For some reason, there are tons of people in this world who do not see mental illness as a real disease. These people are the ones who assume those suffering from mental illness are merely ‘exaggerating’ when they aren’t.
That being said, thanks to technology, we are able to characterize patients on a whole new level. This can be done through neuroimaging. Technology like this can make it easier to predict when someone is going to experience side effects from their medication as well.
Seeing the problem makes everything all the more real. Wayne State University actually used a brain MRI study to help unlock what they believe is the underlying anatomy, physiology, and chemistry under what we know as OCD. As you can see below children with OCD have different brains. Their anterior cingulate cortex is literally being high-jacked.
People/parents often feel much more relieved when they can actually see what is going on be it through a photo or even visible signs. Through these neuroimaging techniques make the malfunctioning areas of the brain are much easier to see. These same researchers actually even found that children 8 to 19 years old with OCD NEVER get all the clear signs. Who knows, maybe we will know things that we could have never imagined.
As this field grows and becomes even more amazing I cannot wait to see what is next. In time we may even be able to see if a child has an increased risk of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia;
Getting past the stigma is the worst part when it comes to mental illness. Hopefully, in time people will begin to see things differently.
(Featured Image Credit: Brain Imaging Research Division, Wayne State University School of Medicine, CC BY-SA)