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The End of Mental Illness: How Neuroscience Is Transforming Psychiatry and Helping Prevent or Reverse Mood and Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Addictions, PTSD, Psychosis, Personality Disorders, and More

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New hope for those suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, PTSD, ADHD and more. Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn't much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the "mental illness" label--damaging and de New hope for those suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, PTSD, ADHD and more. Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn't much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the "mental illness" label--damaging and devastating on its own--can often prevent sufferers from getting the help they need. Brain specialist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen is on the forefront of a new movement within medicine and related disciplines that aims to change all that. In The End of Mental Illness, Dr. Amen draws on the latest findings of neuroscience to challenge an outdated psychiatric paradigm and help readers take control and improve the health of their own brain, minimizing or reversing conditions that may be preventing them from living a full and emotionally healthy life. The End of Mental Illness will help you discover: Why labeling someone as having a "mental illness" is not only inaccurate but harmful. Why standard treatment may not have helped you or a loved one--and why diagnosing and treating you based on your symptoms alone so often misses the true cause of those symptoms and results in poor outcomes At least 100 simple things you can do yourself to heal your brain and prevent or reverse the problems that are making you feel sad, mad, or bad How to identify your "brain type" and what you can do to optimize your particular type Where to find the kind of health provider who understands and uses the new paradigm of brain health


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New hope for those suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, PTSD, ADHD and more. Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn't much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the "mental illness" label--damaging and de New hope for those suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, PTSD, ADHD and more. Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn't much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the "mental illness" label--damaging and devastating on its own--can often prevent sufferers from getting the help they need. Brain specialist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen is on the forefront of a new movement within medicine and related disciplines that aims to change all that. In The End of Mental Illness, Dr. Amen draws on the latest findings of neuroscience to challenge an outdated psychiatric paradigm and help readers take control and improve the health of their own brain, minimizing or reversing conditions that may be preventing them from living a full and emotionally healthy life. The End of Mental Illness will help you discover: Why labeling someone as having a "mental illness" is not only inaccurate but harmful. Why standard treatment may not have helped you or a loved one--and why diagnosing and treating you based on your symptoms alone so often misses the true cause of those symptoms and results in poor outcomes At least 100 simple things you can do yourself to heal your brain and prevent or reverse the problems that are making you feel sad, mad, or bad How to identify your "brain type" and what you can do to optimize your particular type Where to find the kind of health provider who understands and uses the new paradigm of brain health

30 review for The End of Mental Illness: How Neuroscience Is Transforming Psychiatry and Helping Prevent or Reverse Mood and Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Addictions, PTSD, Psychosis, Personality Disorders, and More

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ozenc Demirkan

    I started to read it as someone with ADHD diagnosis. His system is awesome and all but he is just selling his clinic and his SPECK scan which is not affordable if you are not rich. If you are a rich person or a celebrity yes you can try that out but it doesn't change the status quo of many people who suffer from these symptoms. In my opinion it only adds to the stigma around these diagnosis. I started to read it as someone with ADHD diagnosis. His system is awesome and all but he is just selling his clinic and his SPECK scan which is not affordable if you are not rich. If you are a rich person or a celebrity yes you can try that out but it doesn't change the status quo of many people who suffer from these symptoms. In my opinion it only adds to the stigma around these diagnosis.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Lombardi

    As a psychologist, I found this to be a refreshing take on improving differential diagnosis and avoiding using only symptom clusters. The harping on SPECT becomes a bit repetitive, but I understand his purpose is to inform others to take this procedure into account with mental illness treatment. Overall, this book was enlightening.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sammie Marshall

