How Do You Know Unless You Look?

brain imaging

Imagine this situation…

You head to the orthopedic specialist’s office due to knee pain that you are experiencing. After asking you questions about the knee pain and bending your leg back and forth a few times, he tells you that you need knee surgery. Would you trust this guesswork diagnostic? Of course not!

Unfortunately, this scenario is similar to how psychiatry is commonly practiced today – in much the same way they did in 1840 when Abraham Lincoln was depressed…a doctor assesses your symptoms, forms a diagnosis based on those reported symptoms, and then prescribes a medication at a dosage that may or may not work.

From there, it’s a matter of watching to see if he or she got it right. Many times patients will get multiple diagnoses and prescriptions before they find relief – if at all. Treatment success rates have not improved in decades, even though technology and science have progressed dramatically.

Did you know that psychiatrists are the ONLY medical specialists who rarely look at the organ they treat?

Brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging is demonstrating that there is a better way. SPECT imaging is a well-established nuclear medicine procedure that looks at blood flow and activity in the brain. It’s different from an MRI or CT scan, which are anatomical studies that examine the brain’s structure or how it physically looks. SPECT looks at how the brain works.

SPECT allows physicians to look deep inside the brain and observe three things:

  • Areas of the brain that work well
  • Areas of the brain that work too hard
  • Areas of the brain that do not work hard enough

You’ve heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a map is worth a thousand pictures. A map tells you where you are and gives you directions on how to get to where you want to go. That is what SPECT imaging does for us at Amen Clinics. It gives us a map to help us better diagnose and treat our patients.


Here are just a few of the significant things you will discover:

  • Why it is so problematic when physicians “fly blind”
  • What SPECT scanning causes 8 out of 10 doctors to do
  • What oxygen deprivation, mold exposure, and Lyme disease have in common

After now looking at more than 150,000 scans done on people from 120 countries around the world, some of the other important lessons that we’ve learned are:

  • Illnesses like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and addictions are NOT single or simple disorders in the brain and they all have multiple types, each requiring a unique treatment intervention.
  • Mild traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of psychiatric illness and many mental health professionals miss it in patients because they rarely look at the brains of their patients. Brain injuries are a major cause of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, ADHD symptoms, suicide, and homelessness.
  • Without looking at the brain, many important pieces of information are missed, which can hurt you or someone you love.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be seen with a SPECT scan years before people have symptoms. SPECT is a leading indicator of problems, meaning it shows evidence of the disease process years before people show signs of it. Anatomical studies, such as CT and MRI are lagging indicators. They show the problems later in the course of the illness when interventions tend to be less effective.
  • 77% of patients reported experiencing considerable improvement after six months when treated with the Amen Clinics Method.

Imaging changes everything. At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with disorders like ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, brain injury, addictions, memory issues, and much, much more. If you are ready to change your brain and change your life, give us a call today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.


  1. I wish more than anything I could afford to go to this clinic. I’ve seen Dr. Amen on PBS and I’ve read many articles about mental disorders. This man knows what he’s talking about more than just guessing and throwing a bunch of pills at someone saying, let’s try this and see if it helps.
    I’ve seen several psychiatrists who in 15-30 only guess at what will help me. I’m disabled with back problems and on limited income. So much of the meds they put me on are extremely expensive and so far none have helped. Rarely are they even covered by my insurance.
    I was diagnosed with adult ADD after one of my daughters was diagnosed and since it’s genetic, it was discovered that I have it. I’ve suffered with depression off and on all my adult life. My only sibling committed suicide in 2014 and it threw me into a tailspin. I was then diagnosed as Bipolar2. I have yet to find any meds that help me. Instead of getting better, I’m getting worse AND then pulled me off my Vyvanse which helped my ADD. I don’t think anyone knows what’s wrong with me.
    On an added note, when I was 13 I was hit in the nose with a baseball. I was knocked unconscious and my nose was fractured. Also, I fell from a tree as a young child and landed on my back, also hitting my head. It was a significant fall from about 12-15 feet
    up. I have also been in a car wreck where I was flung around and my head hit the windshield, the rear view mirror and the drivers side window. My point is that any of these incidents could have caused damage to me. I’m tired of being treated like a ginuea pig! I tired of having expensive meds pushed on me that have done nothing but cause me to gain 40 pounds!! I would love some help!

    Comment by Susan Grinstead Paulson — June 29, 2016 @ 1:30 PM

  2. Yes, I’d like to do the SPECT scan etc. However I have been unable to get the information on the services and cost I requested both by calling their 888 number as submitting an online request using their contact us online tool with no response last week. The lady I spoke with on the phone said she would email me the information, which still hasn’t happened. It makes me wonder what their services will actually be like. Will it be similar to the chaotic inefficient normal medical system service or will it be excellent service? If it is like the normal medical system forget it. Really makes me wonder.

    Comment by Craig Waldron — June 29, 2016 @ 7:26 PM

  3. What about your Spiritual aspect ! – . Personally i go to a catholic church, (which is allways open )- to pray to the mother of Jesus, Mary, plus an Indian Teacher, whose teachings are about forgiveness and selfless service. Very often i find my prayers are answered in the form of new life experiences – .Don’t think you are forever injured because something happened to you in the past. When you choose to get of the medication, then do it gradually over some months – and make sure you have enough time during your week to sweat in a sauna – and please don’t forget to enjoy the best of nature near your home, whenever you have the time

    Comment by William Poulsen — June 30, 2016 @ 1:43 AM

  4. I am Christian and I believe in prayer. However I want everyone
    to understand about mental illness. It ISNT caused by your thoughts!! You can’t just go fur a little walk and look at nature and feel better anymore than you could do those things and heal your cancer or lower your insulin levels. People need to understand that mental is caused by something going wrong in your body and likely something genetic since it seems to run in families. I know my brain doesn’t manufacture enough serotonin. That is like someone whose body doesn’t manufacture enough
    insulin! It’s not caused by thoughts and it can’t be cured
    by all the things people suggest you to do. It’s a physical problem and illness of the brain!!!

