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Theresa’s Story – Imaging Really Does Make A Difference

Ten years prior to coming to Amen Clinics, Theresa would have described her life as “amazing.” However, a series of very stressful life events had sent her into a tailspin. This began in 2006 when her infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer she developed stress, struggles with mood, and anxiety.

“Dear God, if I am not going to get any better, just let me die.”  After her decade-long struggle battling trauma, working with a variety of therapists, and trying countless medications, 43-year-old Theresa recalls uttering these words aloud. Theresa began experiencing difficulty sleeping, which was addressed with different sleeping medications.

When Theresa came to Amen Clinics for an evaluation after seeing one of Dr. Amen’s PBS specials, she was suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Theresa’s Downward Spiral

A few years later, her older daughter was diagnosed with anorexia and a few years after that, her father’s health began failing. Theresa became his primary caretaker until his death two years ago. Additionally, she was experiencing financial stress due to the mounting medical bills and she had gained a substantial amount of weight due to “stress eating” and feeling too fatigued to exercise. She felt that these issues had caused her to become forgetful.

During this time, her insomnia, depression, and anxiety significantly increased. Again, she was given a variety of different medications to try to alleviate her symptoms, some of which seemed to work for a little while before losing their effectiveness. She was also in and out of therapy but didn’t seem to be getting any better.

Prior to coming to Amen Clinics, Theresa feared that no one would be able to figure out what was wrong with her.

The findings from Theresa’s scans revealed marked increased activity in her thalamus which is associated with mood problems as well as marked increased activity in her basal ganglia which is found with anxiety disorders. There were some surprising findings as well – notably, flattening of her prefrontal pole and decreased activity of her temporal, parietal and occipital lobe as well as her prefrontal pole. These findings are indicative of past brain injury she didn’t realize she had!

The clinical history viewed in the context of SPECT imaging allowed the Amen Clinics physicians to more fully understand Theresa’s underlying brain physiology so they could create the best possible and most individualized treatment plan for optimizing her brain health. This included personalized supplement, nutritional, and exercise recommendations.

In addition, it was recommended that she begin Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which helps address emotional trauma and Neurofeedback which can help train one’s brain waves to produce healthy patterns, activating areas that need greater stimulation, and calming areas that are overactive.

Theresa’s Improvement

By following these recommendations, Theresa began to feel significantly better. “I am really looking forward to going on a date with my husband tonight. But you know the best part? Last weekend, instead of hiding in my room, I played ball with my kids – they have their mom back!”

Theresa’s story wonderfully illustrates the importance of SPECT imaging and how it can transform an individual’s life. If the Amen Clinics physicians had not had the ability to physically see her brain, they would have had to simply guess at what was going on in Theresa’s brain – just as all of the other treatment professionals had done up to that point.

At Amen Clinics, we want to help you learn more about your brain and how you can make it better, not only for yourself but for the generations that follow. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit today.

*names and/or medical details have been changed to protect the former patient’s identity

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COMMENTS

  1. Mary Beth Underwood says:

    I can relate in having to deal with multiple brain injuries over almost 11 years. I’m treating with Dr Paul Harch using HBOT and had some healing last year. I’ve resumed HBOT this year to hopefully finish what was started healing wise. It’s been a long and difficult journey. It’s never just the patient affected either. It’s everyone around them especially their families. SPECT brain scans are a great tool in helping get the patient the proper care and also verifies the damage done. It validates what the patient has been through when many doctors don’t seem to have a clue on what to do for brain injury or say nothing is wrong with you even with prior images like CT and MRI and qEEG that show there are extensive injuries. It’s been grueling to say the least.

  2. iamli3 says:

    nice story , keep up the good work….

  3. MeowRia says:

    I’ve fallen alot over the past decade and have hit my head HARD several times. I’ve been doing research lately because I think I may have MS and came across this website and learned about SPECT, which I find highly intriguing. “Theresa’s” and Mary Beth’s stories could almost be my own. I’ve been wondering if there is a cumulative effect of the hits my head has taken. I wish I had a different health insurance (I have Kaiser) so that I could have a chance to be seen and diagnosed by the Amens Clinics. I collect disability because of my depression, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. I have the family that dismisses me because they don’t take mental illnesses as a reason, just an excuse. I’ve had the friends who give me the pity look and go on their way. I take the cocktail of medications. I’ve tried talk therapy. I’ve even tried ECT and now I wonder what THAT did to my brain besides take away many memories. The SPECT sounds like something I really want to try. Something in the 21st century. I can’t believe in these days of hi-tech that we are still using the old, stand-by ways (i.e. medications, talk therapy) and not developing new ways to treat these debilitating conditions like the Amens Clinics have.

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