Psychiatry and the Human Brain

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The typical human brain weighs about 3 pounds (roughly 2% of your body’s weight) but uses 20% of your body’s total energy and oxygen intake. Scientists estimate that our brains contain roughly 86 billion brain cells and that more than 100,000 chemical reactions take place in the brain every second! The average brain generates around 50,000 thoughts per day and in most people 70% of these thoughts are negative. With so much constantly occurring in the human brain, it is common for problems to arise or for chemicals to become imbalanced. Your brain can bring about sudden problems such as panic attacks, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, and hearing “voices” or it can cause more long-term effects such as making you feel distorted or out of control with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness.

Mental disorders are brain disorders

Changes in the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the nervous system can cause normal brain development and function can go awry, leading to mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. These mental disorders affect millions of people around the world and are actually quite common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “about 25% of American adults (those ages 18 and older) and about 13% of American children (those ages 8 to 15) are diagnosed with a mental disorder during a given year.”

Psychiatric diagnoses

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who is qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems and make specific diagnoses based on criteria established in APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5).

Psychiatric research

In an effort to develop better therapies and faster relief with fewer side effects, researchers are studying brain areas affected by psychiatric disorders and trying to identify factors that increase the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. They are finding structural differences in the brains of some people with some psychiatric disorders, including genetic makeup and exposure to early life stress or brain trauma.

At Georgia Psychiatric Consultants, we are trained to identify mental disorders and, if a diagnosis is made, assist in your therapy and treatment. We offer multiple options and are always up to date on the latest research. If you or someone you love is in need of our expertise, call us today.

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