10 Ways Brain Imaging Changes Depression Treatment
Is depression interfering with your daily life? Are you tired of trying antidepressant after antidepressant without results? Are you curious about how our approach is different than others you’ve tried?
Brain SPECT imaging provides us with a detailed map of your brain that supports the creation of a customized treatment plan based on your scan results.
Ariel had been experiencing symptoms of depression for over two years. She was tired, had trouble sleeping, was filled with negative thoughts, lacked motivation, and was beginning to have suicidal thoughts. The symptom that was most difficult for her husband though, was her complete loss of interest in sex. He was ready to leave her because he thought she wasn’t interested in him anymore.
Having her brain scanned using a technology called SPECT changed everything. The brain scan showed that a part of Ariel’s brain called the limbic system was working way too hard, which is common in people with depression. With this information, her husband realized Ariel hadn’t fallen out of love with him. She had a brain imbalance. The brain scan helped identify find the most effective solutions for Ariel and together, she and her husband kept her on track with her treatment plan, and their relationship eventually grew even stronger.
A SPECT brain scan changed Ariel’s life.
10 Ways it can Help You with Your Depression
1. Brain scans show that depression is a brain disorder.
Seeing your brain scan helps you understand that depression is not a “mental” health condition, but rather a brain health issue.
2. Brain imaging shows there are 7 types of depression.
Many people, including those in the medical field, believe that everybody with depression can be treated the same way. Wrong! Thanks to brain SPECT imaging research, it is now known that depression is not a single or simple disorder. In fact, there are 7 types of depression, and they each need targeted solutions. The 7 types of depression are:
Type 1: Pure Anxiety
Type 2: Pure Depression
Type 3: Mixed Anxiety/Depression
Type 4: Over-focused Anxiety/Depression
Type 5: Temporal Lobe Anxiety/Depression
Type 6: Cyclic Anxiety/Depression
Type 7: Unfocused Anxiety/Depression
3. Seeing your brain scan reduces stigma.
In a 2018 survey, 31% of respondents agreed that a weak personality causes depression. Sadly, the stigma surrounding what causes this condition can prevent people from seeking treatment. Seeing on brain scans that depression is a brain issue—NOT a personality weakness—can help you move past the shame you may feel to get the help you need.
4. Brain imaging helps families get more involved in healing.
Just as people with depression may think a character flaw is the cause of their condition, family members may have the same belief. When loved ones—like Ariel’s husband—finally understand that depression is a brain problem, they are much more likely to be forgiving and supportive in helping you through the healing process.
5. Brain scans can show evidence of the root cause of your depression.
Depression can have many causes. For example, concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are associated with an increased risk for the condition, and hormones that are out of balance can lead to symptoms of depression. Brain imaging tests can point to the root causes of your depression and help find the best-personalized solutions.
6. Brain scans encourage better compliance.
Although depression is a treatable condition, many people don’t follow through on their treatment plan. They may skip or drop out of therapy sessions, neglect to fill prescriptions, or take medicine inconsistently. Research shows that depression treatment non-adherence rates are as high as 52%. When people are able to see on brain scans that there is abnormal activity in certain areas of their brain, it increases compliance with treatment plans.
7. Progress can be seen on brain scans.
Brain imaging follow-up scans provide an opportunity for you to see improvement in the health of your brain. When you have visual confirmation that the efforts you are making are paying off, it encourages you to continue with the treatment plan. And brain scans let you know if treatment needs adjusting to speed up your progress.
8. Brain imaging can show co-occurring conditions.
People with depression often have other conditions, such as anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or addiction. Brain scans provide vital clues to the existence of co-existing conditions, so you can get a comprehensive treatment plan personalized for your needs.
9. Brain scans take the guesswork out of psychiatry.
Psychiatry remains the only medical field that rarely looks at the organ it treats. Because of this, the traditional treatment strategy involves a lot of guesswork. Brain imaging provides visual data to take the guesswork out of diagnosis and treatment.
10. Before-and-after brain scans help you believe you can change your brain and change your life.
Viewing the brain scans of people who have overcome depression and improved their quality of life is a powerful motivator that gives you the belief that you can do it too.
At Amen Clinics, brain SPECT imaging is performed as a component of a comprehensive evaluation for people with symptoms of depression. The Amen Clinics Method takes an integrative approach to diagnosis and treatment includes looking at the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of your life to identify areas that can be optimized.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of depression, call 888-288-9834 to talk to a specialist today or schedule a visit.