Violent Video Games: What Are The Effects?

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

In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen answer some of your questions. This week’s installment covers such topics as video game violence, hypothyroidism, histamine intolerance, and the differences between SAMe and Serotonin Mood Support. If you’d like your question answered on the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, you can submit your questions at

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the 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 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
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior 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
Welcome back. This is the Q and A section of our podcast this week and we've been talking about the holidays and how to stay healthy, how to eat like a brain warrior and pass on the gift of health. But in this episode, we're going to answer some of your questions. One of the reasons we love to get your questions and your comments is because it enters you in a raffle to get a cookbook. This is the cookbook that you will get and we've been talking about this, especially for the holidays. It not only makes a great gift, but there's a section in here on how to be healthy for the holidays. For this week, the winners are Sheila from Grand Junction , Colorado; Randall from Lake Wales, Florida; Valerie from Henderson, Nevada; and Natalia from Point Roberts, Washington. So, congratulations. We are so excited. Thank you so much for sending in your questions and your comments.
To enter the drawing, all you have to do is leave a review on Apple podcast, preferably a positive one. Go to our website and ask us your questions. Leave us your comments, anything interesting you have and go to Visit the review page for details. It will explain to you what to do.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, we're so excited and there're lots of questions. So the first one, "What are your thoughts about the effects of violent video games on the brain?" They wear out your pleasure centers. There's actually a great book about this by my friend Archibald Hart called, "Thrilled to Death," and it's the more you push on the pleasure centers, when you blow up things, that ultimately you get depressed and it wears them out over time. These games can be addictive. They also decrease frontal lobe function, which means they're going to decrease your empathy when you're used to killing. The brain, I was talking to Chloe about this this week because she did a very intense acting job-
Tana Amen: For two hours.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... and I'm like, the brain doesn't know-
Tana Amen: That she was screaming and crying-
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... between fantasy and reality. I remember last night, we were watching Poldark, which is a television show from PBS that we're watching. It's great and a baby died. And I'm like, "I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry."
Tana Amen: But you cried.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But I cried because the brain has problems separating fantasy from reality, so putting a developing brain in the middle of violence, just a battle.
Tana Amen: Well, and there's another book by Colonel David Grossman and it talks about violent video games and how actually the military developed one of their first simulators based on a Nintendo, one of the violent video games because what they started to notice, they were actually studying school shooters and not just school shooters, but active shooters that were these kids who had never picked up a weapon before, but suddenly could pick up a weapon, walk into a group of moving people. You know how hard it is to hit a moving target and hit them like in a dead on... like with that perfect have a shot.
What they noticed was like... They're like, "Why? We have trained people, trained military, trained police officers. It's not that easy to do. Why are these kids able to do this and they've never picked up a weapon before?" Because they were spending hours and hours and hours perfecting it and by simulation, and it also desensitize them. So they were being desensitized and perfecting it at the same time. And the military went, "Bad idea for them. Good idea for us," so they actually developed a simulation program based on it. That should tell you something.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Can you do this one?
Tana Amen: Yeah. "So I'm a 15 year old female diagnosed with hyperthyroid..."
Dr. Daniel Amen: 55.
Tana Amen: What'd I say?
Dr. Daniel Amen: 15.
Tana Amen: Oh, cut! Okay. "I'm a 55 year old female diagnosed with hypothyroid and then later diagnosed with Hashimoto's. I take levothyroxine daily that may be adjusted every six weeks based on the blood test results. What can I do to cure or relieve this disease and a few symptoms such as feeling cold most of the time and feeling sleepy? I'm in great shape and physically active and have recently dropped 15 pounds on Lindora program, which my endocrinologist told me it would be difficult to lose weight. What can a person do to correct the brain to cure the remedy of the disease? Thank you very much. From Alisa."
Okay, well that's something I know a lot about. So hypothyroid, hyperthyroid; I've been at both ends of the spectrum. I totally get this and it's miserable. I actually had Hashimoto's as well, so I feel your pain. They say that having thyroid disease won't kill you, but it'll just make you wish you were dead if it's bad enough. So I totally get it. Especially, the fatigue. If you're hyperthyroid, you can be wired tired, but right? I don't mean like a little wired and tired. I mean like just miserable. You can't sleep at night and you're miserable during the day. Hypothyroidism can cause depression, severe fatigue, make your muscles ache, it's really bad. Your hair will fall out. So lots problems with it. Hyperthyroidism will also cause your heart to race. There's just so many problems that occur when your thyroid's not right. Every cell in your body needs your thyroid to be optimized. Let's put it that way.
So good for you for getting it checked, following it and going to a doctor. What I will say, it's critical. I really hope you've researched this doctor and that this doctor's good because I've actually had two doctors that I thought were trying to kill me.
Dr. Daniel Amen: In retrospect.
