Psychosurgery: Cure My Mind, Cut My Brain
April 30, 2014
The introduction of innovative biomedical technologies, as well as enhanced neuropharmacologic therapies, has provided the mental health community with the ability to treat mental health patients with quality care. Understanding the neurobiological basis of psychiatric disease may afford us with the ability to further our comprehension of the underlying mechanisms in these diseases, and thereby develop improved methodologies of treatment.
A very limited percentage of patients are eligible for neurosurgical intervention to treat their brain-based mental disorder. This extreme practice of psychosurgery illustrates how the biomedical community identifies neuro-substrate regions of the brain which may account for specific psychiatric disorders, and subsequently modify them in an attempt to alter behavior.
Chaotic. Extreme. Barbaric. Irresponsible.
These are the descriptions which the critic may impose on this art of medicine. Yet, the neuroscience community understands that every true medical breakthrough is met with its initial skepticism and resistance. And, if we are to fight the war on mental health with our complete repertoire of therapeutic interventions, than a comprehensive analysis on the evolution of this risky treatment option is warranted
Our modern understanding of functional neuroanatomy, combined with advances in stereotactic technology and functional imaging, creates a setting in which neurosurgery may offer a minimally invasive and highly selective treatment option for a variety of psychiatric illnesses.
Currently, the accepted therapeutic approach to most psychiatric disease involves a combination of well-supervised psychotherapy, pharmacological intervention and even in some instances, electroconvulsive therapy. However, despite these modern treatment methods, many patients fail to respond to treatments sufficiently, and unfortunately remain severely disabled by their disease.
Consequently, the performance of surgery to control the haunting symptoms of a disturbed mind may very well be a viable option in the future of psychiatric treatment.