Why You Need a Brain Detox NOW (and 7 Ways to Do It)

Start A Brain Detox With These 7 Strategies

You’ve probably heard of “detox diets” intended to cleanse your body and jumpstart better health and weight loss. But what about a brain detox? Your brain is the most metabolically active organ in your body. As such, it can be damaged from environmental toxins. It is also vulnerable to toxic relationships, toxic habits, and toxic thinking patterns. In fact, it’s your brain that carries the heaviest toxic load in your entire body. And for many of us, that load has never been greater. With the pandemic, rampant anxiety, and other stressors, now is the best time ever to do a brain detox.

With the pandemic, rampant anxiety, and other stressors, now is the best time ever to do a brain detox. Click To Tweet

Rather than increasing your brain’s toxic load with junk food, bad habits, and negative thoughts, it’s time to rid yourself of biological, psychological, and social toxicity. This will cleanse your brain for more optimal function, which will lead to a clearer mind, more stable emotions, happier relationships, and a better life.

Start your brain detox with these 7 strategies.

1. Detox Your Home and Life

Every single day, we are exposed to a host of chemicals, fumes, and products—such as household cleaning supplies, personal care products, and gasoline fumes—that poison the human brain. Common toxins in the air we breathe and the products we rub on our skin are absorbed into our bodies via our lungs and pores and can eventually impact the brain. The more exposure you have to these everyday toxins, the more you’re putting your brain at risk and increasing your chances of cognitive and mental health issues.

Brain Detox Solution: Toss household cleaners and personal care products that are filled with harmful chemicals and opt for chemical-free, scent-free options whenever possible.

2. Detox Your Refrigerator

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with pro-inflammatory, allergenic foods laced with artificial chemicals that will damage and prematurely age your brain and increase your risk for depression, ADD/ADHD, anxiety disorders, and dementia. The real weapons of mass destruction are foods that are:

  • highly processed
  • pesticide sprayed
  • high glycemic (spikes blood sugar)
  • low fiber
  • food-like substances
  • artificially colored and sweetened
  • laden with hormones
  • tainted with antibiotics
  • stored in plastic containers

Brain Detox Solution: To reduce anxiousness, depressed moods, inattention, and memory issues, it’s time to do a clean sweep of your refrigerator (and your entire kitchen) and toss all of the foods that don’t serve you. Not having junk food in the house helps prevent impulsive, mindless eating. It’s easier to make 1 decision to get rid of it instead of 30 decisions over time not to eat it in a weak moment!

3. Detox Your Bad Habits

Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs (including legal toxins like nicotine) are addictive and pollute the brain. On brain SPECT imaging, which measures blood flow and activity in the brain, the worst-looking brains belong to people with substance abuse. Some of the negative consequences of addiction include decreased brain volume, reduced blood flow, reduced generation of new brain cells, atrophy of the hippocampus (involved in memory and learning), and increased risk of dementia. People with addictions are likely to have co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

It’s just as important to stop engaging in bad habits that increase your risk of a head injury. For example, riding a bike without a helmet, playing tackle football, or hitting soccer balls with your head increases the risk of TBI, which elevates the likelihood of developing symptoms of mental illness and cognitive impairment.

Brain Detox Solution: Eliminate your toxic habits and replace them with habits that protect and enhance the brain.

4. Detox Your Social Circle

Toxic relationships, a lack of support from family and friends, or tension among colleagues and coworkers elevates stress hormone levels and makes us more vulnerable to many illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, and more. In addition, spending time with people who have bad habits increases the likelihood that you will pick up their habits. When we have great relationships, our brains tend to do much better.

Brain Detox Solution: Make a list of the people in your life and indicate if they are “accomplices” (people who keep you chained to your bad habits or negativity) or “friends, mentors, and coaches” (people who support you in your efforts to boost brain health). Limit the amount of time you spend with accomplices.

5. Detox from Technology

Are you constantly checking your phone for new messages, scrolling through your social media feed, or streaming the latest Netflix series? Technology is taking over our lives and leading to tech addiction, anxiety, mood problems, inattention, self-esteem issues, forgetfulness, impulsivity, relationship woes, and more. If you’re struggling with the adverse effects of digital obsession, it’s time to try intermittent internet fasting. The same way intermittent fasting has become a popular and effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, the same concept can be used to develop a more blissful relationship with your gadgets.

