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.
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