Why has it been reclassified? Because we now know something about the pathological changes in the brain that underlie it. Medical scientists can see what’s going wrong in an Alzheimer’s brain. The disorder itself has not changed, but our understanding of it has. It seems reasonable to hope that this will eventually lead to effective prevention – something all but impossible to imagine without detailed knowledge of the neurological problem. Let’s look forward to the day when all the rest of psychiatry goes the same way."

    Psychiatrist's are falling over themselves trying to align themselves with neurology as if the two are meant to work together and complement one another.
    I'm looking forward to a day when psychiatry is irrelevant. No more silly groping around in the dark trying to extract people's secrets while not having any real clue as to what they are doing.
     
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  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Sadly we still don't know how the brain works. We are still dealing with a black box problem. We know bits and pieces, but it does not really stack up into a big picture. There are theories of course. Lots of them. They cannot all be right, all the time. The human brain project is in crisis ... Scientific America just ran an article on this. The brain is complex. Its nonlinear. We still lack the technology for very low scale brain mapping. It was only this last year we discovered a new MAJOR piece of anatomy, showing the brain may have substantive lymphatic drainage.

    I think psychiatry and neurology might merge, but its just as likely neurology will get bigger and bigger, and maybe even fracture, and psychiatry will dwindle. One thing psychiatry has to do in my opinion is get rid of everything that does not have a sound scientific basis. That is most of it, perhaps. Trying to hold onto unscientific theories and practices holds the profession back.

    So what happens to the things it removes from psychiatry? We have alternative medicine. I think it belongs there. If and when things can be scientifically substantiated then they will become mainstream. Another option is the social sciences. We will always need counselors, so long as people are people.

    I cannot see this happening currently. I think that it might have to be forced on psychiatry by the rest of the medical profession, but I don't see that happening any time soon either.

    This also applies to bad science by big pharma. Its not just about nonpharma psychiatry. It most definitely applies to the DSM.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  8. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    @GhostGum Thanks for the heads-up. I'll be researching TDCS brain stimulation.
     
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  9. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

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    With a large portion of anxiety and depression cases, as well as people who get generally stressed out very easily there is definitely also the consideration of thought process. The way you think and believe in certain thought patterns which create an ongoing process of stress, anxiety, and or depression for many people. Something mindfulness can very much help with to stop believing in distorted thoughts, as well as having a radical acceptance of everything as it is. Rather then have people try and push their feelings away, avoid certain situations, or cling to certain patterns which may cause them harm. Alternative medicine such as certain herbs work extremely well in assisting the nervous system and body to relax and take the edge of without as much risks associated with other pharmaceutical drugs as well.
     
  10. Gijs

    Gijs Senior Member

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    Even anxiety and depression could be due to physical problems like gutproblems and bacteria, hormons etc... Or due to overstimulation of the brain by working to hard etc... It is not always pure mentally. I would like to know what the definition is for a mental illness. I don't believe all problems come from childhood trauma's and wrong thougths. It is bullshit :) Psychiatry is a waste basked for doctors who don't know what causes the symptoms of a patiënt. It is like blaming the victim becasue they are mentally incapable to understand everything. Most doctors can't deal with this.
     
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  11. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Stop the harm. Start the research and treatment.

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    "It was only this last year we discovered a new MAJOR piece of anatomy, showing the brain my have substantive lymphatic drainage."

    Also, recently they discovered that the reason many folks that are hypermobile (can bend thumb to wrist, can put hands flat on the ground with straight legs) experience anxiety is because the collagen that allows them to be very flexible is also allowing their veins / arteries to be 'flexible' so that blood pools in their legs sending a message to the brain that something is not right and the brain enacts the amygdala sending out 'anxiety' sensations.

    So not all anxiety is childhood trauma or other psychological cause. Its physiological.

    Ditto depression. About a third of depressions are now attributed to inflammation in the brain. Treat the cause of the inflammation and the depression lifts.
     
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  12. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    Hi @alex3619
    I had no idea that there was a brain project. It sounds fascinating. I'm not at all surprised they are having a difficult time of it.
    Not to say that it's an unknowable subject but it won't yield easily I'm sure.

    It concerns me that precisely because of the complexity involved in figuring out how the brain works psychiatry can pretty much make wild untestable hypotheses in the absence of any evidence and that everyone who has a say about how these things go will find that acceptable.

    Most ordinary people seem to be aware of the complexity of how our brain creates mental phenomena (awkward phrase and no one would say it that way but I want to distinguish brain function from it's product mental phenomena) but you give an MD a degree in psychiatry and (I'm not joking) but it creates a certain godlike sensibility for many of them. All of a sudden they can apprehend so much more than is really warranted and they have the authority to ensure others follow their lead (leed? : ).

