Book Review: The End of Mental Illness by Dr. Daniel Amen

by Daniel G. Amen, MD
reviewed by Maria Okorn

Considering the statistic that “about every 14 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the United States”, there is a dire need to address and combat depression and mental illness in this country. The End of Mental Illness by Dr. Daniel Amen insists that when we take a closer look at individual neurons and overall brain health, we are better equipped to diagnose and treat what is manifesting physically in order to be psychologically whole. “Get your brain right, and your mind will follow,” he asserts. A physician, psychiatrist, and founder of Amen Clinics, Dr. Amen’s exploration takes this mantra to heart, detailing specific, practical ways to implement new routines to break the disconcerting cycle of mental illness.

Challenging the misconceptions and stigmas that often are associated with mental health, the book demystifies these issues by explaining the neuroscience behind them. His approach does not discount traditional medicine, but instead Dr. Amen prioritizes natural, whole-body approaches that limit side effects, such as diet, exercise, specific vitamins and nutraceuticals, and spiritual practices. Decades in the field and countless success stories give Dr. Amen unparalleled expertise that will motivate readers to unchain their minds from the snares of unhealthy brains. Abundant charts, graphs, and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans provide visuals to accompany the dense medical material; the chapters also include “Tiny Habits” and “BRIGHT MINDS” tips to provide readers with digestible advice to inspire them to apply methods to heal their brain, mind, and body.

“The End of Mental Illness discards an outdated, stigmatizing paradigm that taints people with disparaging labels, preventing them from getting the help they need, and replaces it with a modern brain-based, whole-person program rooted in neuroscience and hope,” Dr. Amen explains. By committing ourselves to optimizing the function of our brains and bodies, we will be armed in the battle against mental illness. Let Dr. Amen’s exhortation prepare us for that very conquest.

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