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The recent epidemic of deaths and illnesses from e-cigarettes has made it clear that vaping poses a very real health hazard for teens and adults alike. But how can you quit this unhealthy habit? In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss some of the brain-based strategies you can use to get yourself off of e-cigarettes for good.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain spect imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com
Welcome back. We are talking about vaping this week and how it's become not only an epidemic but the illness related to it's also becoming an epidemic, just over 530 illnesses. We talked about that in the last episode. Nine deaths so far. There's three and a half million teen users in the US, which is just crazy to me.
Dr Daniel Amen: Before we dive into it, can I read some reviews?
Tana Amen: You can.
Dr Daniel Amen: We ask them for reviews all the time, so this is from Maria H. on Yelp. "I am a health coach and specialize in working with kids with ADD, ADHD. My husband played football in the NFL and went into the Amen Clinics to do a spect scan and go through the study. I decided to have my son's brain scanned and also went through the program. Son has ADD ever since we can remember. It was fascinating. Having the ability to see the brain and why they both do the things and acted in certain ways was such a relief. However, it went even further. Getting to talk with the doctors and get on a protocol to help both of them improve the quality of life was priceless. It has been about two months out and they're both doing fantastic. I cannot recommend Amen Clinics enough. I feel like everyone needs to get scanned."
Tana Amen: That's awesome.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you, Maria. Also, this is from KJams3. "This podcast is always practical and informative. I love that it's generally under 20 minutes." Yes, the world has a short attention span. "As a busy mom, I can feed my brain on the way to and from school, sports without needing to set aside an hour."
Tana Amen: Love it.
Dr Daniel Amen: One more. "Have learned so much about the brain and brain health from listening. I now walk consistently and eat healthy because of you." This is Melster807.
Tana Amen: Awesome. So let's talk about a question. So if you guys learn anything from this podcast, please post it, or if you have a question, because we're going to talk about not only vaping, e-cigarettes, Juuling, what it's doing to you, but how do you get off of it? If you've been doing this, how do you stop if you know it's bad for you? Because we've been lied to. We've been told that it's not bad for you. And so what do you do to get off of this?
Dr Daniel Amen: The evil allure.
Tana Amen: So if there's anything you learned, anything you learned, anything you want to know, please post it. Go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. You can go to the review section and you can leave us a question. You can leave us whatever it is you want. You can also tag us on Instagram. That would be great. We would love that and share this information.
So let's talk about this. There's three and a half million teen users, just teen users, and they all think this is cool. They taste good, they look pretty. Kids who feel awkward, this is something they can do when they're at parties so they don't feel so awkward and they feel like they fit in. It's a social thing, and this is a problem. But let's talk about something really quick. So one of the reasons, one of the marketing strategies is that they say that they're more environmentally friendly, which is true. They're more environmentally friendly, but they're not more friendly to you. And did you know they contain heavy metals? So talk a little bit about what heavy metals do to your body when you're inhaling them.
Dr Daniel Amen: They're terrible. I mean, they actually make your brain look sick, older than they really are. And so whether it's lead or heavy metals, and coming up, we're going to do a toxin week, it's just, do you really want to be inhaling that? I mean, besides the pure heated up nicotine or caffeine or marijuana that can damage your lung cells as we talked about, if you love your brain, what vaping does is prematurely age the brain.
Tana Amen: And one study showed that it actually decreases sperm count in men, so something to pay attention to if you're trying to have a baby and fertility problems, and one thing, it might be a little bit of a blessing in disguise ... This is going to sound terrible because I don't mean this ... For the people who have been ill for the people who have died prematurely, died early, it's a horrific thing. What I mean by a blessing in disguise is that we have been saying this since it came out. We've been reading these studies. We've been following it. We've been saying how awful it is since it first started. But the problem with things that take a long time to affect you, that aren't instantly visible, right, so the problem is, is when it's chronic, people don't see it, and as long as it's out of sight, it's out of mind. So if it's not affecting you immediately, people don't pay attention to it.
And since this happens to be an acute issue, suddenly it's become an epidemic to the point where New York is banning them, right, and I think other States may be following suit, but when it becomes an acute issue like this where people are getting whatever type of lung disease this is where they're going into the ICU on ventilators, whether it's some type of aspiration pneumonia or whatever it is, when it's that acute and there are this many deaths that happen quickly related to it, now people pay attention and they get scared and they stop. And what we're hoping is that you get scared enough before something happens to someone you love or to you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, a lot of people that use drugs in any form, they do it because there's an underlying issue. So I wrote a book with David Smith, who it's so much fun cause we actually saw him by random in New York last week when we were there, but David Smith is the founder of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, considered the father of addiction medicine in the United States. And he and I together wrote a book called Unchain Your Brain: Breaking the Addictions that Steal Your Life. And so the first thing, it comes with information. "Oh, this may not be as safe as I was led to believe." The second one is kicking in your frontal lobes to protect you by going, "Is this good for me now and later?" versus, "Is this just good for me now, but not later?"
