Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness

Author:   Susannah Cahalan
Publisher:   Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN:  

9781846147746


Pages:   288
Publication Date:   21 November 2012
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.

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Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness


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Overview

'My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming days and weeks, I would never again be the same person ...' Susannah Cahalan was a happy, clever, healthy twenty-four-year old. Then one day she woke up in hospital, with no memory of what had happened or how she had got there. Within weeks, she would be transformed into someone unrecognizable, descending into a state of acute psychosis, undergoing rages and convulsions, hallucinating that her father had murdered his wife; that she could control time with her mind. Everything she had taken for granted about her life, and who she was, was wiped out. Brain on Fire is Susannah's story of her terrifying descent into madness and the desperate hunt for a diagnosis, as, after dozens of tests and scans, baffled doctors concluded she should be confined in a psychiatric ward. It is also the story of how one brilliant man, Syria-born Dr Najar, finally proved - using a simple pen and paper - that Susannah's psychotic behaviour was caused by a rare autoimmune disease attacking her brain. His diagnosis of this little-known condition, thought to have been the real cause of devil-possessions through history, saved her life, and possibly the lives of many others. Cahalan takes readers inside this newly-discovered disease through the progress of her own harrowing journey, piecing it together using memories, journals, hospital videos and records. Written with passionate honesty and intelligence, Brain on Fire is a searingly personal yet universal book, which asks what happens when your identity is suddenly destroyed, and how you get it back. 'With eagle-eye precision and brutal honesty, Susannah Cahalan turns her journalistic gaze on herself as she bravely looks back on one of the most harrowing and unimaginable experiences one could ever face: the loss of mind, body and self. Brain on Fire is a mesmerizing story' -Mira Bartok, New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Palace Susannah Cahalan is a reporter on the New York Post, and the recipient of the 2010 Silurian Award of Excellence in Journalism for Feature Writing. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, and is frequently picked up by the Daily Mail, Gawker, Gothamist, AOL and Yahoo among other news aggregrator sites.

Full Product Details

Author:   Susannah Cahalan
Publisher:   Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint:   Particular Books
Dimensions:   Width: 13.50cm , Height: 2.00cm , Length: 21.60cm
Weight:   0.310kg
ISBN:  

9781846147746


ISBN 10:   1846147743
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   21 November 2012
Audience:   General/trade ,  General
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.

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Reviews

With eagle-eye precision and brutal honesty, Susannah Cahalan turns her journalistic gaze on herself as she bravely looks back on one of the most harrowing and unimaginable experiences one could ever face: the loss of mind, body and self ... a mesmerizing story -- Mira Bartok, New York Times bestselling author of 'The Memory Palace' Captivating ... Cahalan's prose carries a sharp, unsparing punch -- Michael Greenberg * New York Times *


Celeste writes: I saw the title of this book and thought I might buy it for my soon-to-be-a-doctor sister, but after reading a few pages ended up buying it for myself and reading the whole thing in one sitting. In 2008, New York Post journalist Susannah Cahalan turns her investigative skills inward to report the month she spent in the Langone NYU Medical Centre; mentally and physically crippled by an illness doctors found increasingly difficult to diagnose. At twenty-four years old Susannah began to feel unwell, and what started off as nausea, paranoia and turbulent mood swings rapidly descended into acute psychosis and grand mal seizures. One month later Susannah woke up strapped to a hospital bed with an orange plastic bracelet on her wrist that read "Flight Risk." Having no memory of her own of her time in hospital, Susannah interviews her parents, boyfriend, friends, colleagues and the medical professionals who oversaw her care to give us an idea of her "month of madness"; What ensues is a brilliant and intimate piece of extended journalism; a piercing insight into the ebbs and flows of hopefulness and hopelessness that accompany chronic illness. Hope comes in the form of Syrian-born Doctor Najar, who, using a simple clock drawing test managed to identify Susannah's illness as NMDA auto-immune encephalitis. In the year it takes Susannah to recover she is kept on a strict regime of steroids and anti-psychotics that cause sluggishness, irritability and weight-gain, but she maintains a new-found closeness with those who supported her. Susannah's case marked a medical breakthrough; understanding of the treatment of NMDA auto-immune encephalitis has dramatically improved over the last decade. Essential reading for both the medically and the non-medically inclined.


Author Information

Susannah Cahalan is a reporter on the New York Post, and the recipient of the 2010 Silurian Award of Excellence in Journalism for Feature Writing. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, and is frequently picked up by the Daily Mail, Gawker, Gothamist, AOL and Yahoo among other news aggregrator sites.

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