Tag Archives: The Brain

PSYCHIATRY 101 (Kind Of)

CLARIFICATION OF TERMS/VOCABULARY

I thought I knew what most of the language being used around me or in medical reports meant. Turns out I was wrong and so were a few of my Doctors. It’s obvious who keeps up with new research/education/diagnostic criteria and who doesn’t. All you have to do is look at some of the exams used in 2017 for Psychology/Sociology/Psychiatry/Neurology/Pharmacology to see there has been a change in thinking.

PSYCHOLOGY: The scientific study of behavior that is tested through scientific research.

SOCIOLOGY: The study of human social groups and society.

PSYCHIATRY: The study, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, of mental health disorders.

PSYCHOLOGIST VS PSYCHIATRIST: The each have different approaches and degrees/licensing. Psychologists are nonmedical professionals who train in methods of Psychological Testing, Psychotherapy, Analysis, and Research. The can not prescribe medications or ECT. Psychologists look at behavior and track sleep patterns, eating patterns, and negative thoughts. Psychiatrists do have medical degrees and graduate from medical school. Psychiatrists tend to look at biology and neurochemistry ruling out vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems or other medical reasons for mental health issues before making a diagnosis.

I’m going to focus on Psychiatry/Psychiatrists for now. It can be overwhelming when you read all of it so I’ll stick to the basics. These are some things I didn’t know and was afraid to ask.

What is the DSM?

The DSM (volume 5 now) is the standard classification manual of mental disorders published by the AMA (American Medical Association). A Psychiatrist basically uses this more for billing than anything else. When it comes to Psychiatric Disorders there is no one size fits all so they come as close as they can.

NOS

NOS means Not otherwise specified, again more of a billing thing and because you might show most of the symptoms of a disorder but not all of them but the Doctor is certain that you probably will in the future.

INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION

If you are admitted to a Psychiatric facility involuntarily you must be released in 72 hours. A probate hearing needs to happen within the 72 hours if they want you to remain an impatient involuntarily.

YOUR RIGHTS

As a patient you have the right to refuse treatment (including medications), the right to privacy, to keep personal items (except in cases of self harm), enter into legal contracts, and informed consent. It’s important to know this. I always felt I didn’t have the right to ask questions because they were the Doctors and more educated than me. But there were many times I should’ve spoke up and didn’t. This only added to my problems.

When you feel you are being held against your will and someone threatens to keep you as long as they want if you’re not a “good girl” it’s demeaning and terrifying to say the least.

To find out what is going on a Mental Status Assessment is done which is a view of Psychological Function in time that changes interview to interview. Doctors also use the following:

GENERAL APPEARANCE: grooming, how a person is dressed, hygiene, eye contact, posture, appearance vs stated age. (If you show up in your pajamas and you haven’t showered in weeks and are shuffling into the office most likely it isn’t going to go well)

ATTITUDE: (toward examiner) cooperative, warm, friendly, suspicious, guarded, hostile, apathetic, distant, combative, aggressive, seductive. (Pretty sure if you act seductive you’re receiving that 72 hour hold. Same with combative. I’ve been distant, guarded, hostile and cooperative I think)

BEHAVIOR AND ACTIVITY: Psychomotor Retardation (medical term), restless, agitated, hyperactive, tremors, tics, unusual movements/gestures, catatonia, gait and coordination. (I’ve had all of these at one time or another. It took a long time to figure out it was mostly due to my brain and trauma)

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE: Clarity, Speed, Volume, Relevancy, Pressured, Hesitant, Coherence and Fluency (So I really don’t do well in this department. If I am manic I will talk fast and go from topic to topic, I will also repeat myself. If in a depressive episode my voice is quieter, I have trouble finding words and if it’s a really bad day I will stutter or hesitated before saying a word. Either way it’s embarrassing when I’m in public I usually have to sit in my car and cry for a little bit before I can drive.)

THIS IS IT FOR NOW BUT THERE WILL BE MORE. I HOPE PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED. I ENJOY LEARNING AND RESEARCHING I ALSO DON’T THINK I’LL BE TRAVELING ANYWHERE SO I NEED A PROJECT. BBA3eDB

 

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NATURE VS. NURTURE (Fact or Fiction)

I left off with a mention of a Neuroscientist involved in a research project at UC Irvine. The project involved reviewing anatomical patterns in the brain that had a connection with psychopathic tendencies.

The Neuroscientist, James Fallon, put together the scans of murderers, schizophrenics, depressives, and people with other brain disorders. He added scans of his family and his own brain because Alzheimer’s ran his family and he was curious about the subject.

One day while looking at a large stack of scans, one stood out more than the others. This scan had clear characteristics of someone with Psychopathic tendencies. He could tell by the color of the label that it was someone from his family he just didn’t know who.

Fallon broke precedent and looked up who the scan belonged to. He was surprised to learn it was his.

Most people probably would’ve hid the information, as a man of science Fallon needed to know more. He had a series of genetic tests done that can indicate a risk for Psychopathic behavior. A variant of the MAO-A gene is linked with aggressive behavior. All of his genetic tests confirmed what the brain scan did.

When I read this all I could think is “How is this possible?”. How is it that a happily married family man could have all the markers of a Psychopath but not be one?

SOME PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

  • Competitive
  • Intentionally angering people to see a reaction
  • Psychologically aggressive
  • Physically aggressive
  • Narcissism
  • Antisocial Behavior

 

NATURE VS. NURTURE

There are actually more people like this than you know. A person who has some difficulty feeling true empathy for others, but can still keep their behavior socially acceptable.

Fallon had always known that he sometimes manipulated other people to get what he wanted. He was also motivated by power. His family’s ancestry had 7 alleged murderers including Lizzie Borden.

Before he was born his mother had several miscarriages. He was given a large amount of his parents attention and love.

Here is where it gets complicated. I’ll try not to put you to sleep.

Serotonin Transporter Protein = affects the development of the prefrontal cortex in complex ways. It can make the region more receptive to Environmental Influences.

A positive and loving childhood was a major factor in who James Fallon became.

FREE WILL

There is one more ingredient according to Fallon. That’s free will. Fallon is trying to be more conscious of other people’s feelings but also admits some of this has to do with his pride and proving to other people that he can.

CONCLUSION

It’s difficult to ignore the numbers. The statistics don’t lie. When you see 42% of convicted serial killers suffered from physical abuse as a child and 74% suffered psychological abuse it’s hard to ignore. If you add those numbers to the possibility of their brains having Psychopathic characteristics to begin with than what happens?

I am in NO WAY DEFENDING ANYONE. I am only interested in the brain side of things. The question of what if they had different childhoods? Would they have been the same. There are some serial killers where there is no physical or psychological abuse to be found. 28077_452145291513946_566614836_n

I’m not naïve. Sometimes people are just evil for the sake of being evil. I do know that I had two loving parents who were always there for me if I needed them. Our house, despite the turmoil, was still a loving house. We would fight each other but if anyone else said a bad word it wasn’t going to be pretty. No matter how much I complain about my sister or my dad I wouldn’t be alive without them. My brother taught me some of life’s most important lessons. He also gave me great taste in music. My mother gave me a heart that is too big and her hands. My father gave me his love of animals and his sarcasm or wit. Not necessarily a good thing. The wit part. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 


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