    snake oil salesmen

  4. 4 out of 5

    JP Hellmich

    I want to love it, but: 1) It is a giant sales-pitch for his other books and his clinic. 2) The book is VERY redundant, and repetitive (see what i did there). 3) On occasion, very simple comprehensible language is used when describing things in his line of thought whereas complex terminology (without the usual explanation!) is used when explaining drawbacks. I find this unprofessional. 4) The book is one sided. Currently, research is inconclusive whether the scans he swears by are even usable. 5) I want to love it, but: 1) It is a giant sales-pitch for his other books and his clinic. 2) The book is VERY redundant, and repetitive (see what i did there). 3) On occasion, very simple comprehensible language is used when describing things in his line of thought whereas complex terminology (without the usual explanation!) is used when explaining drawbacks. I find this unprofessional. 4) The book is one sided. Currently, research is inconclusive whether the scans he swears by are even usable. 5) The style of the book is clearly catered towards an American audience. It is unfortunate as his core message (that Psychiatry neglects the physical and biological brain; and that we must improve our brains health) is interesting, plausible and perhaps essential. However, it is too much work to sift through the redundant information and constant sales pitches. Elsewhere there certainly exists a more scientific and objective rendering.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

    Need to write that review because this book needs to be read. It will help you HEAL YOURSELVES. Only that. It helped me SO MUCH and I dislike self help books so that says a lot.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve Vaughn

    I like the direction Dr Amen is going in: looking for physically measurable symptoms to explain what we call mental illness. He suggests that Brain Disease is more logical way to discribe much of what we have been calling Mental illness. But having already accepted that idea, there is just not much more in the book for me. And on top of that, he makes the same points over and over again. The repeatitiveness is irritating to me. Again, I think the work he is doing is important, but the book is more I like the direction Dr Amen is going in: looking for physically measurable symptoms to explain what we call mental illness. He suggests that Brain Disease is more logical way to discribe much of what we have been calling Mental illness. But having already accepted that idea, there is just not much more in the book for me. And on top of that, he makes the same points over and over again. The repeatitiveness is irritating to me. Again, I think the work he is doing is important, but the book is more of a sales pitch than anything else. Buy the book if you want to support his promising research, but i did not enjoy this reading experience.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nick K

    I don't write reviews, especially negative reviews like the following one, but this book deserves one for its problematic, borderline pseudo-scientific, narratives. First, the intriguing part: a psychiatrist that seems motivated to apply "breakthrough" techniques to psychiatric diagnosis and therapy. Especially the part about psychiatry being the only medical specialty not looking at the organ-in-question, namely, the brain, resonated with me. This beautiful premise fell apart just after the firs I don't write reviews, especially negative reviews like the following one, but this book deserves one for its problematic, borderline pseudo-scientific, narratives. First, the intriguing part: a psychiatrist that seems motivated to apply "breakthrough" techniques to psychiatric diagnosis and therapy. Especially the part about psychiatry being the only medical specialty not looking at the organ-in-question, namely, the brain, resonated with me. This beautiful premise fell apart just after the first 100 pages and after a brief bibliographic search on the validity of the claims. So, here comes the avalanche of problem areas (in bullet points, for your convenience): - The title: pompous, even he admits having a 85% success rate. Also, the etiologies of many mental disorders have not been properly discerned, so claiming to end them without even knowing how they are manifested in the first place just makes my own brain hurt - His methods (SPECT scanning) are not endorsed by any of the major scientific associations in US as a definite diagnostic tool for psychiatric disorders, due to inadequate evidence published in peer-reviewed scientific journals - Even with a basic medical foundation, it is common knowledge that physical disease (like trauma, infections and endocrine disorders) should be ruled out before diagnosing someone with a mental disorder. Psychiatrists must go through 4 years of med school too, apparently. - The "therapeutic" measures proposed can be summarized as follows: eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, don't do drugs. Who would have thought. - I actually got a case of "health anxiety" just by reading about all the necessary nutrapharmaceuticalwhatevers for my brain. Provided with appropriate doses, because everyone has taken a course on pharmacokinetics and will be responsible enough not to mix 100 different "natural" pills. - The use of the words "chemicals" and "toxins". A revelation: our whole body is made solely of chemicals. That is why doctors have to endure biochemistry. Additionally, water can be toxic too - if you drink 5 lts at once. Ask people with polydipsia. - Product placement. Product placement everywhere. Isn't there something called conflict-of-interest, I wonder. I have a few other points on style, but they seem irrelevant compared to the inaccurate content of this book. Sure, it may offer hope for people with psychiatric disease, because frankly, these diseases are harsh to live with. But thousands of scientists work day and night trying to fight them - in labs, in clinics, in the public health sector, without expecting huge salaries, just for the common good. Such a book offers empty hopes and hundreds of dollars to his author, giving back only basic healthy life advice. For more info, check this out: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Willie Elliott