    There is so much to say about the state of inquiry that informs psychiatry. It's deeply flawed and doesn't seem to appreciate that more work needs to be done to account for the fact that there are always so many variables at play. While they are keen on gaining relevance through neurology they ignore other disciplines (I think) Even physics might have something to offer them.

    [And as a side topic to all this I want to add that with psychology and all it's studies (I've actually been in a psych study at UBC with my son)
    it seems to me that selection bias is a humongous constraint on knowing anything at all about anyone except mostly university undergrads
    It's not really relevant to anything here I just wanted to put that out there. I don't even think that there is any coordinated review of literature to see how undergrads from different places might respond differently let alone anyone else.]

    As you might guess I'm hoping psychiatry dwindles unless it can somehow show that it can be really relevant (which I don't believe it can)
    And I agree that pharmacology needs some better oversight.

    That would seem to leave people in the lurch if they need help. Some people would be helped simple by a change in the political system assistance with poverty helping children access nature and people who can be positive role models early on might help those whose brain chemistry is not so profoundly altered that their mental health is intractable. Positive experiences would alter the downward spiral of reinforcing bad brain chemistry especially if not that profound. And for others there is hope with further biological research which can only happen so long as the will is there and the need is seen.

    Things always take too long to happen--too bad there's no cure for bureaucracy.
     
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  13. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    Will have a look later when I can.

    My husband has anxiety. Since I wasn't there I have no idea of it's origins. My son also has anxiety. Two things to know there.
    A) He's had the most happy of childhoods ; ) My kids are both happy and loving as adults. and B) he's always been anxious. I have other things I could say about this but I'm not going to suffice it that I was there and that's how it is.

    Childhood trauma certainly does affect one's outlook on life but it's only about half the story. Some are extremely resilient in the face of a great deal some crumble easily. It's not a moral character issue not even really a sensitivity issue. Sensitivities arise from the brain chemistry we've been blessed or cursed with. And of course there's nothing to stop us having both beneficial and disadvantageous brain chemistry.
     
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  14. Research 1st

    Research 1st Severe ME, POTS & MCAS.

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    We know that the British psych lobby claim that childhood trauma is associated to CFS. They claim this is evidence based by getting patients with F48.0 chronic fatigue (not CFS) to fill in questionnaires. They also don't reveal that many in society also claim this, who don't have CFS! (Thus reducing the correlation between trauma and CFS).

    But if we look at the diagnostic criteria for even the more stringent Fukuda CFS, we know that as CFS patients don't have inclusionary disease based tests for anything to do with ME or Lyme. This includes organic anxiety, therefore the mental health symptoms of organic CFS can be falsely associated to mental health claims by psychiatrists of psych chronic fatigue. Consequently the organic CFS patient with anxiety incorrectly believes or is told by the psychiatrist, their anxiety is associated to their CFS, of a psychological nature.

    For example in CFS (which includes ME and Lyme as midiagnosis is huge) the main culprits for anxiety in CFS are:

    Neuro inflammation
    Infection leading to activation of the CNS
    Severe pain states, including neuropathic pain
    Balance disorder (dizziness and vertigo can induce anxieties)
    Sleep disorder (lack of sleep can induce anxiety - lack of sleep elevates cytokines/pain
    Chronic CNS disorder due to pathogenesis of the disease (such as ME, Lyme)
    Problems with blood flow to the brain, heart, lungs and elevated CNS lactate
    Nutritional deficiencies leading to increased incidence of anxiety
    Blood disorders leading to anxiety
    Changes in blood sugar and insulin.
    Allergies and Asthma


    And so forth. Many reasons, organic based, that are all missed and never checked for onc ethe patient has he CFS label and is embedded in CBT, GET and at best, 'Pacing'. :cry:

    All of these testable *but missed* reasons for anxiety in 'CFS' are part of the underlying disease pathogenesis of ME and Lyme. Two conditions commonly misdiagnosed as CFS.

    In CFS there is a disease (s) and as psychiatrists don't manage disease, and as Fukuda CFS criteria doesn't require them to either, it's all perfectly legal to hoodwink patient down the wrong route of medical intervention - self exploration of past childhood trauma.

    Through insufficient testing of CFS sufferers (due to pathetic diagnostic criteria with lax screening tools), we have the scandalous situation that CFS patients end up on Ritalin for their 'ADHD' (requires no test, or their alleged mind-body 'Anxiety Disorder' (requires no test) or their 'Agoraphobia' (requires no test) because the CFS patient believes, or is coerced to believe that getting locked in the cupboard by Uncle Buck lead
    to this in later life.