    Comment by Susan Grinstead Paulson — June 30, 2016 @ 2:57 PM

  5. I have found long walks in nature to be especially helpful. I also find prayer to be helpful. I have several saints that I ask for intercession on a daily basis. I had mumps encephalitis when I was seven years old and I have always been a little slow.Sometimes I feel that my parents did not tell me the full extent of the brain damage I was left with. I was told only that my motor coordination would be affected. I have some college and I have worked and am working in a very competitive environment. I am a single mother with an adult son who besides being single is very successful and has his masters degree. Sometimes I feel like I have to fight twice as hard as everyone else for even the small givens in life. I feel like everyone knows or thinks I am a lot stupider than I am..For that reason I overcompensate and I do not like being around people. Anyway I too have been through the psychiatric circus and been given a lot of meds none of which helped and most only have the affect of making me sleep 24/7. I think some of them may have done harm. I left that world 30 years ago and I am now 61. The only medicine that ever helped me was thyroid medicine which for me was like putting on glasses because I could see all kinds of details I didn’t see before. However after about 8 months of thyroid medicine it quits working at any dose. I like Dr Amens approach because one can actually see what is wrong. There isn’t a lot of room to guess.

    Comment by Adelia L Hitt — July 1, 2016 @ 12:43 PM

  6. Hi Susan, Dr. Amen has a new program called Brain Fit Life that costs about $300.00, & you do it online. I’s a holistic program, meaning you get the benefits of diet, exercise, Luminosity-type fun brain exercises you do on your computer, and other things that help the ADHD. Medicine can be helpful, but unfortunately, you haven’t had luck w/your doctors. Have you gone to a psychiatrist? I have Inattentive ADHD, diagnosed back in Nov. 2009, @ the Amen Clinic, & before that I’d never seen a psychiatrist for meds. Always my family practitioner, who never put me on a high enough dose of meds. to work for me, & I tried about 8 different ones w/out any success. Now I’m on a combo of Effexor & Wellbutrin, which work well for me, to help me with my anxiety and depression. I’m not on anything for the ADHD, and need help with that, so when Dr. Amen’s Brain Fit Life came along, I jumped on it because I don’t want to be on anymore meds. I’m 48, & went through menopause at 45 (never pregnant), so I take hormones (which also help my anxiety, as well as the intense hot flashes I used to get, as well as horrible night sweats, when I was going through it). I took Adderall at one point because it had been recommended for me in my diagnosis @ the Amen Clinic (as well as Lyrica for my Fibromyalgia, which also did not work, but I find I do well taking 2 natural multiple mineral pills a day (1 in the morning with breakfast, the other one at night with dinner), and they provide the magnesium my muscles need to relieve pain. The Adderall did nothing for me, but give me just negative side effects, & I never did like being on amphetamine salts (which is what Adderall is made of. Basically, you’re on speed, which I didn’t like at all).

    Good luck to you, Susan!!! I’ll pray for you!!!

    PS – most of us w/depression and anxiety are predisposed to it, & may need meds. to help us out, but our thoughts also don’t help us out if they’re all or mostly negative, and that’s something you can learn to change (I have. Doesn’t mean my life is perfect, but it has helped me dramatically, & there are people who are no longer in my circle because of it (people that bring drama to my life, which I don’t need. I don’t hate them, I pray for them, but when you have ADHD, it’s not uncommon to have a chaotic family life, which I do, so it also helps me to deal with this, & stay positive, in the midst of it all (also a reason why I need positive friendships, and not ones with the added drama). Going for walks in nature would also benefit you. If you’re feeling really low, you may not want to, but try to force yourself because it will help you to feel better. Maybe at first you could just go for fun, instead of just for exercise, meaning that you could go at a slower pace, & just notice your surroundings, feel the air in your lungs, the breeze. Hear the birds chirping, the leaves rustling, etc… God’s Earth is SO amazing, and a glimpse of what life will be like when we depart this Earth. 🙂 Go for just a 5 or 10 minute walk at first, if you must. Then build up to 30 minutes. Maybe in there sometime, you’ll find you want to walk a little faster & get some exercise? Or you can walk for exercise, & then go on a walk for fun (not necessarily on the same day, but so you can have both exercise, & then just a walk to really take it all in. 🙂 ). Take care, and God bless!!!

    Comment by M Pilar Ojeda — July 10, 2016 @ 2:26 AM

  7. Hi Sima, the price can vary depending upon the situation. Please give our care coordinators a call and they can give you specific pricing and answer any questions you have. 888-288-9834.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 20, 2016 @ 11:49 AM

  8. i know i cant afford the clinic either. such a shame.

    Comment by Lea DiMento O'Brien — October 2, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

  9. u need an office in northern ma.

    Comment by Lea DiMento O'Brien — October 2, 2017 @ 3:29 PM

  10. I wish we could BOTH afford to get a diagnosis & treatment there

    Comment by Tracy Coomer — October 6, 2017 @ 1:18 AM

  11. Wish you had a clinic in the Denver Colorado area!

    Comment by Angie Richardson — December 30, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

  12. I have an airplane accident in 1992, and be in coma state for 45 days. Can your Amen clinic make a diagnostic on the condition of my brain?. How much is the cost of this análisis.

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