How many times have you heard that a mental health diagnosis is incurable?

This erroneous is belief is far too prevalent.

The concept of neuroplasticity is nothing new. In fact it has been around since the 1800’s.

However, for most people “seeing is believing” and the brain has been shrouded in mystery due to our prior inability to study its activity in any depth.

Unfortunately, this led to the mental health community’s acceptance that one has to work with the gray matter inherited at birth when it comes to cognitive abilities.

The mainstream belief that our circuitry is formed and finalized in childhood reigned supreme.

Incurablable Mental Health Diagnosis

The Beauty of Neuroplasticity

In other words, if you birthed a child with cerebral palsy the advice would be to accept their limitations and plan for a lifetime of care.

Incredibly, doctors also believed that the aging process caused brain cells to simply died off rendering self improvement in later years obsolete.

Our lack of knowledge led to the needless placement of limitations on people that might have otherwise been able to improve their lot in life had they known about neuroplasticity.

This was especially true in the mental health arena. After a mental health diagnosis, patients are often prepared for a lifetime of learning to cope with the incurable nature of their disease.

Mental Health Diagnosis

Whether you receive a diagnosis for schizophrenia, bipolarity or depression, the advice is usually geared towards how to live a fuller life with knowing you will be unable to free yourself from the bonds of the illness.

Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth! fMRIs have been able to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that the brain has the ability to change and that no one is hard wired.

Throughout our lifetime we all develop new neural pathways. This flexibility enables to the brain to compensate for everything from disease to changes in one’s environment.

How Change Happens 

Changes in the brain happen in three different ways:

1. Chemical Changes: Short-term actions and reactions trigger neurons, which alter the concentration of various chemicals in the brain.

2. Structural Changes: This has to do with the connection between neurons and the integrated network of regions in the brain. This occurs when long-term change occurs.

3. Changes in Function: As you continue to use an area in the brain you increase its excitability. In this case, whole networks change.

* The above listed changes can happen independently, more often than not they occur in concert with one another to support the learning process.

Changes Brain Mental Health Diagnosis

You Gotta Put In the Work to Change a Mental Health Diagnosis 

What scientists have found in the past decade is that your behavior is the best driver of neuroplasticity. In other words, with practice and learning you can stimulate great structural, chemical and functional changes in the brain.

The catch is, you must recognize that these changes can be positive or negative. It really depends on the proper stimulation. There is indeed is a dark side to the malleability of the brain.

The limitations you place on yourself and the negative feelings you pick up can become hardwired as well.

If you believe you are sick or that something is wrong with you, you will become what you think. The key is to combat this with positive thinking and practice.

There is no instant pudding here.

 

Mental Health Diagnosis Work

Let’s say I am working with someone who has OCD. Rewards are not immediate in relation to the work put in. It’s like developing a physical fitness routine.

Slowly you build the muscles up over time and then one day you see how the hard work has paid off. It’s a cumulative experience. Setbacks are to be expected, but if you keep on going you will see your life change before your very eyes.

Whether you receive a diagnosis for schizophrenia, bipolarity or depression, the advice is usually geared towards how to live a fuller life with knowing you will be unable to free yourself from the bonds of the illness.

Mental Health Diagnosis Healing

Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth! fMRIs have been able to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that the brain has the ability to change and that no one is hard wired.

Throughout our lifetime we all develop new neural pathways. This flexibility enables to the brain to compensate for everything from disease to changes in one’s environment.

In my practice I have seen people fight back from the depths of despair. Through mental exercises, they have been able to transform they way the look at the world and interact with others. It is possible to find yourself and true happiness in the process.

This research is a gift for each and every one of us.

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