    If I actually hear Dr. Amen refer to his clinic ONE more time in this book I think I may lose it. As others have said here, I appreciate what he is trying to do for the field of psychiatry, which has much redundancy in diagnosing mental illness and often refers to the DSM-5 for current diagnoses, a tool that is skeptical to say the least. The alternative that Dr. Amen suggests is to use SPECT scans, which is a great tool to use for getting a better looking at brain ACTIVITY, but guess why a lot If I actually hear Dr. Amen refer to his clinic ONE more time in this book I think I may lose it. As others have said here, I appreciate what he is trying to do for the field of psychiatry, which has much redundancy in diagnosing mental illness and often refers to the DSM-5 for current diagnoses, a tool that is skeptical to say the least. The alternative that Dr. Amen suggests is to use SPECT scans, which is a great tool to use for getting a better looking at brain ACTIVITY, but guess why a lot of doctors don't use it? It's expensive and on top of that, there is one thing to say that you have decreased activity in a specific brain area and another to jump to a conclusion and say that this is the result of a mental illness....it's not that easy and neither is it necessarily diagnostic of mental illness either. Also, Dr. Amen should be WELL aware that you can not just throw out "nutriceuticals" in a book in a way that makes them appear as the savior to curing mental illness, because these nutritional supplements can definitely interact with medications people are on or make some individuals with comorbidities even worse. At the end of the day, it's important to talk to your doctor before jumping to the conclusion of taking these nutritional supplements and I suppose that is why he keeps referencing the Amen clinics...Lastly, the book is clearly biased and only mentions good outcomes, hence why he is trying to advertise his clinic. The book fails to mention how nutriceuticals can have adverse outcomes depending on the health of a patient and/or patient allergies and how it's very much quite possible that not all patients who receive a nutriceutical and stick to his advice are getting better. 2/5 and I expect more from someone who's been through 10+ years of higher education.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andi Fritz

    After reading this book, I wish brain scans were a typical practice in the mental health field and that there were more Amen clinics nationwide. The future of brain health/mental illness treatment will be positively impacted by the implementation of the Amen practices in the book. I’m looking forward to reading more books by Dr. Amen. Love your brain!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    Started reading "The End of Mental Illness" by Dr. Amen a bit ago. Page 31 is where I call the effort dead. I am very disappointed in the attempts at manipulation, the clear agenda over truth and facts, the poor logic, and the lack of intellectual and academic honesty. I do not recommend it. Started reading "The End of Mental Illness" by Dr. Amen a bit ago. Page 31 is where I call the effort dead. I am very disappointed in the attempts at manipulation, the clear agenda over truth and facts, the poor logic, and the lack of intellectual and academic honesty. I do not recommend it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Repetitive and lacking a bit. I didn't get a whole ton out of it.. Until the end there was some good advice about supplements. If you're new to brain health then yes this might be interesting for u. Repetitive and lacking a bit. I didn't get a whole ton out of it.. Until the end there was some good advice about supplements. If you're new to brain health then yes this might be interesting for u.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Reyes

