It’s a simple but often overlooked fact that when people behave badly, it’s often due to physical problems with their brain. It’s easy to label someone as bad, but it’s much harder to ask “why?” In this episode, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen offer more content from the last week of their End of Mental Illness Live Class. This episode focuses on the physical (not moral) reasons people behave the way they do.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
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.
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.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Dr Daniel Amen:
Hi, this is Dr. Daniel Amen.
And I’m Tana Amen.
We’re so excited. You’re with us for this week series. What we’re doing is we’re playing the live class from the end of mental illness.
We wanted you to join us on this journey because we had such a good time in our class and the people who joined us had just saw such incredible transformation that we wanted to share the challenge with our tribe. So we wanted to share this with you and we hope that you will join us in the challenge.
You know, actually one of the first cases I had after I started imaging, he called himself The Anger Broker of the Sacramento Valley and I saw him after he got out of a psychiatric hospital for a suicide attempt and he was mean and he had the suicide attempt because his wife left him. And I completely got why she left him because he was mean to my staff. He was mean to me. And I don’t fire patients, I just don’t, I know a lot of doctors do if you’re sort of a jerk to them. But after the third time I went, I need you to go get scanned and the cameras were not in the clinics at the time. And so I sent him to the next city to get a SPECT scan and I said, “You need to go do this because if you don’t do it, I won’t see you. Because I don’t tolerate people being mean to my staff, and not to me”.
And so he did because he wanted me to see him and he had a brain that was on fire. So he was worried, rigid and flexible. Things don’t go his way. He gets upset and he had a head injury. You could see it on the left side. I’m like, did you ever have a head injury? And of course he said, no. And I went, well, are you sure? Did you ever fall out of a tree or off a fence or dive into a shallow pool? And he was riding a bike down the Colorado Rockies and his front tire hit a rock. He flipped over onto his head. He was knocked unconscious, but he said, no initially. And I’m like, really? Oh well you had that smell.
And, and when I put him on medicine to balance his left temporal lobe and to calm down his frontal lobes, no lie. He’s like the sweetest person. Within four months, my office staff loves him and they’re just thrilled every time they see him. And was he a jerk? I mean he acted like a jerk. But why? If you don’t ask why, how would you ever know? So easy to call people bad. Harder to say why?
This is so enlightening and sad at the same time? How many times do people get misdiagnosed simply because insurance companies are not onboard with the SPECT scan? All the time.
All the time.
All the time. You can try and kill yourself.
It’s like one thing to think about that. But when you think about that ripple effect of how many families are affected, how many marriages, how many kids, how many jobs, finances, like the ripple effect is crazy. It’s crazy.
Do you have any experience?
I almost canceled my first date with you because you were a psychiatrist.
Because I didn’t have good experiences.
No, with my grandmother being severely mistreated by a psychiatrist. My dad being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We didn’t have Alzheimer’s. With me myself. Just they were terrible experiences. When I was depressed being put on the wrong medication. It’s awful. It’s awful.
So I’m going to tell you a secret of how I got her to fall in love with me because when we first met, I liked her way more than she liked me.
It’s not true, I just wasn’t ready to commit.
It’s true. Anyways, here’s the secret. Let me tell them the secret. And shortly after we met, your dad got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s a big misdiagnosis.
Well it’s so common.
But it’s terrible.
It’s so common. We just saw someone today who went to the Mayo clinic and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. And when we scanned him, he didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s traumatic for the family to hear.
But if you don’t look, how do you know? If you don’t look, how do you know? So anyways, back to the story on how I got you to fall in love with me. I have, because I’ve been a psychiatrist a long time. Unlike if you want someone to fall in love with you.
You’re teaching the manipulation.
He’s teaching the mind manipulation right now. This is not what this class is about. It’s not about mind manipulation.
It’s not manipulation, It’s how to get your way.
Is there a difference?
It’s all manipulation. It’s just the more sophisticated you are, the harder it is to tell. This is a bonus for those of you that are watching. Can I finish this story?
Yes, please tell them how you manipulated me into falling in love with you.
Encouraged. Do something nice for someone she loves.
That’s true. Tell them how to manipulate people, do something.
It’s not manipulating.
Do something good with it.
How to get a connection. And so when your dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I’m like, well, we should scan him. And when I scanned him, the pattern for Alzheimer’s disease has been described in the psychiatric literature for 30 years, more than 30 years maybe, and he didn’t have it. In fact, his emotional brain was working too hard and I’m like, Oh, he has something called pseudo dementia, which is depression that is masquerading as Alzheimer’s disease. And he was actually on a toxic cocktail of medication. And when I changed his medication, put them on supplements, changed his lifestyle.
He lost 20 pounds.
He got healthier and six months later he’s teaching like an all day course at Mariner’s Church.
Yeah, a seven hour seminar at the church, which he couldn’t even, he was a recluse and not showering before that. But the story is a little more complicated than that because I hadn’t, wasn’t speaking to my dad. I hadn’t really had a relationship with my dad ever in my entire life. But definitely not since I was 18 when I told him, bye-bye, don’t talk to me again. And so now you’re telling me we need to bring him to live with me.
No, just to scan him.
So you can scan. No, you wanted him to come stay with me. And then you’re like, well he can’t get well unless he’s living with you. And I’m like, I’m sorry. Do you want me to what? I’m like, this is a guy I don’t know. Don’t trust. And, but the interesting thing is, is that there was no one else to take care of him.
So I resisted, kicked, fought, screamed in my head, finally gave in because what are you going to do? Ultimately, what are you going to do? And as he got well, I was able to heal that relationship and that’s, I mean, to me that was more the ultimate point of all of it. Was that a relationship that had been so awful, so toxic my whole life. And now finally at the end of his life, he ends up dying in my arms. When he died, he didn’t die of anything brain related. It was leukemia. He, we had completely healed our relationship, which would never have happened if you hadn’t fixed his brain. And so that was a pretty interesting turn.
Sort of a cool way to get a pretty girl to fall in love with you. I’m just saying, doesn’t sound that manipulative to me.
Oh, do we have questions?
When your brain is right, you become better at everything you do. So this is my grandfather who I loved. I was named after him. He was my best friend growing up, and he had a heart attack that took him away way too early.
And so why do you want to be healthy? You know, and I think of this picture, I think of my grand babies. We took two of them to Laker game on Sunday.
That was real fun.
But I want to be around for as long as I can. What’s your motivation to be healthy? So our mission is to end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health. That’s our goal. And you have to start today. I mean, when I say you’re going to start Monday, it never works. You’re going to start January 1st because now we’re a long ways from January 1st, start today. We say this is just the beginning. Success starts with a healthy mind. Failure is often the result of a brain gone wrong. The good news, it’s never too late to change your brain, to heal your mind.
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