In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen dive into the mail bag to answer some listener questions. Daniel and Tana discuss such topics as treating schizophrenia, suggestions for clearing brain fog, and the effects of ADD medications on specific brain types. Visit brainwarriorswaypodcast.com/contact to submit your own questions!
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: 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 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: Welcome back. We're talking about mental health in children and teenagers. What we're going to start doing on the podcast is every week we don't have a guest. We're going to use the fourth podcast to answer your questions. So if you go to Brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, we'd love for you to leave a review but leave questions that you think might be relevant not only to you but to other people as well. But before we get there, you have one of the reviews to read.
Tana Amen: I do. It says it makes total sense by [Bainter 00:01:29] Jr. The information in Dr. Amen's book and now re-communicated and updated via the podcast makes total sense. Our brain is a beautiful work of art, piece of equipment and great machine, however you want to describe it. Can I change my brain overnight? Probably not, but I can listen to all this information and make changes along the way. That's great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, it's an interesting comment because tomorrow I can have a much better brain if I go to sleep at a reasonable time tonight.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Tomorrow, I can have a much worse brain if I get drunk tonight, probably not, if I take sleeping pills or Xanax on a regular basis. If you have a fit and somehow decide you hate me.
Tana Amen: Where'd that come from?
Dr. Daniel Amen: So we can change our brains very quickly by doing the right things or by doing the wrong things.
Tana Amen: I often tell people, you can just do better today than you did yesterday. Do better tomorrow than you did today. You're just every day you're going to feel a little bit better. So that's actually very accurate. So here's our first question. By by [Rupel or Rupaul 00:02:43], I have developed severe schizophrenia. What should I do? My speech got disorganized, thoughts, able to understand less and nightmares happens and delusions. Please help me out with diet, exercise, et cetera. I'm taking, is that [Emzeo 00:03:00]?
Dr. Daniel Amen: [Emozeo 00:03:00].
Tana Amen: At night.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's actually a great question. I'm so glad she asked. It's sort of why I wrote my new book that's coming out in March called The End of Mental Illness. The schizophrenia is a symptom cluster where you begin to lose reality and what's real and what's not real. You can have hallucinations, visual hallucinations where you see things that aren't there, auditory hallucinations where you hear things that aren't there, even tactile hallucinations, you might feel bugs crawling on you. You develop delusions which are basically firm fixed beliefs that just aren't true. Given your education and experience, you should know they're not true. So those are the hallmarks. But they're what we call the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. But there are a lot of negative symptoms of schizophrenia, which means you don't take care of yourself. You don't bathe. You are tired. You're disorganized and apathetic, sometimes even catatonic.
The question is, I'm really suffering, what can I do? No matter what brain health issue you have and schizophrenia, I actually don't think of it as a mental health issue, it's a brain health issue. You want to put your brain in a healing environment. So all the things we talk about in the Brain Warrior's Way is really important. Plus, in my mind, I'm like, "Why did that happen?"
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because it's not as genetically linked as we would have hoped, for example. I mean, if you have schizophrenia, 10% of your children are going to have schizophrenia, but that means 90% aren't. My son in law, Jesse, mother has schizophrenia and when we scanned her, she had a very severe head injury when she was 17. She went through a windshield of the car. If you damage your frontal lobe, well is your brain more likely to have problems? Absolutely, ind all sorts of different ways.
Tana Amen: It's one of the things I was going to ask you is is there a common pattern with schizophrenia? I mean, is it more likely if you have a brain injury or is there a typical pattern? What do you see?
Dr. Daniel Amen: So the common pattern on scans is low frontal lobe activity.
Tana Amen: Oh, so a brain injury would make a big difference.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Often excessive dopamine. So their basal ganglia may be high.
Tana Amen: So busy-
Dr. Daniel Amen: But what we have seen on scans is schizophrenia is not one thing.
