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Mental Health & COVID-19 Questions Answered

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

In the fourth and final episode of this week’s series on pandemic pandemonium, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen answer some of your most pressing questions about regarding COVID-19 and brain health in general. This episode features such topics as how to boost serotonin, managing OCD disorder during a pandemic, COVID and brain damage, autism/ADHD, and supplements to help boost activity in the frontal lobes.

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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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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, BSN RN:

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. We are so grateful to you as our community and we’re just thankful that you’re here with us this week. And in this episode we are going to answer your questions about the pandemic, about stress-related to the pandemic, about challenges you’re having at home and lots of other things.

Daniel Amen, MD:          But before we do whatever you learn if you could just keep notes I think that’s a great thing. I’m always writing notes to myself on what I want to keep. And then take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites about how this episode may help you. So question number one, natural remedies for OCD. Please?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Exercise for sure.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Exercise boosts serotonin so it’s actually one of the most searched terms on the internet, how do you naturally boost serotonin, exercise. Smart carbohydrates, so people who have OCD probably should not go on any Atkins diet or keto it can make them irritable.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah Chloe, our 17 year old, she wanted to be really healthy and so she did a really strict version of keto and I kept telling her, “You probably need some more carbs.” She started spinning on negative thoughts and so because she’s got a super busy brain. So be careful if you’ve got a busy brain or OCD you probably need to throw in maybe some sweet potato or half of an Apple with some almond butter. You don’t want to go crazy, don’t have dumb carbs, but some smart carbs can actually settle you down. And then also what about things like GABA or 5-HTP,

Daniel Amen, MD:          5-HTP so serotonin mood support or happy saffron or Brain MD supplements can help. GABA can help the anxiety. And then thought stopping, so when you get a thought in your head that’s happened more than three times get up physically and go do something else and when you are tempted to check don’t. And you’re like, “Oh, well that’s not easy.” And I know initially the anxiety will skyrocket but every time you give in to the compulsive behavior you make it more likely you’re to give into it again. So, fighting the urge can really help fight OCD.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      When you talk about thought stopping it reminds me when I meditate because sometimes you’ll have these random thoughts pop in your head that you don’t want to think about. And you’re trying to settle yourself down and calm yourself down and all of a sudden your list pops in your head. And I always imagine a big broom just pushing it away. It’s like okay take a deep breath and then just start over. Don’t beat yourself up just start over.

Daniel Amen, MD:          That’s really great. Hey, I also want to read a review. We haven’t been reading reviews. Brain Warrior Equals Better Life by Delta 2006, “I was delighted with the recent episodes on interactive metronome. I’ve used this intervention with children with autism and ADHD and adults with sensory processing disorders and with a 95 year old woman post stroke. The elderly woman regained her ability to use both of her hands together to prepare simple meals. Her standing, balance and tolerance improved from two minutes to more than 30 minutes. Her daughter reported that her mother seemed sharper after receiving the interactive metronome and the occupational therapy. After the intervention during my personal training period I noticed that my typing speed previously at 60 words per minute was considerably faster. I recommend the podcast to teachers and families with whom I currently work. Keep the episodes coming.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      So apparently that episode on the metronome it skyrocketed, it did incredibly well, it was one of our best performing. And what I love about our podcast is there’s things that we get to research all these things and learn all these things from these experts. I didn’t even realize that was a big therapy. I didn’t realize it was as big as it was and it just was so, people were so interested in it.

Daniel Amen, MD:          You shouldn’t hang out with me more often.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      I know.