And then we talk about knowing your brain type. We've done that a lot, but all addicts are not the same. There are impulsive addicts and I bet a lot of impulsive addicts are using vaping, especially caffeine and nicotine, as a way to feel more focused. They're self-medicating an underlying ADD or spontaneous type two brain type. There's a compulsive attic that once they start, they just think about it all the time, over and over, on and on. There's the sad addict that actually using it to treat an underlying sadness or depression and there's an anxious addict, and they're more likely to vape marijuana for example. And so knowing your type, and you can learn your type for free, go to brainhealthassessment.com, and then treat the underlying issue, we often recommend first with supplements and then medication if needed, but treat the underlying issue but not with something that could hurt you, but rather something that could help you.
Tana Amen: Well, and this information is so valuable and it can help so many people because what I was trying to say is that fear can be a good motivator. It really can. It can kick in those frontal lobes, maybe not in the best way possible.
Dr Daniel Amen: Some anxiety is good. We always talk about some anxiety, you need some anxiety.
Tana Amen: So one of the things I was going to say is that my uncle, who was a heroin addict, he will, he often still says that the one thing he's most proud of with his addiction after he kicked it was that he scared me so badly, he gave me shock therapy, and it's true. It kept me from doing it. My fear of drugs was so overwhelming. Now I totally had the personality makeup, the brain makeup to want to self-medicate, but I chose something else. I chose exercise. I didn't always choose healthy things, right, but they weren't as bad as heroin for sure. So I over-did other things, but my point being, if I had had this information, like many people out there listening, if you have the right information, you can choose things to help self-medicate that are healthier for you, if you go take the assessment and you learn some of the things that can be a healthy alternative, but a little fear isn't always bad. That's what I was trying to say.
Dr Daniel Amen: No. I mean, some anxiety is critical for you to do the right thing. I mean, in The Brain Warrior's Way, we talk about the real weapons of mass destruction, highly processed pesticide, highly processed food that's pesticide sprayed, high glycemic, low fiber, stored in plastic containers. But vaping is another weapon of mass destruction that we just want to bring to your attention and encourage you if you are vaping or you have a teenager that's vaping to see it as a problem to solve.
Tana Amen: We promised that we were going to talk about how to stop. So I think the first step is to do what you said. Figure out if you're medicating an underlying issue and take the brain health assessment. That can really help, getting on some of the right supplements, and if you need medication, get the right medication, but going to see a healthcare professional because they'll help you with that underlying issue and they'll help you with the proper steps to wean off of this and get off of it, because you know it's not good for you. I mean, people are getting really sick.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, let me tell you, because sometimes they'll do that and the healthcare professional will just put them on a medicine. So for me, what I would want you to do is know your baseline. How much are you vaping now? And then cut it down by 5% a day or 5% every couple of days. And that way you're not going to go through withdrawal. I've helped so many people get off cigarettes and caffeine and I'm just someone who doesn't believe in suffering.
Tana Amen: I like that.
Dr Daniel Amen: And so if you just cut it down by a little bit every day but have a plan and then when the urge comes you should write down, "Okay, here are three things to do when they urge comes," and one of the things that's just so stinking simple is get a lavender sachet and when you feel like inhaling the vaporized whatever, inhale the scent from lavender because it's been shown to decrease both anxiety and depression.
Tana Amen: I really like that. That's actually how I coach people to decrease caffeine. I mean, I used to be one of those people who drink two pots of coffee a day working in a trauma unit, working nights, so it was just so hard to stay awake. I would just all night long be drinking coffee. When you start trying to cut that back, you get massive headaches, so I just started mixing. First I just started mixing a little bit of decaf in the morning coffee pot and then pretty soon it was almost all decaf, so just slowly decreasing it so I didn't get those massive headaches and withdrawal symptoms.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right, because you don't like to suffer, and we don't ever want you to suffer. So if you learned anything today, please write it down, post it on any of your social media, and then go to Apple Podcasts or brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. Leave us a review, ask questions. We love success stories.
Tana Amen: We do.
Dr Daniel Amen: And if we read them, we'll send you a signed copy of Tana's book. You can also, when you leave a question or a review for the podcast, we'll enter you into a raffle for her book. Stay with us.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain-healthy supplements from Brain MD, you can use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.