Psalm 139:13-14

13 - For You formed my inward parts;

       You wove me in my mother's womb.

14 - I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

       Wonderful are Your works,

       And my soul knows it very well.

God has wonderfully made our bodies and the functioning of our brains is incredibly complex. However, over many generations our genes have become corrupted and we are stuck with ailments such as mental illness, which are brain circuit problems.

Dr. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, gave the status of mental illness research at a NAMI Convention and it is summarized in a recent article.

He said that the brain is incredibly resilient, but not without limits. The current treatment plan of treating behavior needs to change to treatments based on biomarkers, like all other illnesses. Currently treatment starts at Stage IV of the illness. Mental illness develops as follows:

Stage I - Brain circuits begin to malfunction

Stage II - Warning signs of impending mental illness occurs - subtle changes in the individual

Stage III - First episode of mental illness occurs - Psychological break with reality

Stage IV - Extreme behavior problems occur - Bizarre behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide

Behavior is the last thing to go. As with heart disease, if you wait until the last thing happens, such as a heart attack, the outcomes are not good.

Lack of timely treatment has led to neuropsychiatric disorders becoming the leading cause of disability in the world - more than heart disease, cancer or injuries.

But there is hope. Research is being conducted by developing more accurate images of the brain, mapping of neural fiber pathways, and possibly, by the end of this year, researchers will be able to tell what the actual connectivity is between two parts of the brain. The hope is to be able to see what parts of the brain are affected by depression, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, and other disorders and to see how the brain changes with treatment.

Until more effective treatments are developed, we are stuck dealing with stage IV symptoms of the illness.

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"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of his Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Our hope for our sick loved ones is that their pain will cause them to seek and accept help, so that their lives will become better than what they are experiencing now.

Sunrise Valley Baptist Church 

5860 Blossom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95123

(Corner of Calero Avenue and Blossom Avenue)