Daniel Amen, MD:          All right. Another question, “Can COVID-19 cause brain damage?” We answered that one. The answer is absolutely it can. So, and your best defense against COVID-19 is your immune system.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Keep your inflammation down and your immune system strong.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Along with that question what are the lingering side effects fatigue seems to be one of the really big…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      But I don’t know that we really know long term.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Well, we don’t because it’s only been known this year.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      So I worry about because this micro clotting I worry that longterm damage to organs is what we’re going to… But it’s like a slow burning fire like inflammation but it’s going to start showing up later.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Do you want to take one?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah. “So, what’s going to happen to the brains of children with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders from wearing masks? Not only are their [inaudible [00:05:46] due to lack of oxygen but also their social skills due to not being able to properly see people’s facial expressions because everyone has a mask on.” Hello, this has been my concern all along. So I’ve been really worried about this.

Daniel Amen, MD:          That are whole societies that wear facial coverings.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      And that doesn’t mean that it’s not bad for you.

Daniel Amen, MD:          No, but I think you should not put everybody on N95 a respirator. The facial coverings do a couple of things, one they decrease the spread and two it just reminds you’re in the middle of a pandemic. We need to be thoughtful and careful on how we interact with people.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      So, we often people like this about our show, most of them, is that we often have some spirited interaction about this because I agree with you about the… I mean, obviously that’s rational you want to slow the spread of the virus or stop it. But I actually really resonate with this person who wrote this. Having three kids at school and one of them is 10, we’ve got our two nieces living with us so the 10 year old, I worry these kids one of two things is going to happen. They’re not going to be able to have their normal activity level, obviously they’re already slowing that down. But they’re not going to get that exercise because I’ve got to tell you when I wear a mask and I’m out moving and it’s hot outside I feel nauseous, dizzy. I don’t feel good. So, these kids are so active it’s going to really decrease their activity levels.

And she had a good point about kids with ADD they really need to be able to move. And so, I actually really resonate with you when you’re talking about this and I don’t necessarily have the answer and I think that’s part of why they’re doing distanced learning. At least in California we’re starting school at home because we couldn’t agree on that. The parents and the teachers and the district could not agree on many of those things. And then additionally though, I agree with you about the facial coverings and being able to read people’s faces because I really do think that being able to read people’s faces, understanding social cues is vital. So, we need to come up with an exercise. If people are wearing masks we need to really have some way to help these kids understand.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Well and perhaps when they’re exercising they’re not wearing masks.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      But they haven’t come up with that in California.

Daniel Amen, MD:          We just have to be thoughtful and careful. The whole issue with masks and autism is really hard because those kids have sensory processing disorders they don’t like change. And it becomes really painful. On TACA’s website, T-A-C-A, Now, N-O-W .org, they actually have videos about how to manage kids with ADHD and autism and masks.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      That’s so critical. Do you remember the day Chloe came home? Our daughter works at a restaurant and she came home almost in tears. She felt so bad for this woman that came to the… She’s a host and it’s an outdoor restaurant but you still have to wear masks to your table and it’s just a rule and everybody has to do it. But this woman came and she had a child who was autistic and some of the people had the attitude, “Well then don’t bring your kid out. If you can’t get your kid to wear a mask then don’t bring your kid out.” But my daughter had a chance to actually talk to her and just her heart broke for this woman because she’s like, “I can’t leave my house. I can’t go to the grocery store.” I mean, we don’t really think about those implications for people until you really hear it from their perspective.

And so, Chloe went and talked to her manager she’s like, “Is there anything we can do?” And they made it happen. They took her through a back way where she wasn’t going to be exposed to people and isolated a table for them. They actually made it work. So, I think using your voice, my point is if you actually don’t just get angry and frustrated with people but actually take a minute to try to connect with people, gain rapport and get them to hear your story I think you’re going to find more people will want to help you so.

Daniel Amen, MD:          All right one more question. This from Jesse Fetone, “Would really appreciate it if you can tell me which Brain MD supplement would help my temporal lobes and help me focus.” So focus energy for focus and we often like GABA calming to help relax, prevent temporal lobe issues.

We’re so grateful that you listen to the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. If you’ve learned anything please leave us a comment, question or review at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. Whatever you learn post it on any of your social media sites, hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. Share it with the people you know need it. We would be grateful as well.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      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 a five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD: 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.