Biology Trumps Psychology
The myriad of mental health issues that exist are very real and have a profound impact on countless Americans. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis in order for the problem to be effectively treated. The vast majority of mental health issues are just that, mental health issues. However, there are dozens of medical, biological, chemical issues that can manifest as mental health issues. In these instances, treating the mental health symptoms, such as depression, may fail to address the true source of the symptoms. Before diagnosing a mental health disorder, it is critical to be on the lookout for possible medical conditions and rule them out. If there is an underlying medical condition, things will not improve or get better. This is an instance where biology trumps psychology.
Self-Advocacy and Thorough Assessment
Whether you are the patient or the provider, it is important that you be aware and on the lookout for biological and medical causes for mental health symptoms. It is important not to confuse symptoms for their causes. For example, don’t assume depressive symptoms automatically mean depression, or that psychotic symptoms automatically mean schizophrenia. If you are the patient presenting with mental health symptoms and you have no history of mental health problems and no obvious stressors (divorce, job loss, etc.) that might explain the symptoms; you should consider some possible medical issues. Similarly, if you have any of the following issues this could indicate a biological cause to the mental health problems: change in headache patterns, double vision, disorientation or memory problems, high blood pressure, or a history of head injuries to name just a few.
Medical Conditions that Can Manifest as Psychotic Disorders
People who are experiencing hallucinations and delusional thinking with no previous history of schizophrenia could be experiencing any of the following medical conditions: hypoglycemia, diabetic ketosis, delirium tremens (DT’s) stemming from alcohol or drug withdrawal, meningitis, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, disturbances in electrolytes, prolonged sleep deprivation, and simple drug impairment. As noted above, if there is no history of psychotic disorders, it is wise to see a physician who can run blood work and help rule out any medical causes for these symptoms.
Medical Conditions that Can Manifest as Depressive Disorders
Before settling for a diagnosis of depression, especially with no history and no environmental stressors, it is important to consider some of these medical conditions that could be creating the depressive symptoms: hypothyroidism, diabetic complications, heavy and regular alcohol abuse, brain tumors, cancers (especially lung and pancreatic), sleep apnea, adrenal hypo/hyperfunction, lupus, M.S., and a number of medications such as steroids, antihypertensives, and various drugs of abuse.
Remember that in 90-95% of cases, mental health symptoms are caused by mental health disorders. Nonetheless, it is imperative to be alert and on the lookout for possible medical or chemical causes of mental health issues. If you want to get assessed, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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