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am 8. Juni 2000
This is a fun book, easy to read and very thought provoking.
The book recounts a wide variety of case studies. Each story begins with a patient coming for help. After inquiring about the problem, the wise doctor does a SPECT scan (like a CAT scan) and discovers over-active or underactive brain regions. Based on the diagnosis, drugs and/or therapy are prescribed. Most stories have a happy ending.
As a whole, the book constructs a fascinating link between behavior and brain 'health.' By presenting at least 50 SPECT images (black and white to keep costs down), Amen describes brain health in terms of 'normal activity' levels. Hyperactivity and underactivity in localized areas of the brain cause behavioral problems. At the end of the book is a section on drug abuse and brain health. The pictures of what drugs do to the brain ought to scare many.
The material is somewhat controversial. Dr. Amen's definition of brain health is not universally shared. Rather than dwell on the controversy, the book sticks with the case study review, including conflicts with doctors favoring 'talk' therapy along the way. In one case, he has to go all over the country to find a surgeon willing to remove the cyst causing a patient problems. The story telling style keeps the politics to a minimum and lets the reader draw their own conclusions.
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am 23. April 2000
Change your brain? Sounds like you go to the store, get a new one, pop it in! That's not quite the process described in the book; but this is a novel approach.
This is the first self-help book I've seen that addresses the areas of the brain that are causing your problem, then offers advice to directly (and indirectly) affect those areas. This approach has for me offered "short cuts" to getting the benefits I wanted; that is, it has given me a more direct path than books that address personal growth through more convoluted means.
This is not to say that this book makes the process easy. It takes effort and commitment on the user's part.
The author does one thing that I consider a problem of many self-help books. He gives case histories to demonstrate his various concepts; and the case histories tend to be very successful patients of his. Not everyone is necessarily that successful at putting the concepts to use; readers should take caution to not compare themselves with the ideal cases refered to in the book.
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am 10. August 1999
My 12 year old son was attacked at school, he was hit in the back of the head with a river rock. The changes in him since then have been unreal. After reading Dr. Amen's Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, I was so amazed. I thought he wrote the chapter about head injuries about my son. After emailing Dr. Amen, he was kind enough to respond back, and referred us to a doctor near our home. Since then, and after a SPECT scan, we now know what happened to our son and is finally getting the treatment he needs. What a difference in all our lives. I finally got back "my" son. All I can say is don't give up, there is hope, and it's at the Amen Clinic! Dr. Amen, I owe you my heart-felt thanks for caring enough to write this well needed book and for writing me back. I know that there will be a special place for you in heaven. God Bless You!
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am 26. Januar 1999
Dr. Amen's work is cutting edge and formulates the future of psychiatry. After years of experience with personal and joint therapy, and after many pshychological "self-help" books, I was delighted to find Dr. Amen's research which has produced information that transcends contemporary knowledge and therapy practicies to date.
After reading this work, one is enabled to understand the mechanics and better appreciate common dysfunctions, whether in ones self, parents, his children or spouse. These insights result in a paradigm shift in empathy, understanding and forgiveness toward our fellow man.
He has written the book from a layman's point of view which makes all the medical research and data presented very easy to understand. He uses stories and case studies throughout the book to facilitate comprehension. This is one of those books you will want to share with your loved ones.
What a joy to read and exciting to see the medical community has finally connected the brain with behavior. Kudos to Dr. Amen for his work, courage and commitment.
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am 6. Oktober 1999
Very creative coverage of the brain. As a fellow "cerebrophile", I enjoyed it; and the information contained is scientifically sound. May I suggest "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain" as a companion guide. All the best to Dr. Amen...Ken Giuffre MD, author "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain"
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am 16. Januar 1999
While Change Your Brain, Change Your Life is entertaining Dr. Daniel Amen epitomizes modern-day biopsychiatry. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals, parents and teachers have been lead to believe anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, impulsiveness, excessive anger and worry, are confirmatory, neurobiological disorders caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain and can be detected by brain scans. This is pseudoscience at its best. Dr. Amen should not be commended for anything he's accomplished thus far in his medical career.
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am 26. Mai 2000
Dr Amen's findings, of how the brain functions, is a 'must read' for everyone, but particularly for people living with troubled loved ones. Check out chapter 13: The Dark Side. It will clarify many misconceptions on why some people's behavior is out of bounds, and how they are led to commit strange and/or violent acts no matter how old they are. Biological factors are indeed a major part of the problem faced by troubled minds.Psychological and social factors are certainly there, but the abnormalities within the brain system, whether decreased activitities, increased activities or both at the same time in a portion of the brain, definitely lead the troubled mind to commit tragical and devastating acts. The lack of a chemical substance: 'Serotin' plays a definite role. Medical advice is given by Dr.Amen and detailed definitions of each medical solution is discussed. This book is an eye opener.Read it more than once.
