In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen answer some more of your questions. This episode features info on employment, new learning, dopamine and psychosis, antidepressants, and auto-immune diseases. Visit the brainwarriorswaypodcast.com to submit your own questions!
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.
Welcome back. In today's episode, we are going to answer your questions, so please keep sending us questions. You can go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and visit our review page. You can leave us a review and you can also leave us questions and that will also enter you in a raffle to get a free cookbook, The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook. So we're going to answer your questions today.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, I'm so excited about it, and I was going to read a review until I had two things happen when I went to the bathroom that I just ...
Tana Amen: Do we want to know this?
Dr. Daniel Amen: I just had to share. The first one, I don't know if you can see this, but yeah, you can. I got a text from my father ...
Tana Amen: Oh, that is so funny.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... a screenshot of ...
Tana Amen: I know what that is.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... three minutes, 35 seconds, and that's all the screenshot was. And I know exactly what it meant.
Tana Amen: Yup, me too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It meant he just finished, he's 90 years old, a plank where he did three minutes and 35 seconds.
Tana Amen: I knew what that was.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And yesterday, I got one where he did three minutes and six seconds and what it is, he's bragging.
Tana Amen: Yeah, he's competing with you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: He's competing with me, so now I have to go home and do one and try it. Just do a plank for three minutes and 35 seconds and see how you feel. This warmed my heart and then I walk out of the bathroom and here in Costa Mesa, there's a 12 year old girl and she's crying. I just went up to her and said, "Hey." And the mom got all excited, want to meet me. She had just seen her scan and it was working too hard and she was so sad.
I know many of you out there, you listened to us, you go, "Oh, I want to come get a scan. Oh, I don't really want a scan. I don't want to know. It's going to be terrible and it will be bad news." I looked at her and I said, "Your scan is really good news because you have what you have. It's sort of like you have a car engine in your head and it's like a Ferrari and it works way too hard, so it's not tuned right. What we're going to do is tune it so that you can be happier."
I said, "It's not bad news. It's really good news, and your job is to be a good reporter on what Dr. Darmal does that works for you and what doesn't work for you. So together, we'll balance your brain and isn't that cool?" Then I said, "And oh by the way, you're normal." I said, "I actually did a study of normal and I had to screen 3000 people to find 100 normal brains." So that's scary, right? When you think of driving week, that's not good news.
Tana Amen: That's really cute. I like that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But isn't that fun?
Tana Amen: Yeah, that's really cute.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. We have questions.
Tana Amen: I like the way you describe that. Okay. This question is from Randall. Say you find yourself in a class or at a job that is not anything you know or know you are good at, and the teacher of the class or the boss of the job says that's where you belong. Do you argue with that boss or teacher even the thought of it? Why or why not? What do you do instead?
I don't want to do something for a living that is not something that is going to cause me not to learn anything new even though it feels like anybody could do my job and my brain feels like it may not be getting stimulated enough while doing it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: People who are in jobs that do not require lifelong learning, continual learning have a higher incidence of dementia. Now, if someone told me I needed to fix cars for a living, that is not my aptitude. My aptitude is in writing, it's in speaking, it's in communication, it's in healing. I would break cars. I know that.
I just know me like if I was a surgeon. My parietal lobes, the spatial part of my brain is not as healthy as it could be, but the language part of my brain is really healthy. If I'm in a job where I fail constantly because it's not my aptitude, I'm going to have chronic self-esteem problems and be anxious.
Tana Amen: And stress.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And stress.
Tana Amen: That's a complicated one because the boss hired you to do a job. So I think you should probably assess that going in. Both of you should assess going in. I think your boss needs to be clear what he's hiring someone for, and you should be pretty clear about whether you want to do that particular job or not, and to be clear with yourself about what it is you do want to do.
There are classes now and tests you can take to help you figure out what your aptitude is. Even in college they have this. You can learn. You can figure out what it is that you do find stimulated. That you want to do long-term or at least until you change your mind. Because once a boss does hire you to do a job, he's hired you for that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's not just about what you want, it's about what fits. If I wanted to be center for the Los Angeles Lakers, it doesn't matter. It doesn't fit. It's not happening. So it's like relationships, like we fit really well together and I'm grateful for you because of that. I don't feel well with other people.
Their jobs I fit with, this is one, and there are other jobs I completely would be unhappy with because I wouldn't be able to excel at it. So you want to know your desire, but you need to also mix it with your aptitude. And whether or not you can mix those two things and support your family, because that's another important thing if, like most people, you need to earn a living.
Tana Amen: Yeah. No, I like that. I'd say be clear and make sure your boss is clear when you go in. One thing I do when I'm interviewing people is I have a job description. They're ready to go, and I actually have them sign it. I think a lot of employers do that. It's really important that you know what you're getting into, because it's important to both of you. It's expensive for the employer to also have to find someone new. So I think that's important.
Okay. Next one. According to conventional medicine, psychiatry, too much dopamine gives psychosis. What do you think of that?