Tana Amen: Just like everywhere else.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Everything is one thing. We have OCD-like schizophrenics and we have ADD-like schizophrenics because some people's brains work too hard, some not hard enough. One of the most interesting things we discovered was that if you look at a map of the United States with the highest incidence of schizophrenia, it's basically across the Northeast, the West Coast and the Northern Midwest.
Tana Amen: I saw this.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you look at the highest incidence of Lyme disease, it's nearly identical. I think everybody who's diagnosed with schizophrenia should at least be screened.
Tana Amen: Should be screened. Why not?
Dr. Daniel Amen: For a Lime to see if that not one of the possibilities. I have so many good cases.
Tana Amen: I know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It'll just make you cry.
Tana Amen: Remember Adriana's stories. It was just crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I get a text from her mom every day at noon. How can I pray for you?
Tana Amen: Oh, that's so sweet. Her story was just crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah. So [Rupaul 00:06:58], we're so excited that you listen and what I want you to do ... Now, when I have a schizophrenia patient, I put them on anti-psychotic medication. But we don't stop there ever. We want you to put your brain in a healing environment, measure your Omega-3 fatty acid levels, measure your hormones. Look at all of the bright minds risk factors that I talk about in my book. One of my books, I think you'll really like, that's just out recently is Feel Better Fast and Make It Last.
Tana Amen: So one of the things I want to just reiterate because you just talked about possibly getting screened for Lyme. So that was one thing you mentioned. She's asked about, he, she, I don't know if it's he or she, asked about exercise. Make sure you do what you can do. So I always tell people, focus on what you can do, not at what you can't do. If walking is the thing you can do, then make sure you're walking. If you can do some mild cardio and some light weightlifting, do that, because getting oxygen to your brain is going to be helpful, right?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and another thing is coordination exercises because with low frontal lobes that often go with schizophrenia often goes low cerebellar activity and just pick up ping pong or dance or pickle ball, tennis. Coordination exercises can actually help your brain work better.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Good. Well, thank you so much. Okay, next question. This is Corina. I am an elementary school teacher with way too much brain fog, not a good combination when I need mental agility all day long. No doubt. What are your top most effective suggestions for clearing brain fog? I look forward to learning how to make a difference for myself and sharing with my students practical ways they can also be brain warriors. Good question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Do you remember Anne's story?
Tana Amen: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I was just thinking about that. Yeah. So yeah, I mean I'm going to let you start with this, but that's a great story, it's a great reference.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So Chloe had a great elementary school teacher that she loved her, we loved her, she was really great, and then one day she approached you, I think.
Tana Amen: I was volunteering in the class and she was trying to get a certification. She had her master's degree, but she was working on certification and she could not focus and this was a really smart, high level thinking person. We just adored her. She's like, "I can't function." She said, "Could I come into the clinic?" So we said, "Absolutely." So she came into the clinic, you saw her and the first thing you said is, "We'll scan you, but not today. You need to go get your thyroid checked. You need to go see your endocrinologist," because you had checked her for-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, no, I didn't want her to see the endocrinologist. I wanted her to get me her thyroid results. They had done that-
Tana Amen: No, I mean, after you saw, after you got them.
Dr. Daniel Amen: They had done just a cursory, like so many family practice doctors do. They do a TSH and a T3 and if those are normal, your fine. I'm like, "I want you to get thyroid antibodies." So I did a full thyroid panel and her thyroid antibodies were crazy high.
Tana Amen: Right. That's what I meant. So after you saw her antibodies, you were like, "You need to go to your endocrinologist because you've got ... I think you have Hashimoto's." So, and your doctor didn't want to follow up on it. It was the craziest thing, her endocrinologist didn't. But they finally did. She pushed and pushed and they finally did and she had Hashimoto's. So getting her on some thyroid medication made all the difference. So the point that I wanted to make here is you need to assess, you need to screen and figure out what's causing it, right? So get your numbers checked.
