Mitochondrial disease is a physical disease, not a mental one. The condition results from the failure of the mitochondria, which are specialized parts in almost every cell of the body. The mitochondria create over 90% of the body’s energy; energy which is required to live and support the growth of the body.
When the mitochondria fail, the cell creates less energy, which can result in injury or even death to the cell. When this is a body-wide system failure, the person affected has a very difficult time and may not thrive.
Unfortunately, some of the symptoms of this disease are, at first glance, of a psychiatric nature.
Here are some of the ways the brain can be affected by mitochondrial disease :
- Developmental delays
- Neuro-psychiatric disturbances
- Autistic-like behavior
- Mental retardation
In some cases, the only symptom of a mitochondrial defect is a so-called psychiatric symptom. In some cases, this is even labeled “schizophrenia.”
Many of those in the psychiatric industry assume that a functional disorder is caused by mental illness. But there is evidence to counter this assumption. The physical condition caused by mitochondrial disease often manifests as mental stress of one kind or another.
How does a person know if his “mental distress” is in fact physical? There are tests to determine this condition, and as recently as January of this year (2013) it was reported that new and even more powerful tools are discovering secrets locked in the DNA of the cell’s nucleus.
There is hope that the abnormal cell’s power plants can be analyzed and an actual treatment can be created for mitochondrial disease.
Dr. William Matteson, PHD, delivers a course called “Missing the Diagnosis: The Hidden Medical Causes of Mental Disorders.” He states:
“Even internists and physicians at hospitals often miss the underlying medical causes of mental and emotional issues. Despite advances in medical technology, there is still no test to definitively identify mental disorders. At best, medical evaluations can provide clues and help eliminate some of the variables. When the patient’s symptoms do not correspond precisely to the reference books or to similar cases they have personally encountered in the past, a physician may make a misdiagnosis as easily as a psychotherapist might.
“The challenge of finding potential underlying medical causes is complex. This makes failure to recognize and diagnose an underlying condition in a patient a reasonably common occurrence.”
It is encouraging that there is an admission that psychiatric patients are being misdiagnosed. A psychiatrist, trained first as a physician, should be able to recognize physical disease when he or she sees it. However, far too many psychiatrists take the easy and lucrative way out, dosing their physically ill patients with harmful and even deadly psychotropic drugs.
Putting a vulnerable loved one into harm’s way (psychiatric treatment) is unnecessary. A thorough physical and medical tests to determine what may be causing the non-optimum behavior should be the first avenue of exploration.
If the patient is suffering from mitochondrial disease, research as to treatment can be explored, but would not have to support the psychiatric industry with their pharmaceutical partners in crime.