Posted by: CS01 | 2009/03/25

Brothers Psychiatrist


Can a MRI pick up if someone has a chemical inbalance in their brain?
My brother' s has been battling with depression for quite a number of years and he' s been on various anti-depressants but nothing seems to be helping.
My brother battles to sleep and the dosage (sleeping tablets) he is being prescribed is extremely strong - but when he takes it, it has no affect whatsoever. (the chemist told me the dosage is enough to put 5 grown men to sleep)

The Psychiatrist now wants to try putting him on lithium (sp). What are your comments regarding the use of lithium?

Wouldn' t shock therapy be able to help?

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Our expert says:
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No. And MRI picks up anatomy . structure. There is a complex, rarely available and extremely expensive form of scan that can pick up some chemical activities in the brain, but it's useless for the purposes you are thinking of. We infer the existence of the typical chemical imbalances in brain in depression from the chemistry of the antidepressants which work. Most sleeping pills are not useful in general or in Depression. You mention a Psychiatrist, and I'm pleased one is involved --- it requires that sort of expertise. If the basic antidepressants don't work ( and if one is sure the person isn't drinking, which messes up those meds and worsens depression, and that they don't have other problems like a low thyroid state, then one may add various drugs, including lithium or even thyroid hormone, as adjuvants, to get better effects from antidepressants. Also, if the illness isn't a pure depression, but Bipolar Disorder ( which includes depression an mood swings that also go UP into high's ), Lithium can be very useful as a mood stabilizer. I wouldn't use Lithium alone in a severe depression, without antidepresants as well.
Shock therapy ( see our earlier discossions today in the forum ) CAN help some people who are not responding to other methods of treatment,

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