By: Daniel Amen
5 Ways to Know Your Brain May Be In Trouble
Are you wondering if your brain is out of balance? Listen and it will tell you. When your brain is out of balance, you get symptoms that interfere with feeling your best and living the life you want. While there are many causes, here are some of the common indications that something is amiss in the organ that runs your life—your brain.
Your memory is worse than it was 10 years ago.
So many people blame memory problems on getting older, but the truth is, if your brain is healthy, your memory should still be good—regardless of your age. It’s true that there are natural age-related changes that typically affect brain function as we get older. Just as our skin withers with age, the brain will do the same thing.
BUT, you can combat this process by building up brain reserve. In other words, choosing to do the things that are healthy for your brain and staying away from anything that hurts your brain will help you not only improve your memory but also slow down the natural aging process of your brain. It’s a win-win choice you can make now!
You have low energy most of the time.
A healthy brain gives you the energy needed to get things done, but for many people, normal energy stores are depleted as a result of bad habits. Among the most common culprits are the Standard American Diet with too much sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats; insufficient sleep; illicit drugs or excessive alcohol use, and; a lack of exercise.
The good news is that all of these bad habits can be replaced with healthy alternatives to re-energize your life.
You are impulsive and do things you shouldn’t.
If you have a hard time controlling unhealthy urges or often say and do things you later regret, it is possible that the “brakes” of your brain aren’t working well. This can be the result of having had a concussion, having ADD, or worse, an early sign of dementia.
All of these conditions can affect the function of the prefrontal cortex (aka the brain’s CEO). SPECT brain imaging is actually one of the best tests for identifying which biological process is causing the diminished function of your “brakes” and be a map for determining the best treatment possible for your condition.
You are frequently stressed, worried and anxious.
If you’re overwhelmed with unsettling and panicked thoughts, you’re not only stressing yourself out, you are jeopardizing your health. Frequent stress and anxiety cause increased production of the hormone cortisol which in turn can be harmful to your body and brain when it is continually released into your system.
For many people, a distorted perception of events in their lives, an unhealthy need to be in charge of everything, and a regular flow of automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) fuel an anxious mindset. The good news is that with the right treatment, your stress, worry and anxious thoughts can be controlled, instead of letting them control you.
Your mood tends to be low most of the time.
While we all occasionally have days when we’re feeling blue, being this way all the time is an indication that something is out of balance in your brain. Mood issues can interfere with relationships, your health, and a sense of satisfaction in life. There are many things that can contribute to mood problems, but one of the most important factors is the function of your brain.
Through the imaging work at Amen Clinics, Dr. Amen identified 5 major brain systems that affect mood regulation, and 7 different types of anxiety and depression—each with a signature blood flow pattern that requires its own type of treatment. By knowing your type, it is possible to see the bright side of life again!