    This is why British iron first Psychiatry getting anywhere near ME or Lyme (as CFS) is incredibly dangerous and leads to ME, Lyme patients being unaware their life time of 'unexplained anxiety', was organic all along and often treatable all along,and that is why psych drugs failed in these patients.
     
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  15. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    I also find that the traumatic childhood story holds a lot of power over people who are very willing to embrace it. For people sensitive enough anything can be a trauma. Moving house can be traumatic. So when someone in authority suggests this one can find reasons to support it.
    And it offers the illusion of closure. Don't look further we've found the problem. Therefore there is some relief at finally getting to tackling the problem. Unfortunately often that's where it all gets stuck but by then you are invested in it working.
    And there is the not small issue of cognitive fatigue. Wanting it to be over to find the solution. Not being able to work too hard of not having the stamina to wait it out and consider alternatives. This is just taking advantage of vulnerable people and is reprehensible.
     
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  16. Research 1st

    Research 1st Severe ME, POTS & MCAS.

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    *My bolding above...

    Well said. I have found the process of being diagnosed with 'CFS' a traumatic experience in the NHS, due to the abuse I suffer from medical professionals who doubt the disease is 'genuine' and from this the huge misdiagnostic nightmare that follows a CFS diagnosis. Namely, when bedridden in hospitals you get forced (CBT GET) to 'reduce' symptoms, that makes the disease worse in my case. When you get worse in hospital, they then blame you more for getting worse and say you are being obstructive and breaking you commitment (they call it a contract) to engage in CBT for your 'CFS/ME'.

    If there was a 'cure' I'd now need counselling for the rest of my life. Others might not and be pragmatic and accept loss, I won't do. Conversely other things I can cope with, others can't. Thus you're very correct in saying the person themselves decides what is a trauma.

    Also you made a good point that focussing on this (such as via coercion by authority), might then be a reason to support it, when you may not have done otherwise.I forget this name in psychology, but it's a word meaning a therapist or doctor 'suggests' something, and then the client adopts it into their own psyche. By doing this, the patients then validates this newly adopted malady as real to them (after an authority figure causing it via suggestion).
     
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  17. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    To fix something you first have to know what is wrong.

    There are no lab tests for any psychiatric disorders. The moment an objective test is developed, the disease is transferred out of psychiatry into some other speciality.
     
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  18. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    @Research 1st

    I'm sorry to hear about what has been done to you by the psych profession. In a better world this would lead to some kind of acknowledgement and compensation and help. In an even better world it wouldn't happen.
    Psychiatry has a lot to answer for.
     
  19. caledonia

    caledonia

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    This has already been discovered and put in practice by William Walsh for something like 30 years. The brain runs on the nutrients you take in from your diet. Your genetics and epigenetics (environmental factors which cause genes to turn on or off) can affect brain functioning.

    Mental health issues can be caused by things like over or undermethylation, copper imbalance, pyrrole disorder, toxic metals, gut dysbiosis, essential fatty acid deficiency and so on.

    So you fix the underlying problem(s) at the cellular level and your mental health improves.

    Here is a good page summarizing Walsh's approach. http://www.walshinstitute.org/biochemical-individuality--nutrition.html

    This is based on nutrient measurements of tens of thousands of people with various mental health issues over decades - a very impressive body of work.
     
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  20. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

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    I am not saying it is the only cause, but there is definitely a component and a root cause for many cases, these thought patterns and beliefs also attribute to a vicious cycle that can be very hard to break. A person can feel the effects of anxiousness, or feeling depressed, but without the accompanying thought processes.

    In this case they feel a bit anxious or depressed for multiple causes, but it is not a "problem" for them. They are much better able to let the feelings pass and not feel so overwhelmed and disabled from it. I say this out of my own experiences with anxiety and helping hundreds of others.

    It was a very common sense thing for myself and others I helped, you could easily feel why someone at times can easily perpetuate their anxiety and depression and what thoughts they believed specifically flooded them with despair or panic. I had an anxiety disorder for over eight years and was on heavy doses of medication, but fully cured myself by practicing mindfulness and some CBT tools.I have no more anxiety, no more pills, no more "problems".

    There is a very real mind-body connection that roots in different mental disorders including PTSD. However it is not the only reason, there are many different causes that can be at play. When doctors start blaming mental illness for physical illnesses that are not testable medically that is when things become dangerous and infuriatingly backwards for the medical community as a whole.

    The feelings of anxiety and depression can have many causes and it is important to address these things to help return homeostasis to our bodies and let our nerves and bodies rest and be at ease. But to say it is simply one way or the other, and not take into consideration the many possibilities even if it is out of our scope of experience is neglected the many different reasons a person could be ill at ease in the first place, and delay a full and lasting recovery of these people.
     
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