Brain Detox Solution: Here are 6 ways to detox from tech:

  • Take daily breaks from your gadgets (even 15 minutes will help).
  • Take a break once a month or once a week.
  • Stick to the single screen rule (don’t use multiple screens at once and have multiple tabs open!)
  • Don’t talk and text: Put your phone away when you’re with friends or family.
  • Make the bedroom a tech-free zone.
  • Avoid the Google effect: Use your brain to try to memorize things before relying on the internet.

6. Detox Your Brain at Night

While you’re sleeping, your brain is hard at work performing some very critical functions necessary to keep it operating at optimal levels. For example, during sleep, your brain cleans or washes itself by eliminating cellular debris and toxins that build up during the day (basically taking out the neural trash), consolidates learning and memory, and prepares for the following day. The brain processes that occur during sleep are also important for the health of your immune system, appetite control, and neurotransmitter production. When you skimp on sleep or experience sleep disturbances, you don’t get the brain benefits.

Brain Detox Solution: To help your brain take out the nightly neural trash, try these tips:

  • Aim for 7+ hours of sleep each night.
  • Keep your bedroom completely dark and quiet.
  • Stay cool—between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for quality sleep.
  • Establish a sleep schedule—go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Avoid eating a meal within 2-3 hours of going to bed.
  • No blue screens 30-60 minutes before bed.
  • If you snore, get evaluated for sleep apnea and/or wear your CPAP.
  • If you need help falling asleep, try melatonin.

7. Detox Your Thoughts

How you think and talk to yourself, as well as the running dialogue in your mind either helps or hurts your brain and mental well-being. Did you know that your thoughts lie? They lie a lot. And it’s the lies you tell yourself that hold you back and keep you down. When your mind is filled with ANTs (automatic negative thoughts), it reduces your brain’s ability to think clearly, form memories, and problem-solve.

Brain Detox Solution: Kill the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that cloud your brain and steal your happiness. Whenever you have a sad, mad, anxious, or negative thought, write it down. Then ask yourself if it’s true. This can help you develop a more positive and hopeful outlook.

If your brain has been assaulted by toxic substances, toxic people, or toxic thinking, it puts you at risk for cognitive and mental health problems. Functional brain imaging with SPECT can help you see the health of your brain and understand areas that need optimization. A troubled brain can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your emotional and cognitive well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.


  1. I am so interested in learning how to disengage from my husband who is very toxic. I know we live together, am working on moving forward, but it will all take time, need his financial assistance, we own a home together. Have lots to think about

    Comment by Patricia Phelps — November 19, 2020 @ 8:53 PM

  2. Been trying this for awhile, now, Doc. Thank you for the books, the videos, the Lessons!

    All of the Above works! For years, they almost convinced Me_B_Bipolar. Found, instead, a life full of poor nutrition and environment.

    Fix the Environment, Pay Attention! to Nutrition, Get some Oxygen into the Bloodstream, and the Brain may thank you, kindly.

    NOTE: This takes some work. This ain’t the Easy-Button. We gotta put in the Effort. Old Dawgs can learn new tricks. Took over 50 years creating some of these bad habits. Might take a few months to begin to see the Light! Should maybe begin to Feel Better within just a day or two. Least, that’s my story.

    Thank you Amen Clinics Team


    Comment by Alabama Brian — November 23, 2020 @ 3:14 AM

  3. Thank you for sharing this excellent information!

    Comment by Amy Richardson — November 23, 2020 @ 3:45 AM

  4. I have a hard time staying asleep. I wake up at 3 am and am wide awake fro 1-3 hours then back to sleep. I do use melatonin and a cortisol control supplement (Seriphos). Not sure what else to do.

    Comment by Sue — November 23, 2020 @ 5:47 AM

  5. I have experienced that marijuana has been very helpful in keeping me focused and happy ,
    I suffered with depression for many many years and just tried to push through but with marijuana I was able to calm myself and learn more about myself and why I was so troubled . Slowly I have been able to face my fears and have become a Christian and coping much better . I worked as a nurse for 40 years and I am 71 now not sure that I agree that marijuana affects the brain negatively it is positive in my life! I am of German decent and my dad , I think my dad suffered from PTSD (undiagnosed ). Came to Canada in 1956 our was tough, survival mode, loveless I might add….anyway I feel better when I include marijuana prn❤️ Sincerely HeleneFlectcher
    What do you say about that?? Dr. amen

    Comment by Helene — November 23, 2020 @ 8:28 AM

  6. Hi Sue – for horrid sleep patterns like that, please try looking at the amino acid questionnaire on Trudy Scott’s website everywomanover29.com – I’m sure there are others around too – you go down the list of amino acids (eg GABA etc) and see which list you most compare yourself to. They are easily available online from all sorts of vendors over the world, and there is plenty of advice there too. You needn’t choose only one, though it is advisable to try one at a time to a) see if it is right for you and b) to rule out any side effects (though these are very rare). I take GABA, 5HTP, melatonin and theanine and have much better sleep than I have done for many decades.