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's a very simplistic view of psychosis. Is there are actually many things that cause psychosis? Now, when you get too much dopamine, say for example, you become a meth addict and that wears out your dopamine centers, it dumps dopamine just like cocaine that you bet, you can become psychotic. But there are other ways to become psychotic.
For example, being exposed to Lyme disease has been associated with schizophrenia. Having mold toxicity. Having heavy metal toxicity. Mercury poisoning and the mad hatter syndrome has been associated with psychosis. So it's not as simplistic.
In my new book that we're working on, The End Of Mental Illness, there's a whole section on infections causing mental illness, toxins causing mental illness, sleep deprivation. One of the most common things when I was an army psychiatrist. I was the chief psychiatrist at Fort Irwin.
The big deal at Fort Irwin, which is 40 miles north of Barstow, was we trained our tank divisions to fight the Russians in the desert and later the Iraqis and Afghanis in the desert. People would play war games for days and they would be up two days at a time and all of a sudden they're hallucinating or they're delusional. They don't need dopamine blockers, but they need to sleep.
Tana Amen: I have a question on this to add to this question. What if people are taking the antidepressants that help them to increase dopamine or they're taking certain medications for ADD that's increasing dopamine and they want to back down off of that and they've been getting a certain level of dopamine but maybe they don't feel quite right? How hard is that?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Remember when we talked about cheap hits of happy and great hits of happy? It's making sure your lifestyle is helping to balance the dopamine centers in your brain. Then if you've been used to Wellbutrin for example, which increases dopamine in the brain, antidepressant, great antidepressant, and you've been on it for 10 years, you want to go off of it very slowly, almost like 10% a month.
Tana Amen: The brain will adjust?
Dr. Daniel Amen: And at the same time, you want to be making sure you're taking care of your dopamine centers like pumpkin seeds, and green tea, and magnesium, and sunlight, and oregano all increase dopamine naturally in the brain. One of the illnesses where is the dopamine deficit is Parkinson's disease where the dopamine cells in an area of the basal ganglia die literally and then you can't control your muscle movements because dopamine is heavily involved in controlling smooth motor movements.
Many people, the only thing they do is get on medication to enhance dopamine and they don't do anything else. They don't do any lifestyle interventions. They don't change their diet. They don't exercise more. They don't get rid of any infections, toxins.
I just think that's an insane way to practice if your brain is dying. You should think of it as an emergency and begin to put it in a healing environment.
Tana Amen: Okay, so to answer my question, if they did want to back down off of those medications and they did it slowly, the brain would begin to increase in dopamine naturally again if they do the right things?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hopefully, but if it doesn't, go back on Wellbutrin.
Tana Amen: Okay, so it was a good dopamine question. I like that. Do we have time for one more?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Let's do one more.
Tana Amen: Okay. Let's see. I was curious if you've studied anyone with an autoimmune disease and if there was any correlation to the SPECT scan of individuals with autoimmune disease and symptom relief after your series of brain treatment and healing. There's just so many different types of autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The question is from Sarah. So one of my favorite friends is a woman that has MS and her brain was a mess and now it's much better.
Tana Amen: Right. She's rich as everything.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And she is much better. She was headed for a wheelchair and now she runs three times a week. So why is your immune system attacking itself? So for us, you want to get your gut healthy, you want to get rid of anything that could trigger the autoimmunity.
On SPECT scans, initially during an autoimmune disease, we see too much activity going on in the brain. But if it's chronic and it's been going along in a long time, we usually see overall decreased activity.
Tana Amen: So one thing that I would think would be really important is to really understand what's going on with whatever autoimmune issue you're having. For example, Hashimoto's is you're going to feel different than if you have rheumatoid arthritis or MS. So I would want to understand what's behind the autoimmune issue.
I don't know, did those show up differently? I would assume they show up differently in the brain. Because thyroid, if you have low thyroid, that's going to be different.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You're going to have low blood flow in the brain.
Tana Amen: Right. Then if you have something else going on, you may see something totally different.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, in general, the first thing we see is inflammation ...
Tana Amen: So with all of them?
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... increased activity. Except low thyroid. Chronically though, we see that it hurts the brain. You and I have seen people who took The Brain Warrior's Way program. If you don't know, we have an online program 26 hours that Tan and I taught over six months. But if you go to amenuniversity.com, you can learn more about our online courses including The Brain Warrior's Way.
We had so many people tell us they lost their pain. There was this 20% reduction ...
Tana Amen: Fibromyalgia increasing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... in pain and fibromyalgias and autoimmune disorder.
Tana Amen: Here's a thing. Nothing bad is going to happen to you by doing all the right things. So it's either going to help you a lot or it's going to help you a little, but it's not going to hurt you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's none of the things we recommend will ever hurt you. All right, we're so grateful that you stayed with us for driving week. Please leave a review at Brain Warrior's Way Podcast or a comment.
Tana Amen: Or on iTunes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And we'll enter you into a drawing for a free copy of the cookbook. Also, subscribe to the podcast so that you don't miss any of these episodes and please share it with a friend, post something you've learned today on one of your social media sites and hashtag Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Tana Amen: Thank you. 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 BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 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.