Mental Illness and Disorders

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Webster's definition of mental illness is; "Of, relating to, or affected with a disorder of the mind." An example of a mental illness is ADD/ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) which is actually a disorder but I consider it a mental illness also because both have chemical imbalances of the brain. This disorder has been studied and treated for over 50 years. ADHD/ADD is usually treated with specific drugs and therapy or a combination of both. It can be treated without drugs and therapy but I think both drugs and therapy is a much more effective method. This is true with all mental illnesses. A common question is: If they cant find out what causes these conditions then how are they diagnosed? This is the most critical area when trying to understand any mental illness or disorder. The lack of an accurate test continues to cause problems with patients suffering from these illnesses or disorders. The current system is the trial and error method which I was told by a doctor. This means that the doctor listens to what the patient tells him/her and from that makes an educated guess for diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis means a label for the rest of your life which can either a good or a bad thing. Treatment usually consists of the prescription drug or drugs that coincide with the disorder at hand and consistent doctor visits in which the patient is monitored for progress. The first step toward understanding is recognition. A person with habitual substance use or abuse is a good candidate as having a mental illness or disorder. As I mentioned on my home page I believe that when a person uses any drug or alcohol that person is trying to bring their body to some degree of balance(chemically). Some people are more chemically imbalanced than others which is the reason for different drug/alcohol tolerances. I believe that mental illness and disorders are tied to other illness, virus, disease, sickness through our bodies immune system. I thought of myself to be alone in these assumptions but after reading the words of Marcel Proust I found not, says, "For each illness that doctors cure with medicine, they provoke ten in healthy people by inoculating them with the virus that is a thousand times more powerful than any microbe: The idea that one is sick." With the emergence of AIDS, HIV, mental illness and other incurable diseases/viruses or disorders those people lives are being affected in negative ways. It is difficult to get through each day feeling that you have something wrong with you which can or can't be cured or fixed. The best and worse thing a doctor can tell a patient is they have discovered an incurable illness inside them. It's a good thing only because at that point at least they know what is ailing them. This also immediately alters a persons life in ways they cannot ignore, mentally, physically, financially, etc. I believe that it is natural for our brains to recognize, confront, and attempt to fix any problems that are interfering with our bodies natural growth process. This is called our immune system. This system includes our nervous, circular and lymphatic systems which both identify and attempt to fix any problems. This process is automatic and continuous and can be affected by positive and negative thoughts. These chemicals are responsible for energy, growth, memory, and other unconscious but vital operations necessary for us to live. The greatest concentrations of these chemicals are stored in the brain. There are many names for these chemicals but I believe they are separated into two sides, one being positive and the other negative. Some of these chemicals are related to certain drugs whether legal or not, when used, act as a temporary fix for any problem inside our bodies. Our bodies do have the ability to fix themselves but it is not known exactly how this occurs. These problems are the reason for drug and alcohol use and /or addiction. By using a drug that closely relates to certain chemicals our bodies produces it temporarily relieves our body's responsibility to work on these problems as normal. This information can and is being discovered by new methods being used by doctors everywhere, but the method that is most effective in diagnosing these problems is a scanning device called PET(Positron Emission Tomography). When doctors combine PET and MRI scans taken of a patients brain/body they are able to see obvious physical abnormalities in the area of question. For example, after combining PET and MRI scans of a group of patients who were diagnosed as having schizophrenia, then comparing the scans taken from "Normal" patients brains, scans of the schizophrenic subjects showed alike and definitely different areas of chemical binding sites. Meaning, schizophrenic patients have a need for certain chemicals that for some reason their bodies arent producing or balancing evenly. These results are nearly identical with other patients that have other different illneses or conditions. These tests have been used on patients with AIDS, Cancer, Encephalitous, Dementia, Parkinsons, and almost all other Psychological disorders with accuracy that betters all other tests. Before the PET scan, each patient/subject is injected with a radioactive chemical called a tracer. It sounds scary but these chemicals are safe. A brain chemical, seratonin, is chemically related to certain tracers that are used in PET scans. Due to the consistency in tracer binding sites (the area that the chemical tracers gather around) after injected and the relativity of these chemicals to seratonin this means that there are people that can truly benefit by using drugs. If thirty patients that were thought to have thyroid cancer was injected with a chemical tracer all thirty scans will show the chemical tracer gathering at or around the thyroid gland. These tracer chemicals somehow always gather around the area in question. With studies done on patients diagnosed with ADHD, PET scans show obvious abnormalities in certain brain locations. These locations are also prevalent in schizophrenic and bi polar patients. These common locations are the pre frontal cortex, thalamus and hypothalamus. These areas of the brain are necessary in coordinating all physical movements and actions with our decision making processes and both short and long term memories. This chemical imbalance explains why Schizophrenics and ADHD patients struggle with learning disabilities and basic every day memory functions. If you think that you might have a mental illness of any kind I suggest getting checked out by a doctor or other health professional. They do have the ability to help and should be used.