Treating the brain or changing the mind?

The functioning of the brain is not well understood – we try as best we can to help people with disorders – of which some are medical, some are mental “only”. Some times just a change of behaviour would be beneficial to people themselves or their associates. Researchers are working hard to understand mechanisms, find tools, find drugs or treatments to improve peoples lives.

Psychology is a science of thinking, feeling and maybe also an art. It deals with human mental activity and and our behaviour: perception, attention, personal choices, emotion, relationships, group action….

Psychology is found in all human activity: singles, groups, organizations. Humans are not stable and can change their behaviour or be made to change behaviour in many ways. There are many -isms in psychology and we are really striving to understand human behaviour – healthy or not is often a question in itself.

When we turn our attention to the medical side of brain functioning we are in the realm of psychiatry – we deal with the brains circuitry, tissues, connections.

This is obviously not easy terrain: Do you have a need for a good therapist or are your case about medicines or even surgery?

It all starts with the primary care doctors who need tools in the form of guidelines. Many countries have them, and the WHO has them: the Intervention Guide. In psychiatry the symptoms tell you what the disease is, but the understanding is not always good, and the resources are not always there. Research is heavy, and themes are genetics, mechanisms, side-effects, drugs.

Many people are not treated today – depression is rampant, many people with epilepsy are left on their own.

So good work is being done and we will gradually find out more and treat more people.

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