    In this paradigm-shifting book, Amen argues that mental health should really be framed as brain health, and that when you frame it this way, it removes stigma because “everyone wants a better brain.” Early on in his training to become a psychiatrist, Daniel Amen realized this simple truth: psychiatrists are the only doctors that treat an organ (the brain) that they never actually look at. With the expertise gained from 100,000+ SPECT scans (a form of brain imaging), Amen has learned how if you c In this paradigm-shifting book, Amen argues that mental health should really be framed as brain health, and that when you frame it this way, it removes stigma because “everyone wants a better brain.” Early on in his training to become a psychiatrist, Daniel Amen realized this simple truth: psychiatrists are the only doctors that treat an organ (the brain) that they never actually look at. With the expertise gained from 100,000+ SPECT scans (a form of brain imaging), Amen has learned how if you can change your brain you can change your life (also the title of another of his books). Amen advocates for treatment that places more emphasis on lifestyle changes and natural solutions than a traditional pharmaceutical approach. Amen details eleven risk factors that everyone can address to optimize brain health that range from common ones such as sleep and exercise to lesser known ones like head trauma and toxins. Scientific, yet easy to understand, Amen gives us a glimpse into what the future of treating psychiatric illness might look like.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian Sachetta

    I’m a big fan of Dr. Amen’s work. I read “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” a few years ago and was totally floored. I’d never heard of SPECT brain imaging before, never mind its use in diagnosing and treating various forms of mental illness. This book builds on the SPECT-inspired “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” much like Amen’s other works do. I guess that’s to be expected since SPECT scanning is his “thing” and is what he’s based so much of his career on. This one opens strongly, citin I’m a big fan of Dr. Amen’s work. I read “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” a few years ago and was totally floored. I’d never heard of SPECT brain imaging before, never mind its use in diagnosing and treating various forms of mental illness. This book builds on the SPECT-inspired “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” much like Amen’s other works do. I guess that’s to be expected since SPECT scanning is his “thing” and is what he’s based so much of his career on. This one opens strongly, citing daunting statistics around mental illness and calling for change. From there, Amen paints a historical picture of how our approaches to mental health have changed over time, then introduces his “BRIGHT MINDS” framework / acronym to outline the subjects he’ll discuss in the book. Once he jumps into his framework, he dedicates one chapter to each underlying word in that BRIGHT MINDS acronym. For example: “B is for Blood Flow” and “R is for Retirement and Aging.” Within each chapter, he discusses what it is about each subject that can be so detrimental to our mental health. He then goes on to recommend behaviors, habits, and supplements that we can implement / take in order to improve our standing in regard to each word / phrase in the acronym. The reason why I’d give this book four stars instead of five is that these BRIGHT MINDS chapters become a little disengaging or repetitive after a while; I found myself spacing out sometimes during a few of them. Don’t get me wrong, the information in each one is valuable. It’s just that when you’re on the 300th recommended supplement of the book, each additional one holds, marginally, less weight. My guess as to why this was the case is that the topics within the BRIGHT MINDS framework are wide-ranging, meaning several of them won’t apply to you. For example, not everyone reading the book is heading for retirement in the next few years. As such, if I were to give a conclusion / recommendation, it would be this: read part one, then focus on the BRIGHT MINDS related chapters that are most relevant to you. All the content in the book is interesting, as is the book as a whole, but some of it will more be more engaging for you specifically depending on your age, genetics, and personal history. -Brian Sachetta Author of “Get Out of Your Head: A Toolkit for Living with and Overcoming Anxiety”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Loved it! changed the way I look at and understand mental illness and also was surprisingly beneficial for me! I got it from the library but am tempted to buy it and just have it around as a reference.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Hoffmann

