If You Change Your Brain, Can It Heal Your Mind?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Mental illness affects us all, and the rate of mental illness continues to skyrocket despite the widespread use of prescription medications. But as Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen illustrate, we’re on the cusp of a revolution in psychiatry that will change mental health care forever. In this first episode of a series based on Dr. Amen’s upcoming PBS special, the Amens describe the reason for this exciting new revolution, and how it’s likely to play out.

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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 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. This week on The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, Tana and I are going to talk about Change Your Brain, Heal Your Mind, the new PBS special that we just recorded last week. I was so excited to do that and [crosstalk 00:01:08]-
Tana Amen: It was so fun.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I made very few mistakes recording it.
Tana Amen: You did. It was like the best one we've done. You were great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's filmed. It's going to come out nationwide in March, so we'll talk a little bit about some new information from the show, but before we do that, you have some reviews you want to read.
Tana Amen: I do. I actually want to say thank you to Charlie Bannon who took the time... Who does handwritten letters anymore? I got a five-page personally handwritten letter from Charlie Bannon all the way from Ireland. How cool is that? He writes this really amazing letter thanking us so much for the podcast, because he said therapy didn't help him, but listening to the podcast every day completely changed his life, and coincidentally or not coincidentally, I'm not exactly sure yet, he's a fellow martial artist. He practices Kenpo and he knows my Master, Mr. White, and his Master, Eddie Downey I know, so what a crazy small world it is.
The two things I wanted to point out about that, fill your mind with the right things, which he did. Kudos to you, Charlie, and also your community. His Master, Eddie Downey, is an amazing human being. My Master, Mr. White, an amazing human being. Our Kenpo communities are just great communities. They do amazing things for people and they live in service. When you have that community behind you and you're filling your mind with really good things, good things will happen. Thank you for taking the time to write that. That's our payment. We often say that. It makes us feel so good, so thank you Charlie.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: Isn't that cool?
Dr. Daniel Amen: It is. Actually, there's a little summary of this. He grew up in a violent and abusive home and was suicidal from age 13. Our podcast was really important in his recovery when he found himself sliding back into depression after suffering from meningitis. The way we talk about finding purpose and our interviews with people who have found purpose despite life's challenges have really helped him. I'm just so grateful that this has been important to those of you who are listening.
Tana Amen: That's so sweet, and I have to tell you, we went to the John Maxwell. I have to say to like congratulate my husband. He won the John Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award, and we didn't really sort of realize how big this was going to be. We showed up and there was like 3500 people there. It was an amazing event, huge, and it was a very special moment. He was having his rockstar moment and he was surrounded by people. I was sort of standing off over to the side and this woman comes over to me and she had immigrated from somewhere in Africa and she starts talking to me. I thought... oftentimes people will like overflow, I'll get the overflow. Africans, they'll come talk to me if they can't reach you. I thought that was what was happening.
She came over and she was talking to me and all of a sudden she tells me that she listens to our podcast all the time, and then she starts to tell me my life therapy. I'm like, "Okay, that's a little weird. Like literally in detail my life story." Then, she goes into specifics from books I've written, like all of my books and then way back and she's like... I looked at her kind of funny and she said, "Oh no, I've been following you for much longer than your podcast." I'm like, "Okay", and then she starts crying. She says, "I pray every day that God will do for me what he did for you." Then, I start crying and she said, "If she can do it, I can do it." I start to bawl, and I thought, "You know what, that is the purpose."
This new book deal that I just recently signed, I've been very resistant about doing it as you know. For the last couple of years I've been resisting it, and that moment was one of those moments where I went, "Okay, it's worth it. If one person walks up to me like that, it's worth it."
Dr. Daniel Amen: So many people feel shame for their life and they think, "If only people really knew me, they wouldn't [crosstalk 00:05:22]-
Tana Amen: Oh, I [crosstalk 00:05:22]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: "Like me."
Tana Amen: I spent my life thinking that up until 10 years ago.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I've actually found that the opposite is true, that when you share your struggles, you become more human because the more perfect you are the less people can relate [crosstalk 00:05:43]-
Tana Amen: Can relate [crosstalk 00:05:43]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: To you.
Tana Amen: You told me that, I just didn't believe you, and then I discovered you were right [crosstalk 00:05:48]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: But I was right [crosstalk 00:05:48]-
Tana Amen: You were [crosstalk 00:05:48]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: But I was right.
Tana Amen: Pain shared is pain divided, but that woman's tears and her saying, "I pray every day that He'll do for me what He did for you", was just like so powerful.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: I just wanted to thank you guys.