Tana Amen: Yes, in retrospect. So I was never right. I was so miserable. I just, I couldn't figure it out. When I finally found the doctor I have now, I actually fly to San Francisco. Now I only have to fly up there once a year. Thank God. But it was worth that just so that I didn't feel like I was dying all the time. This guy was amazing. He finally got my medication right. He checks everything and optimizes my T4, my T3, my TSH. I mean everything, because I've had thyroid cancer multiple times. So really critical you go to the right doctor and that your thyroid levels are not normal, they are optimal. As far as what can you do; that's really a complicated question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, one thing that we actually found with Chloe's teacher is that when she got rid of gluten, it really helped.
Tana Amen: Well, especially with auto immune. If it really is Hashimoto's-
Dr. Daniel Amen: You've got to ask yourself, "Why is your immune system attacking?"
Tana Amen: And there are a ton of studies online. You can actually read about the effects of autoimmune and gluten. So highly recommended. If your doctor's worth their salt, they're going to probably tell you that there's... Even Western medicine doctors now, there's so many studies on the effects of gluten and autoimmune disorders that you just got to pay attention to it. So try it. Try going gluten free for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And then the end of mental illness that's coming out in a couple of months, there's a whole section on autoimmunity and the brain-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... and hormones and the brain, and how they often will interact together. All right. I have a question. "I was wondering if you can do a topic on histamine intolerance and what is the right diet? I don't have it, but a friend of mine was recently diagnosed and was given a food list. I just want to know. From Rowena."
It is a real thing and causes people incredible stress and physical symptoms; coughing, rash, pain, that going on [crosstalk 00:08:26] Going on a typically healthy diet is actually not the right thing because as we implied earlier, tomatoes can cause excessive histamine release. Avocados, which we talk about all the time, which are really great brain healthy, but not if you have histamine intolerance.
Tana Amen: Wine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wine.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Certain cheeses-
Tana Amen: Especially red wine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Certain fermented foods. So there's a lot about it on online, but it is clearly a real thing-
Tana Amen: Yeah, we highly recommend you-
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... and we'll think about doing a week on that.
Tana Amen: And we'd highly recommend you talking to an actual nutritionist for that because they actually have very specific diets that can really help you walk you through that, but it can give you migraines, it can give you all sorts of problems.
Dr. Daniel Amen: "Been enjoying the podcast, I found the nutritional ones and formative, especially with Dr. Kidd as he answered many of these questions. Dr. Kidd said that SAMe was a really good supplement to take for mood. However, you also make Serotonin Mood Support. Why would one take one over the other if SAMe's thought of that way for mood?"
Tana Amen: Great question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: From Mindy.
Tana Amen: Great question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And what I've found is that SAMe is really good to stimulate your brain-
Tana Amen: More like a dopamine type of reaction, right?
Dr. Daniel Amen: If your tend to be sad-
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... and tired and have brain fog and you need a stimulant, that SAMe is actually really good. It's also good for pain. So if you have pain, tiredness and a low mood, SAMe's good. If you're one of our type fours, we recommend SAMe. If, however, you're a type three, which is worried, rigid, inflexible, things don't go your way you get upset, SAMe can actually make you a little bit more worried and more anxious. Serotonin Mood Support is to help calm the brain for the sadness that goes with worry and inflexibility.
Tana Amen: Yeah. I really liked this question because if you listen to our podcast regularly, you heard the episode where I talked about when I was put on Prozac; was not a good combination. And you had mentioned to me when we were dating and I got scanned, you're like, "Oh, I hope no one ever put you on Prozac when you were depressed." And I'm like, "Oh, okay." Because what happened was I suddenly became very impulsive and lacked judgment, right? It really was a bad, bad choice for me. For some reason, I decided to try Serotonin Mood Support one time when I was under stress, I felt drunk. I literally felt drunk, like I was walking [crosstalk 00:11:15].
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... completely on your own without-
Tana Amen: I did. Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: consulting-
Tana Amen: I totally did because I was anxious and I'm like, "Oh, maybe this will help." And I realized, "Oh, this is doing the same thing to me." I put it together quickly that this is doing the same thing, that same feeling-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Thank God it didn't end up in Costa Rica.
Tana Amen: So it was making me feel the same way that Prozac made me feel. But when I took SAMe, I felt better. I felt like more aware, awake, energized, motivated, didn't feel anxious, felt good. I felt good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: No, I took 1200 milligrams of our SAMe and I don't really take it for mood because as you often say, I have Mickey and Minnie dancing in my head.
Tana Amen: Yeah. No.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But I have arthritis in my knees and it just helps my knees so that I can walk for five minutes.
Tana Amen: That is a problem. That is why you're the way you are. Now I understand it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Its the SAMe.
Tana Amen: Dear, Lord.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We are so grateful for you as we're coming at the end of gratitude week. Write down three things you're grateful for every day. Within three weeks, you'll notice an increased level in your happiness. We are happy you are one of our brain warriors. What did you learn today? Leave a comment, question or review on and post what you learned on any of your social media sites and hashtag Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Tana Amen: And we will enter you into our raffle to win the cookbook. Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Happy holidays.
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 Brain MD, you can use the code Podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at or a 10% discount on all supplements at For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.