Why don’t psychiatrists look at the brain: the case for the greater use of SPECT imaging in neuropsychiatry.

ABSTRACT:
Psychiatrists are the only medical specialists who rarely look at the organ they treat. The odds are that if a patient is having serious problems with feelings (e.g., depression), thoughts (e.g., schizophrenia), or behavior (e.g., violence), the psychiatrist will never order a brain scan. He or she will prescribe medication, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, or a host of other treatments that will change brain function—but will not know which areas of the patient’s brain work well, which areas work too hard, and which do not work hard enough. In my opinion, the lack of brain imaging has kept psychiatry behind medicine’s other specialties, reducing our effectiveness with patients and hindering our efforts to reduce stigma and improve compliance.

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