Q&A: Automatic Negative Thoughts, Vaping & Marijuana

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

It’s time for another Q&A! In this episode, the Amens dip into the mailbag to answer some of your questions. This episode features information and tips on automatic negative thoughts, brain injuries, Omega 3 benefits, and dealing with impulse control. If you’d like your own question answered on the podcast, visit brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and follow the instructions on how to submit.

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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 Brain MD 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 going to read your questions. This is one of my favorite segments that we do during the week, so please leave your questions for us. You can go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, go to the review section and you can leave your questions for us because we really enjoy answering them. And before we get started, make sure that you go to that same website, brainwarriorwaypodcast.com, and if you do leave questions it will enter you into a raffle to receive my cookbook, The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook, which I'm really... I just love and it's very practical. So we'll send you one of those if you win.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We've had all sorts of those recipes in the last couple of weeks. So the sesame kale salad recipe-
Tana Amen: The [shawarma 00:01:33].
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... which is just one of my favorite ever, that kale salad I can have every week.
Tana Amen: Crock pot shawarma. We had-
Dr. Daniel Amen: The lentil soup. The lentil soup is so good.
Tana Amen: The chicken soup. Yeah, the healing chicken soup. Yeah, we had all kinds. The brownies.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right, let's get to your questions. My son really struggles with ANTs, automatic negative thoughts, and self-medicates with marijuana because he said it's the only thing that knocks out the ANTs for hours at a time. Do you have some better strategies to get rid of them other than exercise, since he already does a lot of that. I love your podcast. Thank you for all the great help you give people.
Tana Amen: We did an entire week on ANTs too. Right? So we'll give you an answer here, but you can also go back and listen to our podcast on ANTs.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and I don't know how old he is, but even if he's a teenager or a young adult, you can also get him my book Captain Snout and the Super Power Questions. Even though it's a kid's book, it's practical, powerful. But here's, and share this episode with him, whenever you feel sad or mad or nervous or out of control, I want you to write down what you're thinking and then ask yourself, is it true? Can you absolutely know if it's true? Because the problem with medicating the ANTs is they only... when the marijuana wears off, the ANTs get stronger because they'd been mating. And these stronger mutant ANTs, they come and attack, which then means because you have no skill in dealing with the ANTs, you have to smoke more pot or whatever, drink alcohol, take a Xanax.
Tana Amen: But isn't it actually making it... When you come down from it, it makes it a little worse because you're sort of damaging...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Your brain's ability to manage the thought. So when the ANTs attack, just be really clear, write them down and then assess them. And in Feel Better Fast and Make It Last or Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, there are whole sections on how to get rid of the ANTs, but it basically involves identifying them, right? Write down the negative thoughts and then ask yourself these questions, is it true? Can I absolutely know if it's true? How do I feel when I believe it? And who would I be without it?
And my favorite part of the whole process we teach is turning the thought around to the opposite and ask yourself if the opposite of the bad thought running through your head is not true.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So the example I like to give, if I think to myself, Tana never listens to me.
Tana Amen: Why do you always use that one?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because I've had that thought, Tana never listens to me. And so then I write it down and I'm like, "Well, is that true?" And I'm like, "No, she listens to me all the time." I make her her special cappuccino in the morning and we always sit for 20 minutes.
Tana Amen: We sit and talk.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But that's what people don't know that thoughts that lie to you can hijack your life. Because if you don't question a thought, you believe it 100% and then you act [crosstalk 00:05:14] unbelief.
Tana Amen: One thing I like that you often say is you were really great at talking back to your parents when you were a teenager, but no one ever taught you to talk back to yourself. And that's more important, way more important actually. It'll get you in a lot less trouble. It'll help save your life.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so by writing down the thoughts, you get them out of your head, you can then challenge them in the method that we give you and you won't have to medicate them.
Tana Amen: And let's talk about a couple of practical things. Okay? So a lot of people claim that magnesium makes them feel a little calmer. So what about taking some magnesium? Like I have to take it to sleep. Like, I feel sleepy when I take magnesium.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So magnesium is one of our favorites. Actually, Brain MD has a chewable magnesium [crosstalk 00:05:59].
Tana Amen: So many people claim that magnesium helps.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Love Gaba helps, [inaudible 00:06:04] helps. So, if he wants to use a substance, well let's use something that we know won't hurt you. Because marijuana, the studies are actually pretty clear on marijuana, it makes you more anxious, more depressed and a little bit paranoid and so that's not a good ANT killing prescription.
Tana Amen: One more thing. So one of the other things that I love for sleep, lavender and valerian tea really helps at night to calm you down. So between the magnesium, I take a little bit of melatonin and the lavender and valerian tea, it just takes the edge off.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Awesome. All right, another question. Wondered if you could address brain injuries on your podcast. I'm coming up on a year since I had a serious fall. I did go to the emergency room, but basically they just do a CAT scan for brain bleed, an x-ray to determine if anything is broken. I've been healing little by little with lots of sleep and eating the best I can, reading what I can find on concussions. I wasn't able to walk for almost four months, which has gotten better, but balance is still an issue. Would love to get brain imaging done at your clinic, but insurance won't likely cover it. Although one of the things we learned-
