Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, by Dr. Daniel Amen has forever altered my thinking about human beings. In the 1990’s he became involved in using brain imaging, a system called SPECT (single photon emission computer tomography). The message of his book is that many human problems are caused by incorrect functioning of the brain. Sometimes this is caused by injury. Sometimes the cause is not known.

I first read his book five years ago, before all the media coverage about football and head injuries. I was astounded to realize that people who become physically violent, feel isolated, take drugs, are suicidal, experience drastic personality changes, become abusive to their family members, and exhibit a multitude of other negative social and/or psychological behaviors, could be victims of malfunctioning brains. If it sounds too simple to be true, think of the saying “Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.”

Here are some quotes from Dr. Amen’s book:

On page 298, “I believe, after seeing five thousand SPECT studies (along with the patients and the stories that go with them), that we are really who we are when our brain works right. When our brain works right, we are more thoughtful, goal-oriented, and more interested in other people. We are kinder, our moods are more stable, and we are more tolerant.” And a few sentences later, “When our brain works right, we are more able to be who we really want to be.”

On page 299, “The brain is one of the first things we should think about when we try to understand abnormal behavior.”

I feel so strongly about Dr. Amen’s work that I want to share part of it with you in future blogs. I believe there are many people who have undiagnosed brain function problems. They are our friends, family members and work associates. Knowledge is power. This knowledge can help us help them.

Future blogs will cover the five basic brain systems listed in Dr. Amen’s book, along with methods of diagnosis and treatment associated with them: the deep limbic system, the basal ganglia, the prefrontal cortex, the cingulate (sing-u-lat) and the temporal lobes. I suspect that, because of the brain’s consistency, some forms of energy healing can also help these people change their lives for the better.

If we really understood the role of brain function in lifestyle choices and decisions we might not be so quick to write people off, and might be in a better position to help them on the path to true recovery.