Kwik Brain 118
May 16, 2019     |   914 VIEWS
Your Brain & ADD with Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen

"You wouldn’t judge someone for getting glasses, they just need to fix it."
Tana Amen

Dr. Daniel Amen is one of America’s leading psychiatrists and brain health experts. He’s the founder of Amen Clinics and BrainMD, a double board-certified psychiatrist and Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a neuroscientist and has helped millions of people change their lives through clinics, best-selling books, products, and public television programs. Dr. Amen is the author or coauthor of 70 professional articles as well as a ten-time New York Times bestselling author, including of the New York Times mega-bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.

Tana Amen is Executive Vice President of Amen Clinics, New York Times best-selling author of The Omni Diet, health and fitness expert, cancer survivor, nationally renowned speaker, and media guest.

Connect with Daniel & Tana Amen: Dr. Amen’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Healing ADD Book | Tana’s Website

Today’s question for the Kwik Brain community is how do you know if you have ADD, and what can you do about it?

Dr. Amen’s book Healing ADD has sold half a million copies and helped countless people. Dr. Amen and his wife Tana—who is also a bestselling author and lives with ADD—join us today to help us understand where to start when we think someone we love might have ADD.

In this conversation, we’ll define ADD, bust some common myths about ADD, and explain how the disorder can play out in everyday life. We’ll give you some practical resources you can use to help a loved one with ADD, and some ideas for steps you can take towards healing.

If you haven’t already signed up to the Kwik Challenge, join us! #kwikchallenge

Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.


Show Notes


  • A neurodevelopmental disorder where over time you have a short attention span, are distracted, disorganized, procrastinate and have issues with impulse control
  • Don’t have to have all symptoms and there are different types of ADD
  • ADD doesn’t look the same for everybody
  • Distractibility means they hear, see, feel too much and the world comes at them faster
  • Disorganization for space and time
  • Tend to be messy or organize by a pile system
  • Impulsivity



  • Short attention span but not for everything—for regular everyday things like homework, paperwork, and chores
  • Can pay attention to things that have their own dopamine (things that are new, novel, highly stimulating, interesting or frightening)



  • Prevalence of ADD in different careers: higher prevalence in more stimulating careers e.g. trauma nursing, entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurs might hire a COO who is a little OCD, surround themselves with people who organize them
  • Ideally, pick a field that keeps you stimulated
  • Myth: if you have ADD you’re not intelligent



  • Classic ADD: short attention span, distractibility, impulsive
  • Girls: inattentive ADD, short attention span and distracted, but don’t have hyperactivity and impulsivity, struggle to live up to their potential





  • Seek out medical help: medication and natural ways to treat it
  • Exercise is a natural treatment
  • EPA fish oil is good for ADD and Depression
  • Higher protein and lower carbohydrate suits some types but not others
  • Ring of fire: the whole brain works too hard, and stimulating it with medication can make it worse
  • ADD can mean low activity in the prefrontal cortex (decision making)
  • Different types of ADD require different treatment
  • People with ADD might engage in negative thoughts, fighting, conflict-seeking to seek dopamine and stimulation



  • You wouldn’t judge someone for getting glasses, they just need to fix it
  • Healthy person: when they concentrate their brain activates, a person with ADD: when they concentrate their brain deactivates, meaning the harder they try the worse it gets
  • Medicine, supplement and lifestyle interventions help them to focus
  • Things that will make it worse: not sleeping, alcohol, sugar, too much processed food
  • Gluten can turn off your cerebellum: decrease activity there which is connected to your frontal lobes and ability to focus
  • Coordination exercises like juggling help your brain overall and help focus
  • Martial arts: complex bilateral moves requires focus and repetition and is helpful
  • Study: more grey matter in the brains of people practicing martial arts


  • First know what type of ADD you have: Amen Clinics ADD Test
  • Seek out a clinic to check the diagnosis: Amen Clinics
  • Assess your sleep environment: make sure it’s dark
  • Elimination diet: eliminate gluten, dairy, corn, sweeteners



  • Don’t forget to take a screenshot of this episode, tag us both on social media (@DocAmen, @TanaAmen & @jimkwik) and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us!


Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy

51: Fix A Broken Brain with Dr. Hyman (Part 1)

74: 7 Steps to Healthy Brain with Dr. Daniel Amen Part 1

76: 7 Steps to Healthy Brain with Dr. Daniel Amen Part 2

78: Steps to Healthy Brain with Dr. Daniel Amen Part 3


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