Tana Amen: It's getting more and more.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... is that about 62% of our patients get their services here, including the scans covered by insurance. Are there specific supplements? I really enjoy your podcast and a few book of yours that I've read. From, Bridget M. So-
Tana Amen: So before we get too far down that road, we did an entire week on brain injuries. So make sure you go back and listen to that podcast, look for brain injury week. I don't know what it's called, but it has something about brain injury in the week so that you get a whole bunch of information. But then ... Now answer her question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, what did we call it? Skeleton [crosstalk 00:08:05] or something like that.
Tana Amen: I can't remember. I don't remember but it was-
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. If you've had a brain injury, what Bridget said is absolutely right, people go to the emergency room, just like when your mom, they do a CAT scan, they actually missed her brain bleed.
Tana Amen: And she had a brain bleed and they said she was fine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, and that's appropriate. But the thing they don't tell you is because you've hurt your brain, it is critical to now put your brain in a healing environment. It's a perfect brain warrior. If you had a head injury, you want to be a brain warrior. And so food really matters. Kill the sugar, kill the artificial dyes and sweeteners because they make it harder to recover, which is why it's insane to have Gatorade on the sidelines of football games and sporting events.
Tana Amen: It's insane to have an insane drink on the sideline of an insane sport?
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I'm a psychiatrist.
Tana Amen: And you like insane, you specialize in insane.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I know insane when I see it and that's insane. Also, you want to make sure you don't end up with the Irlen syndrome. I-R-L-E-N. Go to irlen.com and learn about it. People often have a head injury, often after a head injury develop a visual processing issue where they're sensitive to light, they have depth perception issues, reading becomes hard, they have headaches, they're irritable and just going on psychiatric drugs, often not the answer because to treat Irlen people often will wear colored filtered lenses like blue lenses or yellow lenses or orange lenses or brown lens depending on your brain. Makes a monster difference.
For our NFL study, we've done 300 NFL players, high levels of damage. What we did with them is taught them about brain health. And I think my book Memory Rescue, there's a whole chapter on concussions and how to heal from them. But I love Omega-3 fatty acids, a multiple vitamin. We make something called Brain and Memory Power Boost. And we actually used our NeuroVite Plus Omega-3 Power Brain and Memory Power Boost, and 80% of our players showed improvement in as little as two months.
Tana Amen: And so one of the things we talk about, even in the Brain Warrior's Way is you want to be assessed. We always treat according to your numbers, your assessment, right? You get your blood work done. We want to know what's low because you need the proper nutrients. You want to be doing stuff obviously to increase blood flow because most of us in this society do things that are not helping to increase blood flow. So that's what we want to be really focusing on, right, with head injuries.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So two more quick questions. My teenage son has recently struggled with his mood and they have heard me talk about the benefits of Omega-3 supplements. Can you explain why they may help with mood disorders? So Omega-3 power has almost three grams of fish oil and 1,440 milligrams of Omega-3s in the right blend to support your mood. So there's more EPA than DHA. EPA has been found to be helpful for mood and focus. DHA is more helpful for anxiety and memory, but we have a big slug of both of those. And 25% of what makes up your nerve cell membranes in the brain are Omega-3 fatty acids. So, when they're low, inflammation goes up, communication in your brain goes down and you're more vulnerable to cognitive impairment and mood issues. So head to head against antidepressants. There's a study from New Zealand. Prozac worked in 51% of the cases, omega-3 fatty acids worked in 58% of the cases. And when they did both, it was almost an 80% success rate.
Tana Amen: One of the things I like about fish oil is a lot of the studies there are a lot of doctors using really high dose fish oil. Now I'm not saying... Don't do that unless you're actually having someone follow you. But for healing, I know at a forum where I take my courses, there are doctors using up to like 15 grams a day of fish oil, but don't do that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah. No, I think up to six grams a day is fine. And in Brain and Body Power Max, which is sort of our repair formula, we have four capsules of Omega-3 power, which has just about six grams [crosstalk 00:12:59].
Tana Amen: Right, which is great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Last question. Of the amazing supplements Brain MDA sells, which do you recommend for people who struggle with focus and forethought and impulse control? And that's exactly why I made Focus and Energy. Focus and Energy has green tea, no caffeine, green tea extract, which has been found to be helpful for energy and focus. Ashwagandha, which will actually calm you but help you focus. So rather than the stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, they may agitate some people, Rhodiola, which helps with stress, ginseng and Choline, which helps with focus and memory. So it's a great combination product to be helpful. So those are the questions this week. Thank you so much.
Tana Amen: And don't forget to tag us on Instagram and share this information if it's been helpful. Go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, leave your questions or a review. You can also go to Apple Podcast and leave a review there. Thanks a lot.
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Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from Brain MD, 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.