Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. Amen... Scam Artist or Revisionary?

So this morning I awoke to a post on my Facebook feed in which Melting Mama Challenged us to take a quiz with her. The quiz was written by Dr. Amen or at least his clinic people.
"Daniel G. Amen, MD is a physician, child and adult psychiatrist, brain imaging specialist, bestselling author, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the CEO and medical director of Amen Clinics, Inc. (ACI) in   Newport Beach  and   Fairfield, California, Bellevue, Washington  and Reston, Virginia." 
 He also happens to be someone who's work I very much respect. I have heard him speak before and I have briefly studied his findings in grad school in my abnormal psychology class. He takes scans of his patients' brains and reads the scans of each person to determine a specific course of treatment for each individual. He works very heavily in the addictions field as well as with the elderly population and ADD children and adults.

There has been much talk of whether Dr Amen is a scam artist or "the real deal" but I am here to talk about neither. The reason I highly respect his work is not because of the ground breaking nature, but because of the ideas and principles behind it. I spoke in a previous post about weight watchers changing their diet plan every 5 seconds or so and how for some, the old plan works better and for others, the new plan works better. Why? Because everyone is different.

Dr. Amen does not see his patients as addicts or old or ADD, he sees them as people; As individuals, and knows for each individual person there must be an individual treatment plan. If you have 10 patients addicted to cocaine, I can guarantee you that NA alone, will not work for all 10. It may work for 2 or 3. Maybe 4 or 5 of them need to go to an outpatient treatment program first. Maybe some of them need in patient treatment for 30 days or 6 months in order for them to find the strength/motivation to stay sober. Each Person is different. The circumstances that drove them to begin using cocaine is different as is the amount they use, who they use with etc etc etc. So why would you think "one for all and all for one". We are not musketeers, we are people!

The same with a food addict or compulsive overeater. We didn't ALL get to the surgeons office because we sat at McDonald's our whole lives. Some of us did... many of us weren't even fat our whole lives. Go figure?

Personally, I was born 9lbs and nothing has changed. Every single person in my family is over weight on both sides or has been at one point in time. Genetically I was screwed from conception!! But my genes aren't the only reason I am sitting here writing this blog... I have learned behaviors that got me here as well. For example, I used food as a reward AND a punishment. Whenever I was younger my grandmother, whom I lived with, used to tell me, "You're Punished!" My punishment was always to watch TV or rent a movie or eat or something enjoyable. She never did this maliciously or with the intent of making me 391lbs, but that message has stuck with me throughout my life. In my family, for graduations and birthdays and anniversaries, we go out to eat which taught me that food is something you do when you are celebrating. It's not conscious, by ANY means... but it is what it is.

Maybe for you, your parents wouldn't let you have dessert until you licked your plate clean. So you joined the "clean your plate" club. You stuffed yourself to the gills, expanded your stomach just for a few cookies or a piece of cake. Do you still do that?

For those of you who eat in secret... you have your little candy stash in the night stand by your bed or the drawer at work or maybe even the glove box in your car? I am willing to bet when you were younger your parents told you you couldn't have candy and junk food so you would sneak it. You would stop at the corner store on the way to or from school for that $0.25 candy didn't you? You don't have to tell me. But you know your own scenario. Even if you don't realize it yet.

So if our beginning scenarios are all different, then why should our treatment be the same? Why is it some patients make it out relatively OK with no therapy and some lose their damn minds?! Why do some make it to goal and stay there forever and others regain, revise, and restart?

We are all different. Sit down today and figure out why you walked into your surgeons door. Not because you were sick on 500 medications couldn't walk etc etc... While those are valid reasons for having surgery those are just symptoms. Those reasons wont keep you on track. Figuring out where your behaviors come from, dealing with them if they need to be dealt with and changing your thought patterns and actions forever will!

Sleeve Pixie

Ps. If you are interested in Dr Amens quiz you can find it on Melting Mama's Blog :-)


  1. Heya Rach. I saved the links, I plan to watch his videos regardless of the sales pitch I got. ;)

  2. Glad to hear it. I really think hes amazing!! Hope you don't mind I used you for inspiration today!

  3. "Figuring out where your behaviors come from, dealing with them if they need to be dealt with and changing your thought patterns and actions forever will!"

    Well said! I think this can apply to more than just my eating habits.

    Loving the blog. Very insightful.

    Be Well :-)


  4. Thanks Goldie, I am glad you are enjoying it.



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