    Every person should read this book. The content is SO good and could seriously change your life by evaluating the way you take care of your body and it’s direct impact on your health. His scientific results are astoundingly clear that there is a bigger cultural issue at play when it comes to our health habits. I’ll definitely be making some lifestyle changes after reading this book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I loved this book. I find the title to be a little misleading. While it does talk a lot about mental illness, the focus is mostly on how to get a healthy brain and keep it healthy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Excellent! Dr. Amen's passion and compassion is infectious. We really can improve our lives by taking steps to improve our brain health. Excellent! Dr. Amen's passion and compassion is infectious. We really can improve our lives by taking steps to improve our brain health.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    An excellent book for someone who isn't used to reading boring scientific nonfiction. The information is fantastic, of course - it's Dr. Amen after all. I found myself skimming through a lot as I didn't like the way the book was laid out, but if this information is completely new to you then I recommend it. An excellent book for someone who isn't used to reading boring scientific nonfiction. The information is fantastic, of course - it's Dr. Amen after all. I found myself skimming through a lot as I didn't like the way the book was laid out, but if this information is completely new to you then I recommend it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    What an important read. I love his use of clear scientific examples. He shows you brain scans of people before and after treatment for different issues. He states clearly what needs to be done to protect our brains and why. And he has the science to back him up. This book was written clearly and interestingly enough for a nurse but easy for the lay person. It's very organized. It's a touch repetitive but it's not overdone. I really enjoyed this. Very interesting!! Love this man!!! What an important read. I love his use of clear scientific examples. He shows you brain scans of people before and after treatment for different issues. He states clearly what needs to be done to protect our brains and why. And he has the science to back him up. This book was written clearly and interestingly enough for a nurse but easy for the lay person. It's very organized. It's a touch repetitive but it's not overdone. I really enjoyed this. Very interesting!! Love this man!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    Interesting perspective on causes and treatments of mental illness, with tips for improving brain health. Quite repetitive, but overall a helpful resource

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kari Olfert

    My only real criticism is Daniel continually patting himself on the back for 'saving' his neices, like ok we get it, they were in a not great situation but it felt like it was bad taste. If you have money or great connections this book will likely feel like music to your ears. Other times it feels like a low key dad lecture. I really did like the book, super informative and great tips! My only real criticism is Daniel continually patting himself on the back for 'saving' his neices, like ok we get it, they were in a not great situation but it felt like it was bad taste. If you have money or great connections this book will likely feel like music to your ears. Other times it feels like a low key dad lecture. I really did like the book, super informative and great tips!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marlise

    This book is quite repetitive but I’m still giving it a 5 star rating because the content is life-saving. I’ve learned so much from this book, and even the things I already knew are neatly organized so I can take action immediately. Highly recommend to anyone who wants better brain function.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Leather

    One I will be returning to, lending out to only those that return it, and keeping on my book shelf for the future. I've already implemented a few key things for myself and am feeling the benefits of them too. One I will be returning to, lending out to only those that return it, and keeping on my book shelf for the future. I've already implemented a few key things for myself and am feeling the benefits of them too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    JONATHAN PEYTON

    Transformational - IF you make the choice for it to be. People generally know what to do, they just don't do what they know - or do they? In this book Dr. Amen covers a tremendous amount of ground. The title of the book "The End of Mental Illness" may throw off some readers, no spoilers here, but you could change the title to "The End of a Crappy Life", "The End of Unhealthy Lifestyles", "The End of Bad Choices" - it all still applies. The book is well organized and the "tiny habits" summaries t Transformational - IF you make the choice for it to be. People generally know what to do, they just don't do what they know - or do they? In this book Dr. Amen covers a tremendous amount of ground. The title of the book "The End of Mental Illness" may throw off some readers, no spoilers here, but you could change the title to "The End of a Crappy Life", "The End of Unhealthy Lifestyles", "The End of Bad Choices" - it all still applies. The book is well organized and the "tiny habits" summaries throughout the book are game changers. No matter who you are, there have been days when you have felt like you are not 100% - in some cases that's even led to a professional diagnoses and some type of treatment (pill) that can go on for a lifetime; if not yourself, then you've certainly seen this happen to others close to you. But is that the right treatment? - in some cases, yes, but in many I would argue no - but I'm just a layperson and Amen is a MD so perhaps his opinions and thought will go a longer way than mine. Walk into any convenience store in America and you are bombarded with unhealthy choices that are STEALING your life away - we are literally being programmed by corporate America to purchase and consume products that are destroying our health and our lives - generational change - IN A BAD WAY. In addition to a slew of quality advice about healthy lifestyle and food choices that impact your brain and state of mind, Dr. Amen goes the extra step and offers some wisdom on how to expand that impact even further - imagine - a bunch of readers getting excited about getting healthy and taking action to do so - crazytalk! - surely that's someone else's job and my job is to sit back and talk about how bad the status quo is... - no it's not - READ, LEARN, ACT - get off your asses, make good choices, set a good example for your kids, spouse, family, co-workers, everyone. Lots of common sense in this book, not necessarily a lot of common practice (but could be). Preventable death and disease is of major concern to me - the costs are high in our society, and with the current COVID pandemic even more significant - how many people that contracted CV19 on top of pre-existing conditions (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc.) immediately wished they would have made better choices in life - for some it has been terminal - there hasn't been much time to wish... In Louisiana where we rank last or 2nd to last in just about every national ranking category related to wellness, this is a big problem. I put off reading this book b/c it's 448 pages long and I was thinking it would take a great deal of time to read, but I sailed through it in a week - it's a page turner. Doesn't matter who you are, young or old, married, single, no kids or kids - there is information in this book that can set you up for success, happiness, and health. Stop the sugar! Eat the veggies! Exercise! Sleep! Eliminate toxins! Highly recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hybrid

