We’re all familiar with mold. You may have wiped it off your bathroom sink, found it on an old leather coat in the back of your closet, or seen it in your shower. But there’s another type of mold—one that lurks behind the walls, in air ducts, and in crawl spaces that can wreak havoc with your brain health. This type of black mold (Stachybotrys) is actually a toxin that releases toxic gas and spores into the air. When the toxins are inhaled or enter your body through your skin’s pores, the toxic gases can disrupt healthy brain function and impact behavior.
Many other toxins in the environment can also harm your brain. On a daily basis, we are exposed to a broad range of chemicals, fumes, pesticides, and products that poison our brain. Some of the more common ones include:
These everyday toxins are absorbed into our bodies and can eventually impact the brain. The more exposure you have to these everyday toxins, the greater your risk for harming your brain and developing symptoms.
Exposure to toxic mold is becoming more common, in part due to construction trends. Homes in America are typically constructed using wood and drywall, where mold thrives. Even worse, did you know that half of the buildings in the United States—schools, office buildings, hotels, and more—may be water damaged? This makes them prime breeding grounds for mold.
However, not everybody is susceptible to developing symptoms from toxic mold exposure. It is estimated that only about 25% of people are vulnerable to mold toxicity due to a genetic predisposition. For example, mold in a home may affect only one family member even though the whole family is exposed to it.
As for other environmental toxins, everybody is potentially at risk for exposure. The more you come in contact with these substances, the greater your risk for developing symptoms.
Many people are familiar with the physiological reactions to mold, such as breathing problems. What isn’t as commonly known is that exposure to mold can also produce a variety of neuropsychological issues, including:
Other environmental toxins can produce many of these same symptoms. They also increase the risk of depression, suicide, ADHD, learning problems, memory problems, brain fog, autism, temper outbursts, psychotic behavior, and dementia.
Because mold toxicity and other environmental toxins can produce such a wide range of symptoms, it is often misdiagnosed. It may be mistaken for a traumatic brain injury, the first signs of dementia, or Lyme disease, or your symptoms may be written off as depression or anxiety.
Unfortunately, traditional psychiatry remains the only medical field that rarely looks at the organ it treats, so no one will look at your brain to see if there are signs of toxicity. And most likely no one will even consider that your symptoms might be due to exposure to mold or other toxins. If you visit a healthcare professional with symptoms of depression or memory loss, chances are they will never ask you if you had a water leak at home, if you are a house painter, or if you are a hairdresser.
Mold toxicity and other types of brain toxicity remain underdiagnosed. The medical community has been slow to acknowledge the association between exposure to mold and other toxins as a cause for psychiatric symptoms. Sadly, when people with undetected exposure to mold or other toxins are misdiagnosed, treatments often don’t work. And in some cases, they can make symptoms worse. Without the appropriate treatment and with continued exposure to the toxin, your brain can be subjected to further injury.
This can eventually lead to a worsening of your symptoms and can impact other areas of your life, including your career and relationships. Without the appropriate treatment, brain toxicity can steal your mind and steal your life.
If you are experiencing psychiatric symptoms and you aren’t responding to treatment, it’s worth investigating if exposure to mold or other toxins may be the root cause.
The good news is that it is possible to accurately diagnose brain toxicity with the help of brain SPECT imaging. SPECT measures blood flow and activity in the brain, and it shows three things: healthy activity, underactive areas, and overactive areas. On brain scans, an overall pattern of low blood flow is commonly seen in brain toxicity.
When brain toxicity patterns are visible, we perform additional testing and assess your personal history to confirm if mold or other toxins are the underlying problems.
With a comprehensive evaluation, you can get an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that is personalized for your needs. It’s important to know that there are successful treatments available to overcome brain toxicity.
At Amen Clinics, we diagnosed and treated brain toxicity and the associated neuropsychiatric symptoms in hundreds of people. Unlike traditional psychiatry, which basically throws darts in the dark at problems, Amen Clinics use brain SPECT imaging to take the guesswork out of psychiatry. Based on our brain imaging work—over 150,000 functional brain scans and growing—we can identify patterns in the brain that indicate brain toxicity may be the root cause of symptoms.
Our brain SPECT scans can also:
At Amen Clinics, brain imaging is part of a comprehensive evaluation that also includes an assessment of the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that can contribute to symptoms. Based on this unique brain-body assessment, we tailor treatments and strategies to help you overcome your symptoms.
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