One of the things we talk about in Brain Warrior's Way is assessment. Knowing all of your numbers, get all of your numbers checked and know what it is. How do you know, like you always say if you don't look, right? So and cleaning up your diet. So knowing if something in your diet is causing it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and so I think it's really going after all of the bright minds risk factors that we talk about. Brain fog can be due to low blood flow to the brain. It can be due to you've had ADD your whole life and it's hard for you to function. Brain fog is more common as we age. It is associated with inflammation. So if you have low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Tana Amen: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:11:14].
Dr. Daniel Amen: If your gut health isn't right, your brain health is not likely to be right. Yes, it can happen after a head trauma. It can happen if you're drinking too much. I'm just so tired of alcohol is a health food and it's not. It damages your gut. It increases your risk of seven different kinds of cancer. It can be an autoimmune problem.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It can be because your diet's terrible.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So just working on these risk factors can help you so much. I think if you go brain fog, it's the first couple of things to do is assess your important health numbers.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I think that'd be the first thing I would do.
Tana Amen: That's what we did with Anne.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I would be changing your diet, getting rid of things like gluten and dairy, just for a month, see if they affect you. Although I saw gluten today and I'm thinking, I'm not, because I'm not actually really sensitive to gluten, but in 100% of animals, it increases leaky gut. Today I just decided I love my gut, right? I mean I love my brain every day, but I want to love my gut so I can love my brain.
Tana Amen: Every time I have that thought, I ended up peeling, like my fingers peel, I get weird blisters. I have a thought every once in a while, I'm like, "Ah, a little bit's not going to hurt." Then I'm like, "Why did I do that? It was just so dumb. I know better." So.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Know better, do better.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Just yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We have time for one more question.
Tana Amen: We do. So third question is from Ashley. I hope I can reach out to you guys here. I've tried things like SAM-e GABA and other similar natural supplements. I've spent a fortune on these products to help with anxiety, depression and inattentive ADD. These have all made me feel awful. One gave me suicidal thoughts and made me want to jump out of my skin. Right now I just take ADD meds the past eight years. Not sure if I get that reaction because I'm using them together. Any tips about that?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, I think I would read my book, Healing ADD and see which of the seven types you have and she might have anxious ADD. I would continue to work on it because it's not only hard for you but it's hard for the people who love you.
Tana Amen: Also-
Dr. Daniel Amen: I would also consider coming to the clinic and getting a scan.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because if you end up with suicidal thoughts on supplements, it could be your temporal lobe isn't healthy and sometimes being on a mood stabilizer may make a huge positive difference for you.
Tana Amen: Well, and one thing I've heard you say a lot and I like it because it's true is supplements are not just ... People have this tendency like I can just take any supplement. No. You have to know which ones to take for your brain type. So if you're not in a position to come in, then at least take the brain health-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Assessment.
Tana Amen: Assessment online.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Brainhealthassessment.com.
Tana Amen: Right. Also understanding things like certain supplements, just like certain medications affect your brain in certain ways. So that's really important to know and so isn't ... Don't you have a lot of that in Healing ADD?
Dr. Daniel Amen: I do.
Tana Amen: Yeah. So it's just really important to know that some of them actually make you ... They're there to help increase focus while others make you feel more mellow, right? So you want to know that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're so glad that you have stayed with us doing, I think we're on 450 or something crazy podcasts. We're really interested in creating a community of dedicated brain warriors, people who are armed, prepared, and aware to win the fight of your life. Our society's not helping us stay healthy. They pay money when you are sick and I'm not okay with that. You shouldn't be either. We're grateful that you've invited us into your lives and we're just excited every week to be here with you.
Tana Amen: Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you got an idea or a useful thought from this podcast or this week of podcasts, please write them on any of your social media channels, #brain warriors way podcast. Also, leave a comment or review a question at iTunes or at Brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. When you do, we will enter you into drawing for a free book. If you ask a question, we will try to answer as many as we can on the air. 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. 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 BrainMD, 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.