How Has the Science of Understanding Mental Health Changed?

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[BLANK_AUDIO] Traditionally, its seems that child mental health and psychiatric illness in general, has always been behind the curve for where physical illness has been. So that when 40 years ago if a white male in his 60s started experiencing chest pain and was [UNKNOWN] their left arm people will think they having heart attack and we treat them as though they had a heart attack.

Today we have a whole bunch of different interventions which can tell us very quickly if they're having indigestion or whether or not there's a specific part of their heart muscle that is breaking down. Child psychiatry has come late to that game and because of our diseases are in the brain, and that's really our last frontier, so that, us we are now able to do more than take histories, that we're able to actually neural image the brain, that we're able to look at EEG's and see the kind of activity that you see in kids who have 'typical brains' versus atypical brains.

We're able to really help parents recognize how real, and therefore eliminate the stigma that surrounds this disorders. I think it's really important for us to recognize that some of those break throughs, have been so wonderful on the research side, but they're not ready for prime time.

Meaning that we can tell you the difference between the brain of a kid with ADHD versus a child who doesn't, with a structural MRI or with a functional MRI. But that doesn't mean that we are ready to use those machines to make diagnosis in the public because of the cost, and because also we don't have enough data, and there we are ready to tell an insurance company or tell an individual you have to pay for it so currently we still use an old fashion method which is the rest of medicine has been using for years, which is we take a history and taking a history from mum and dad and taking history the teacher an observations still are the most important things any physician does, but it's essential for a child and adolescent psychiatrist to use those skills properly to make a diagnosis.