The chief psychiatrist at Amen Clinics offers a holistic approach to treating an array of mental disorders.
Annibali uses the image of a busy brain bombarded by random thoughts to dramatize the need to “reclaim our brains” in order to live more productive lives. The author’s case studies, drawn from more than 30 years of clinical practice, run the gamut from hyperactivity to depression, poor job performance to difficulty in establishing relationships. He employs single-photon emission computed tomography as a preliminary method of assessing a client's problems and to judge improvement as treatment progresses. This procedure detects areas of high and low brain activation—e.g., in the amygdala, which regulates rapid emotional responses, or the prefrontal cortex, where cognitive functions are located. The scans can help to identify a root cause of dysfunctional behavior, which can then be adjusted therapeutically. Annibali illustrates the effectiveness of this approach with a discussion of ADHD. “Many people assume that individuals with ADHD have overactive brains,” he writes, yet surprisingly, the opposite is true. SPECT imaging shows a slowed-down prefrontal cortex. A seemingly out-of-control young person who runs around a classroom or an adult who has difficulty sticking to a routine task may have poor impulse control because they experience a suffocating sense of boredom caused by low brain activation. This is why the prescribed medication is often a mild adrenaline stimulant. The author cites the unexpected results from research studies showing that infants who demonstrate high reactivity to unfamiliar stimuli are likely to become withdrawn in their teens, while less-reactive infants become more relaxed and outgoing. Although in some instances, Annibali prescribes medication, cognitive behavioral therapy plays a large part in his practice. The author includes many tried-and-true self-help strategies, such as journaling, controlled breathing, exercise, and a healthy diet.
A well-rounded discussion of common mental problems and strategies for dealing with them.