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am 5. Januar 1999
The thing I like best about Amen's "Change Your Brain Change Your Life" is that it is comprehensive. Dr. Amen's research on metabolic processes in the brain and how those processes correlate to human behavior makes a lot of sense. He takes complex information and makes it easy enough for the lay person to understand and then gives a plethora of treatment options for the reader to consider in optimizing their brain activity for having a better life. Unlike so many other doctors, Amen takes a comprehensive approach and presents numerous options for treatment other than just standard prescription medications. This is an easy read and one that anyone can benefit from. I highly recommend it!
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am 19. Februar 1999
If you've doubted that psychological difficulties can be quantified physiologically, read Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. The brain scan results are impressive and suggest that mental imbalances can be treated by a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication and nutritional changes. Particularly fascinating is the evidence that people prone to angry outbursts, irrational behavior and violence (in short, behavior that is typically associated with the delinquent or criminal personality) can be treated effectively, as can those prone to lesser disturbances.
If you or anyone you know suffers from depression; anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorder; manic depression; attention deficit disorder; severe premenstrual syndrome; alcohol or drug abuse; poor impulse control; suicidal or homicidal thoughts; or angry or violent outbursts, read this book. If you're already being treated for one of these conditions, read this book and share it with your therapist. It will give you a good idea of what is happening to you physiologically and outline potential treatment options. In that numerous treatment protocols are discussed for various mental imbalances, this book is both helpful and hopeful.
Note that this book should be useful for mental health professionals as well as for their patients. The brain scans are compelling, and the author does a good job of detailing numerous medications, cognitive-behavioral therapies and nutritional approaches to treating psychological problems.
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am 23. März 1999
I read this book three weeks ago and am performing as an actor in a stage musical for the first time in over a decade. I have to admit that I first took it from the shelf in the "new books" section of the library because it struck me as having (my apologies to the designer) the ugliest cover I had ever seen! In spite of my having been on Prozac since 1996, I have experienced continual mental problems which resulted in periods of severe depression. The first sentence on the inside cover grabbed me: "Do you panic at the thought of walking into a room full of people you don't know?" I checked out the book. I am, as I write this, in the process of ordering my own copy and one to send to my sister. I am a 45 year old male teacher/ actor/writer. I hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater Arts and have previously made my living as a working actor as well as having had books, plays and songs published since 1976. My spouse of twelve years died in 1994. Suicidal, I returned to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, after living fifteen years in New York City and Los Angeles. I have not been able to work on a regular basis since. Going back on stage and working as an actor was not even a consideration. Since 1995, I have only been successful at doing sporadic tutorial work with English Composition students at local colleges and universities.
The suicidal tendencies I was suffering stopped with the administration of Prozac, but I have spent the past two and one-half years wondering what was wrong with me because I could not focus long enough to complete any of the dozens of projects I would start. I had no patience and could not even keep still long enough to attend a film. I have been in grief counseling during this period, but have not seen a psychiatrist (poor insurance). Fortunately, my regular physician is very receptive and listens to his patients.
I did not know adults suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. I thought it was something children suffered but outgrew (I have no children, but have four out of nine neices and nephews on Ritalin). I took the test for Cingulate problems at the end of Chapter 9 in Dr. Amen's book by asking myself what I had been like, before I began taking Prozac, compared to my present state of mind. I went from almost all 3s and 4s, indicating serious problems with worry and obsessiveness, to 0s, 1s, and 2s. This was an obviously improved state, and very much in line with Dr. Amen's findings. I read the entire book in two nights, and did the remaining four checklists. I had very few 3s and 4s with the exception of a huge majority of those numbers on the Prefrontal Cortex Checklist. Not only did I discover adults can have ADD, but that there may be a genetic tendency. I spoke with my Mother who said the pediatrician had her give my brother and myself coffee in the early sixties before sending us to school and it seemed to help, to a small extent, with our behavioral problems. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor and showed him where Dr. Amen had used the combination of Prozac and Ritalin. He prescribed Adderall and I began to see results in only two or three days. My doctor immediately ordered a copy of the book from He was going to have his daughter read it. Her son is on Ritalin. She is on Prozac, but suffers many of the same problems I described.
I began taking the Adderall with the Prozac three weeks ago. During that time I have submitted lyrics to the composer with whom I had written songs, but not been in touch for several years. I have completed a play upon which I began working in 1992, and it is being produced at the local University in May.. I had been offered a number of stage roles by local directors since my return to Birmingham, but turned them down. As previously mentioned, I have just agreed to perform in a musical this summer for the first time since 1988.
Dr. Amen offers many, many suggestions for ways to change your brain and your life which have nothing to do with prescription medication, but he convinced me to explore every possible avenue available, without any of the reservations I originally had about going on Prozac. Just knowing my debilitaions can be physiological instead of "all in my head" has made me view my total self differently than at any time since realizing I was "different" around the age of twelve years. I have, at this point in time, had the most productive, fulfilling three weeks of my adult, possibly entire, life. I am literally able to maintain a peace of mind I truly believed impossible.
Dr. Amen's writing style is most accessible to the "lay-reader". The book is a blessing. Anyone who has ever doubted his or her "sanity" should read this work, and find a doctor willing to listen to its message!
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