    I’ve got to be honest, this probably a book I will never read again or recommend to anyone (I’d recommend The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs instead). The first 2 chapters were rough. To me, it felt more like a “I’ve helped this person and this persons cousin and...” instead of being scientifically written. After those chapters, it did get (at least) more interesting and had facts that I had read in previous mental health wellness books. I did however apprec I’ve got to be honest, this probably a book I will never read again or recommend to anyone (I’d recommend The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs instead). The first 2 chapters were rough. To me, it felt more like a “I’ve helped this person and this persons cousin and...” instead of being scientifically written. After those chapters, it did get (at least) more interesting and had facts that I had read in previous mental health wellness books. I did however appreciate the SPECT brain scans, and all of the facts and studies he had shared on those (based in Amen’s own clinics) in the following chapters. My least favorite thing about the book was the “Evil ruler vs. Benevolent ruler” or “Steps to create mental illness... and make my nieces, Alizé and Amelie, suffer vs. Steps to end mental illness... and keep my nieces, Alizé and Amelie, healthy” portions of the chapters. First off, I thought it was completely unnecessary to name his nieces every single time (I know this isn’t a big deal, it was just a small annoyance to me). Secondly, I feel that the left column (Evil ruler/Nieces suffer) was unneeded as well. I stopped reading the left column because to me, it was pointless. Why would I need to know the things an “evil ruler” would do to make the world a worse place based on each chapter? Why not only write examples of how we can better ourselves and our world? If anything, I already know what not to do and what an evil ruler would do because it was written throughout the chapter. Another (small) annoyance to me personally was the fact that the footnotes were at the back of the book (I’m a footnotes at the bottom of the pages kinda gal). Again, not a big deal. Lastly, at the end of the book, it included websites for Amen’s (and his wife’s) websites which you had to purchase to access. To me, it just seems like a little too much self promotion ($$$). Again, not the biggest deal, just something I noticed. Overall, it was not a bad book, just not one I’d recommend. It is also first book I really had a strong opinion about and actually felt like a review was needed.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Warren

