Brain Tours

Where are mental health problems located?

Think about it: if you had pain in your toes, you’d be wondering why. And if a doctor or nurse told you there wasn’t enough blood getting to your toes, you’d probably want to know if it was a problem with your pump (heart), or your pipes (blood vessels), or maybe some valve or something. You might need to learn a little more about blood flow to your toes.

But what about if you have emotional pain (or fear, or obsessive thinking)? Where should you look to understand where that is coming from? Recent research has shown us specific brain structures that are involved in different mental health problems. Here you will find “Guided Tours” of some of those structures. .

brain_1 (2)

Here’s a brain viewed from the outside. If you’d like a Tour of this photo identifying each part, click here . The Tours below will take you inside the brain to show you the parts associated with specific mental health problems — mood, fear, memory, hormone control, and obsessions.

Start with the first Tour below about your 3 brains (you thought you just had one?). This will show you how the main brain regions relate to one another. Then you may pick the tour you wish, below. If you’re going to try to work through the whole thing, read from 1-6 in that order, as the anatomy gets more complex as you go, and the early ones are the easiest to figure out.

Tour Brain Structure
1: Your 3 brains in one Reptilian Brain, Old Mammalian Brain, Cortex
2. Mood Anterior Cingulate
3. Memory Hippocampus
4. Fear Amygdala
5. Obsessions Basal ganglia (and anterior cingulate)
6.Hormone Control Hypothalamus

Image credits:

Approvals for use of copyrighted images are noted on the pages where those images appear. I have no intention of violating the law with the content of these pages and have tried to give proper credit where necessary. However, if any of this material is yours or is being used inappropriately, please let me know so I can correct the situation. Do not use these images in any commercial way; they are not approved for that purpose. Thank you.

(updated 12/2014)