    I also use some energy medicine too – please see Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine and Madison King also for tapping whilst saying affirmations (in your own words) such as ‘I no longer sleep badly, I sleep wonderful detoxing sleep every night…’ that sort of thing but please choose your own – your words suit your life. It is recommended that this is done for half a dozen repetitions, and repeated five or six times a day whilst tapping Triple Warmer, an energy meridian, (you need to look on websites such as innersource.com to find good explanations how to do this. Donna Eden and her daughters Dondi Dahlin and Titania Dahlin also do lots of very good brief videos). This is also known as EFT or a variant (there are many) of the Emotional Freedom Technique…

    Hope this helps.
    P A

    Comment by P A — November 23, 2020 @ 8:49 AM

  7. Hey Helen if you want pots benefits without the high maybe try Hemp
    buds with less than .3 THC I heard cbd helps with homeostasis in our bodies.
    Very few side effects too!

    Comment by sary — November 23, 2020 @ 9:53 AM

  8. Patricia above – try Family Life Today’s Weekend to Remember for one way to find a resolution for that issue with your toxic husband. He is that way for a reason… this might be one avenue to help….

    Comment by JR Vanne — November 23, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

  9. Thank you this is very interesting reading you are doing awesome work ! 🙏☺ much gratitude

    Comment by Yvonne Marie forster — November 24, 2020 @ 12:53 AM

  10. I truly believe in getting enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I feel fatigued the entire next day and my cognitive abilities are worse. However, I have very low income and am stuck in low income housing where tenants can be noisy. Tenants play their music all hours of the night and bang doors and even though I have a air purifier turned high (white noise) and ear plugs, I can still wake up for hours because of the noise. The only answer is my own home, but right now all I can do is deal with the circumstances as they are.

    Comment by Margaret — November 24, 2020 @ 12:34 PM

  11. Spiritual, physical and biochemical – 3 pillar to less toxic brain.
    1) Find a purpose driven life (things we do regardless we get paid or not).
    2) Exercise outside everyday (walking biking hiking and even being)
    3) Hormones, nutrition, less toxic environment – people, conversation, food, water, air, technology and daily detox support
    Shanhong Lu MD

    Comment by Shanhong Lu — November 29, 2020 @ 1:16 PM

  12. Hi, I’ve been suffering from memory loss since I was in an accident and experience head trauma and a mental breakdown. I’m taking vitamins to help boost my memory, but I need more. I am a (CPRS) Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and engage in many conversations with my peers as well as facilitate groups. I need to strengthen my brain and to find ways to increase my memory.

    Comment by Xavier G. McKethan Sr. — December 7, 2020 @ 7:48 AM

  13. Hello Xavier, thank you for reaching out. We have a Memory Rescue Program at our clinics (https://amenclinics.com/services/memory-rescue-program/) that’s based on the teachings and research in Dr. Daniel Amen’s Book (https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue). For more information about our program and resources for the treatment of memory loss, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — December 21, 2020 @ 7:33 PM

  14. Hi there! I am a 24 year old female who is interested in having a SPECT scan and am inquiring about what the price is for this type of scan and the insurance plans that are accepted at Amen Clinics? I took the brain type quiz online and received results that I have type 1 brain, but I am still keenly interested in potentially seeing my brain on an actual SPECT scan to keep it healthy!

    Comment by Gina Arconti — February 7, 2022 @ 2:25 PM

  15. Hello Gina, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding pricing, insurance, and financing options. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 9, 2022 @ 10:35 AM

  16. I’ve had very very poor sleep for 48 years. 3-6 hours a night most nights. I feel bad all the time. 77 years old. I think my mind is slipping

    Comment by Jacqueline Miller — July 1, 2022 @ 12:20 PM

  17. Thank you all!
    My wuestion: I am moving from a black mold infested old apartment. I am moving to a brand new apartmen know there can be toxins there also. Mold has affected my brain severely. When I move will my possessions have the mold spores throughout them?

    Comment by Linda — July 16, 2023 @ 1:16 AM

  18. By doing a detox cleaning the colon help mental illiness

    Comment by Erica — July 24, 2023 @ 10:23 AM

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