New Term: Brain Disorders

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Instead of calling disorders such as ADHD, PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia mental or behavioral disorders, Dr. Thomas Insel the National Institute of Mental Health Director suggests calling them brain disorders.  This shift highlights changes in how the diagnosis can be made.

In the past, ADHD, PTSD, OCD and schizophrenia were made by observing behaviors that are consistent with each disorder.  Now, such diagnoses can be made by reviewing detailed brain scans which show increased or decreased levels of activity.

The importance of this shift means that such disorders can not be ignored or devalued in importance.  They are real disorders and not subjects of the imagination, lack of discipline, or a spiritual issue.  Instead, they are discernible and diagnosable.

Early detection of these disorders can help to reduce the consequences of an undiagnosed disorder.  Consequences which sadly increase anxiety, depression and even suicide rates.

As a brain disorder, the dynamatics of brain functioning change first and then behavior changes.  Unfortunately, waiting for behavior changes to diagnosis disorders can sometimes be too late.

How this is going to impact your child who might be displaying early signs of a brain disorder is too early to tell.  But the good news is that this area is being studied and more accurate diagnosises are in the future.

Here is the link to listen to Dr. Insel’s lecture.  It is well worth your 15 minutes.


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