Dr. Daniel Amen: In this week, besides more reviews and we'll answer some of your questions, I just want to share some of the ideas from Change Your Brain, Heal Your Mind, and the show is really based on my new book, The End of Mental Illness, but PBS was having trouble with the title. It so amazes me. So many who have not read it, like they didn't read the script, have trouble with the title, but when you understand the content, the title just makes perfect sense.
Tana Amen: I think it's a great title.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That we are on the cusp of a new revolution that will change mental healthcare forever.
Tana Amen: I think what you're really saying is the end of mental illness is really the end of mental illness as we see it, as we treat it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right.
Tana Amen: Right, and that's a great title [crosstalk 00:07:01]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: The end of mental illness begins with a revolution in brain health. I got the best... I just have to share it with you because I haven't shared it with you. I got the best quote for my book. I already have 20, and the book isn't out until March, but this is from Darria Long, who is a physician and a national [crosstalk 00:07:26]-
Tana Amen: We had her on the show [crosstalk 00:07:27]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, we had her on the show. She's the author of Mom Hacks, which we talked about, and she said, "The world needs this book today more than ever. By reframing the discussion of mental health into one of brain health, Dr. Amen obliterates the concept that mental health issues are someone's fault or that they should just deal with it any differently than they would the flu or a broken arm. Most importantly, Dr. Amen gives everyone not just the permission but the validation and hope to seek help for a better tomorrow."
Tana Amen: I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Isn't that great?
Tana Amen: Yeah, it's fantastic.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's like one of the best reviews of any of my books ever. Mental illness affects us all. Either you've personally struggled with one [crosstalk 00:08:22]-
Tana Amen: It's so true.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or you love someone who has. No one escapes, and mental health problems are skyrocketing in our society with the deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide at their highest level in recorded history, despite the escalating use of psychiatric medications. I said this in the show, we are on the threshold of the new revolution that will change mental healthcare forever based on the 160,000 scans we've done. What we've discovered is these things aren't mental health issues at all.
Tana Amen: When I really got... when I met you and got into what you do, what we do, the part that amazed me was how often when someone comes in and they're really, really struggling with mental health, like having a mental breakdown, and how often I've heard things like, "Oh, they had a thyroid condition. Oh, the had Lyme Disease." It was like a simpler fix than you think. It wasn't a lifelong psychiatric battle.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or they mold exposure.
Tana Amen: Just the [crosstalk 00:09:37]-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or they had a head injury [crosstalk 00:09:37]-
Tana Amen: Craziest thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And if you see it through the lens of mental illness, then you'll give them drugs or-
Tana Amen: I'm a nurse.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Put them on psychotherapy [crosstalk 00:09:48]-
Tana Amen: That's what I saw.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Give them psychotherapy without ever looking or taking care of the organ you treat. People just don't get the brain can have problems like your heart can have problems, yet most people who see a cardiologist have never had a heart attack, they're there to prevent them. I see a day-
Tana Amen: So smart.
Dr. Daniel Amen: When people will see brain health doctors, maybe not psychiatrists. I'm always looking for another word for what I do because I'm not a traditional psychiatrist. I'm just not. I'm trained as one, I'm board certified in child and adult psychiatry, but I don't practice like my-
Tana Amen: You don't.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Colleagues, so we need a new word. Those of you that are listening, if you give me a better word for what we do, I don't know, a brain warriorist, brain warriorologist [crosstalk 00:10:45], if you give us a better word, I will sign Change Your Brain, Change Your Life or The End of Mental Illness and send it to you.
Tana Amen: I like that challenge.
Dr. Daniel Amen: To end mental illness, we must develop a similar way of thinking where we know your risk factors, that's what they do with heart disease, we know your risk factors and we attack each one of them. For example, if teenagers sleep just an hour less than their peers, they have a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, school failure, and suicide. We have to make sleep a priority. Of all things, light therapy can help. If you have gut problems, you have a higher incidence of anxiety and depression, brain fog, so you got to get your gut right. It's like, "Wait a minute, I thought we were talking about the brain." If you have Lyme Disease, people can become angry, depressed, even psychotic, so if you're mind is not right, somebody should at least be thinking about an infection.
When we come back, I'm going to talk about the whole concept of why The End of Mental Illness and the dedication of the show to my two nieces, who are actually there at the taping, it was very special [crosstalk 00:12:13]-
Tana Amen: Your two nieces? Our nieces.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Our nieces.
Tana Amen: He stole my nieces.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Stay with us, and is there one thing you've learned from this podcast? Please post it on any of your social media channels. We would love for you to leave a review or question at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and we'll enter you into a drawing for a free copy of Tana's book, The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook, which is just amazing. There is no suffering in getting well.
Tana Amen: If you are 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 BrainMD, you can use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com for a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.