    I really enjoyed this book and it's given me a lot to think about when it comes to my own brain/mental health. Some of the reviews that I've seen were disparaging, mentioning that Dr Amen's technique "only" has an 85% success rate. Anyone who has worked in the mental health field will tell you that 85% is stellar. Those reviewers probably don't know this, and that's okay. Now YOU do. Another aspect of the book that people didn't seem to like was that it mentions SPECT scanning...a lot. Well, if t I really enjoyed this book and it's given me a lot to think about when it comes to my own brain/mental health. Some of the reviews that I've seen were disparaging, mentioning that Dr Amen's technique "only" has an 85% success rate. Anyone who has worked in the mental health field will tell you that 85% is stellar. Those reviewers probably don't know this, and that's okay. Now YOU do. Another aspect of the book that people didn't seem to like was that it mentions SPECT scanning...a lot. Well, if that's one of the ways you go about treating a person, doesn't it kind of make sense that it'd get mentioned a lot? Yes. Yes, it does. It's as silly as a conversation about taxes, but complaining that people keep bringing up tax codes. Uh, it's kind of going to get mentioned, don't you think? Overall, I really enjoyed this book. As someone who has been struggling with my own mental health this year (last year being awesome), it made me consider what might have gone on to illicit such a change in me. The only thing that comes to mind is that I rolled my car off of a bridge at the end of December. I walked away literally without a scratch. But did my brain get off so easily? And the answer to that question is one of the reasons that I only give the book 4 stars. I don't know if my brain incurred damage during the roll. Maybe. Probably. The big bummer is that Dr Amen's book offers a light at the end of the tunnel, but most people like me won't be able to afford to board the train and get there. It offers a hope that's JUST out of reach. Which...sucks. A really wonderful aspect of the book, however, is that there are things that I CAN do to help my brain. Dr Amen goes over a number of things, including diet and supplements that can be changed in order to maximize the potential of a healthy brain. (Plus, with some added physical activity, I reckon they'll help a person get a lot more fit.) This is by no means a perfect book. Then again, psychiatry and treatment of mental health aren't perfect, either. It's a learning process and one that, like Dr Amen and his crew, I'm going to continue working on for the rest of my life. I recommend the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Myles

