Many of us struggle with focus, mental fatigue, brain fog, and memory loss, and today’s guest Dr. Amen—one of America’s leading psychiatrists who has helped millions of people change their lives and is a ten-time New York Times bestselling author—is here to tell us not only how to counter these problems, but how to build a healthier brain.
Our brain controls literally everything—our careers, relationships, health, and happiness. This talk is about getting some inspiration and instruction on how to unleash the power between your ears.
Dr. Amen’s book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life has impacted so many people’s lives, including mine. It’s an honor to have him as an extraordinary guest on the podcast, and today we’ll be diverging from our usual guest interview format in order to give you access to an exclusive talk by Dr. Amen that we hosted at a private gathering for our Kwik Brain students.
In this episode, we’ll listen to Dr. Amen explain why living longer can come from knowing more about your own brain health. He’ll explain why brain scans are so helpful in his clinical practice, and why we need to question common psychiatry practices. He’ll cover alternative causes for anxiety and depression, and give us some ideas on how we can check we’re not accepting an incomplete diagnosis.
As Dr. Amen says in the introduction: “if you pay attention to me, this information has the ability to improve everything in your life”—so don’t forget to take lots of notes and enjoy!
KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAIN HEALTH
- Friend Andy McGill completed turned his brain health around after a brain scan and assessment of his bad habits, and brain envy
- Happy-go-lucky people die earlier through accidents and preventable illnesses
- People who are concerned about their health live longer than everyone else
- Now is the time to start! Remembering that Alzheimer’s symptoms start 30 years before it manifests
- Bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment
- Bio: diet, exercise
- Psychological: important developmental events, ANTS (automatic negative thoughts)
- Social: how are you connected? How are your important relationships? The more connected you are, the healthier you are, provided you’re connected to healthy people
- Spiritual: what does your life mean? What is your relationship with the planet, with god?
- As part of Amen Clinic practice, brain imaging is included
- Medications are prescribed without the brain being looked at, meaning people are being treated in the same way Lincoln was treated!
- Psychiatry outcomes haven’t improved in 50 years
- Dr. Amen was treating NFL players with brain injuries and concussions, and brain scans showed blue areas with significantly decreased activity
- Added a second arm to the study: took these athletes with 20k-30k hits to the head, who were depressed—and simply taught them to avoid bad things and do good things, and take a vitamin, fish oil and brain booster
- Study results showed their memory, attention, mood, motivation, sleep got better
- This study isn’t just about football players: it’s applicable to the wider community and can help soldiers coming back from war with brain injuries
- Simple education can vastly improve brain health, as can scans! If you never look you never know and it’s easy to call someone a bad person
- Our brain continues to develop throughout your life but develops most radically until the age of 25 for girls, and 28 for boys—letting a child slam their skulls in high-contact sports during this period, not a good idea!
- Things to take seriously: the risk of Alzheimer’s, your weight, sleep apnoea
- Time to stop thinking of depression as one thing: a large NIMH study in which depressed people were given antidepressants showed that only 31% got better after 12 weeks—the placebo effect is 30%!
- Antidepressants don’t work because we think of depression as a single illness, and not acknowledging other contributing factors
- Remember that memory trouble at any age is not normal, it’s a sign your brain is suffering
- Before accepting a diagnosis given without much thought, ensure you get a brain scan to check whether there are other factors at play