Women’s brains have many unique and astonishing strengths, says Daniel Amen, MD, a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and pro on using brain imaging science to everyday clinical practice. He counts instinct, empathy, self-control, and the ability to work among them.
Yet women also face challenges that men don’t: women’s brains produce less serotonin, they are usually more busy, and estrogen levels inhibit the calming effects of GABA-a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that still nervous action. These and other factors make women more susceptible to melancholy and anxiety.
Creator of the Amen Clinics and bestselling author of 29 books, Dr. Amen outlines the crucial challenges girls face today in his newest book, Unleash the Energy of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for Better Health, Energy, Mood, Focus, and Sex (Crown, February 2013). He offers exercises and tools for understanding, optimizing, and using the power of the female brain – including an application for help from depression. Amen said he believed it was important to do a novel only for girls.
“I have five sisters and three daughters, and in considering the scans we have done over the years it was quite clear to me that women employ a different brain, with distinct needs and requirements afterward male brains,” says Amen. “Furthermore, what I ‘ve found is it’s not men that can change the world, it’s women. She brings her family together with her, when mom gets a message about something. “
Amen advocates regular healthy habits that support your brain and implies refraining from things that damage the brain, including negative ideas that are excessive. He looks at depression – and all of women’s challenges – through the lens of what he calls “the four circles” – biology, psychology, social connections, and spiritual health. A few of his hints comprise:
- Make sure to have routine laboratory work to test thyroid hormone levels, along with other amounts that are important. Thyroid, progesterone, and even out-of-equilibrium gut flora degrees can make psychological chaos.
- Know about blood sugar levels and keep them stable. Also, get no less than 7 hours of slumber. Both are related to reduced blood circulation to the mind, which may lead to bad decision making and invasive thoughts which can be hard to control.
- Know your brain sort. Not everyone has exactly the same type of brain, and melancholy shows differently in different people. Comprehending yours can enable you to know soothe and the best way to manage it. He identifies the kinds as: Impulsive, Compulsive, Impulsive- SAD, Compulsive, and Apprehensive.
- Amen says it’s important get rid of the ANTS – Automatic Negative Thoughts. All these are the thoughts individuals believe they cannot control. They pop up unbidden and leave self-destruction inside their wake because we begin to believe them and validate them.
We talked to Dr. Amen lately about his approach to treating and helping girls through depression.
Regular Wellness: Are women, overall, more depressed afterward men?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Twice as much. There is an idea from one study that women produce 52 percent less serotonin than men. Serotonin is the natural, feel-good, be-happy substance. Girls have less of it, and with less will come a vulnerability to depression.
Why do women have less serotonin?
It seems to cycle with their menstrual cycle. In fact, antidepressants-named SSRI’s- that foster serotonin in the brain don’t actually work before puberty or after menopause. When a lady is menstruating there much more affective. There’s an interaction between serotonin and progesterone and estrogen.
Are you able to elaborate on why men often have depression than then girls?
Because girls as a group have better language abilities and are more inclined to state, “I am sad, help me,” whereas guys may not recognize it and are more apt to state, “I am crazy.” In our encounter at Amen Clinics for last 24 years, we have seen it comes out as negative behaviour in men, in contrast to internalized and expressed sadness in women. We’re socialized differently, however there are radical differences in brain functions. Those differences start and are there for remainder of life cycle between females and males. We only did a study with 46,000 people scanned, and in about parts of the brain. are more energetic, particularly in emotional 90 percent of the brain, females That could be great as it means more emphasis on social link, but it might be poor if parts of the brain associated with sadness and depression tend to be more active.
Melancholy affects more what area of the mind?
The limbic brain, which will be greatly in the brain, and is the magnitude of a walnut. It is involved with setting your emotional tone –how miserable and happy you’re. It is also involved in bonding, and libido and emotional memory highly charged. In our experiences, when it works too challenging then individuals are far more vulnerable to depression.
Looking at women today, what are some of the major influences that add to their own depression – Raising kids, financial challenges, managing relationships, work, media, worry?
There are a lot of influences that go to how happy or depressed individuals are. To understand folks, I talk about “core circle” in the book. Should you like to know what makes someone tick, you’ve got to examine what their current stresses are and the understand their:
- Biology (how the brain and body works)
- Psychology (how their mind works)
- Social group (who they hang out with)
- Spiritual circle (why are they here, what exactly is their intent?)
We have more conveniences now than ever before. The big problem today happens to be the processed food that’s filled with chemicals that adversely affect our thyroid function. You’re miserable since your metabolism is modulated by it, in case your thyroid is off. When it’s not high you can not think -that would be part of the biology circle. To understand every one of these four circles is among the most important parts of the publication. To get nicely you need to take good care of your brain as well as your body, and take good care of your thoughts because they drive melancholy. And then you have to be careful of who you hang out with. If you hang out with blue people that are negative, guess what… you are definitely going to be more miserable and negative.
Are women are too empathic? Do we care too much? Is that one of our difficulties?
Women take on everybody else’s issues. Then you do not care much, if you do not have empathy, and you have compassion fatigue, when you have empathy. Your brain experiences it with you should you spend your time listening to difficulties.
I’ve heard sensitive people referred to as “sponges” who take on the energy of distressed, ill, and dysfunctional individuals around them.
The quality of energy you are around is contagious, which is why health professionals or partners of someone who is depressed are adversely impacted. You can just start to see the sadness in their face.
What exactly is your stand on modern medicine and medicines for depression?
First do no harm. I am an anti-indiscriminate utilization of medication person. Lots of people go to their own family doctor as well as in a five minute office visit they leave with a prescription for an antidepressant, a sleeping pill, and anti-stress medication. No one has ever told them the choice, and that’s simply incorrect. The most effective medicine is informed you work somebody up, and first you make sure they don’t have thyroid trouble or pancreatic cancer, or there’s a whole list of causes of depression. If among these things: What are the treatments not caused it’s? What are the treatments that are natural? And which are the medications? There are impulsive, compulsive, impulsive-compulsive, sad, and nervous depressions and you have to know what kind someone has.
So can you lean toward a more natural method of curing depression?
I give them natural treatment since I paid attention when I used to be a first-year medical student. When you look at the science, what I tell my patients is; exercise has same scientific evidence that it’s not as ineffective as an SSRI. Exercise – walk like you’re 45 minutes late, four times weekly. There really are several head to head studies with fish oil showing there about as powerful as anti-depressant drugs. Take fish oil that is higher in EPA. Truly work on getting your thoughts right – optimize omega three fatty acids in your own body and get moving. It is not my job to tell people things to do; it’s my job to give the choice of what they can do to them.
How do you treat depression patients at the Amen Clinics?
The imaging work that we do at the Amen clinic is really important to me. Looking at the brain actually helps us learn what hurts it and what helps it. If you are depressed, I wish to know what’s going on in your brain. Could it be a brain symptom? Is it because you come from blue folks? Is it because you have a head injury? Or is it because you have a brain that is hazardous? Or you also drink too much? In our clinic, the process is: here’s the symptom pattern you might have, as well as targeted labs, and the scan pattern to ensure thyroid’s acceptable – then we determine how to treat you. It is never simply give someone with depression an anti-depressant, because that doesn’t function very well. Antidepressants work no better than placebo. We can do better.