    I understand that books written by scientists are held to a different standard. But this book was a little rough. Dr. Amen's premise is that mental illness is a side-effect of damage to and disease in the brain, that many of us are living with low-functioning brains, and that we can fix it even without knowing which issues are by following his plan. Unfortunately, his plan is not particularly well-presented. After getting you on board with his idea of brain imaging and mental health risk factors, I understand that books written by scientists are held to a different standard. But this book was a little rough. Dr. Amen's premise is that mental illness is a side-effect of damage to and disease in the brain, that many of us are living with low-functioning brains, and that we can fix it even without knowing which issues are by following his plan. Unfortunately, his plan is not particularly well-presented. After getting you on board with his idea of brain imaging and mental health risk factors, he writes a chapter for each risk factor — eleven, total. However, his book is written in a way that seems like it should be for kids — there's an evil king trying to steal your mental health and a good king trying to save it — and for advanced readers — he doesn't explain some medical terminology and concepts that adult readers may not understand. He also has numerous appeals to emotion; while I understand starting each chapter off with a story to explain what can happen if you fix this particular issue, the chapters inevitably end by saving his nieces, who he names. It feels kind of gross to be so blatantly exploiting their story when they're still teenagers. However, the real problem with this book is the readability. Not only does it not explain important things, it also doesn't lay out how to fix or mitigate certain issues in a sensical manner. Much of the chapter was anecdotes about patients, with very little devoted to why that particular topic was a risk factor and what could be done. On the other hand, each chapter had two or three different ways to explain what could be done, though not in any straightforward manner. Then there was the fact that many chapters referenced issues with other chapters. I recognize that with health, issues overlap (sleep issues can cause obesity, obesity can slow blood flow, low blood flow can cause low immunity, and so on), but it doubled back over certain topics so many times that I couldn't tell whether we were still on the same risk factor anymore. The book was hard to get through and hard to retain because so much of it was unhelpful drivel. The concepts are interesting and helpful to apply, but the editors and reviewers should have been more judicious with what they allowed out the door.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    A tough book to get through. It is so repetitive. A large brochure would've sufficed. "Didn't I just listen to that four times?" Though much of his science is of interest, a shadow of suspect is cast on it all when he writes things that are clearly bad science. For example, he says that plants have incomplete proteins, which was proven untrue decades ago but is still promoted by many physicians. (See https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flas...). He is also not very careful talking about the mercury A tough book to get through. It is so repetitive. A large brochure would've sufficed. "Didn't I just listen to that four times?" Though much of his science is of interest, a shadow of suspect is cast on it all when he writes things that are clearly bad science. For example, he says that plants have incomplete proteins, which was proven untrue decades ago but is still promoted by many physicians. (See https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flas...). He is also not very careful talking about the mercury problem in fish, though he mentions it once. All that said, I do like his approach of trying first nutritional approaches instead of jumping straight to drugs. I like his idea of cutting out potentially damaging food and then adding them back in one at a time to see the mind and body reaction. I was also introduced to SPECT scans of the brains, which sounds like it could be a great diagnostic tool. I like his ideas about brain health in general. The other suspect part: They sell lots of supplements. The book is overwhelming talking about supplements. It you were caught on their hook, you'd probably end of getting the stuff from them. So, if I were someone or close to someone experiencing substantial mental health issues, I think there might be some nuggets to be gathered from the book, perhaps balanced by something like nutritionfacts.org and taken with (or without, for health's sake) a grain of salt.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Whilst this book has value and Dr. Amen has a worthwhile and interesting perspective on mental/brain health, it does not have much substance. I would argue that this book could be summed up in a few pages, and would have been better as a short essay. Dr. Amen’s perspective that a holistic approach to health is ideal is indeed valuable. His work clearly helps people and so it is valuable. His message is positive. His desire to destigmatise mental health and mental illness is noble and necessary. Whilst this book has value and Dr. Amen has a worthwhile and interesting perspective on mental/brain health, it does not have much substance. I would argue that this book could be summed up in a few pages, and would have been better as a short essay. Dr. Amen’s perspective that a holistic approach to health is ideal is indeed valuable. His work clearly helps people and so it is valuable. His message is positive. His desire to destigmatise mental health and mental illness is noble and necessary. However the book seems to stop serving a purpose after the first chapter, in that the rest is a mixture of old news, common sense, unsubstantiated claims and/or repetitive content. If you are seeking a book on how to live a healthy lifestyle and improve your overall mental and physical health, this book could be useful. If you are looking for a detailed account on the usefulness of SPECT, or on evidence backed research concerning the overlap between neuroscience and mental health, look elsewhere. The book itself reads as a clever marketing tool for Amen Clinics. It relies on anecdotes and often fails to provide real explanations for SPECT’s applicability to the mental health fields, that is factual and evidence based. It simply does not give the reader any more than a quick google search could.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Butch Ricardo

    Amen gave a me a new perspective on psychiatry and asked a question that I had never thought of before, why does no one ever look at the brain? I am an avid reader of both neuroscience and psychaiatry/psychology books, and I love the way he painted the two into one complex and beautiful tapestry, the human mind. Amen provides examples of his work, and explains how psychiatry needs to be reformed. There are several diagrams illustrating his work and the ways SPECT scans advance the treatment of m Amen gave a me a new perspective on psychiatry and asked a question that I had never thought of before, why does no one ever look at the brain? I am an avid reader of both neuroscience and psychaiatry/psychology books, and I love the way he painted the two into one complex and beautiful tapestry, the human mind. Amen provides examples of his work, and explains how psychiatry needs to be reformed. There are several diagrams illustrating his work and the ways SPECT scans advance the treatment of mental illnesses, and allow for the alleviation of symptoms, and even completely reinvent diagnosis and cure the patient of discomfort and disturbance. Amen also introduces the importance of diet and exercise, and the biological impacts of mental illness, and the impacts of hormone imbalances to the brain, and to mental health. He sparks a revolution and shows that mental illness isn't restricted to just the head, but to the entire physical and emotional existence of the person. I recommend this book 10/10 to those curious about nueroscience and psychiatry, like myself, but also to people with mental illnesses. This book has become my own psychiatry bible, as it encompasses and explains mental illness and mental health in a clear and thorough manner. Amen is a pioneer of the "new psychiatry", and his work will play a key role in the development of this medical field.

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