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TEDTalk: Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness

October 07, 2015
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In this TEDTalk, Thomas Insel discusses the faults in discovering mental illness and the steps that need to be taken in order to lower the mortality rates. When it comes to diseases that have lowered mortality rates over the years (such as cancer and heart disease), it is due to the early detection and early intervention of the disease. These are the two steps to success. The treatment of mental illness has always been treated once signs of behavior were detected. Mental illness starts very early on, 50% of people with mental illness will have the onset disease by age 15, while 75% will by age 25. When it comes to these brain illnesses, behavior is the last thing to change and become apparent. Therefore, preventative intervention is necessary. According to Insel, there are changes in the brain a decade or more before you see the first signs of a behavioral change. The tools that researchers have allow them to detect brain changes much earlier on, long before the symptoms emerge. When it comes to diseases, like cancer and heart disease, that have lowered the mortality rate, it is because of early detection and early intervention. Instead of focusing on treatment to people already suffering from mental illness, it is essential to change the way these diseases are studied in order to make early detection a priority.
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