Brain on Fire

Brain on Fire

My Month of Madness

Book - 2012
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The story of twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan and the life-saving discovery of the autoimmune disorder that nearly killed her -- and that could perhaps be the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, c2012
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451621372
145162137X
9781451621389
Branch Call Number: 616.832 Caha
Characteristics: xiii, 264 p.

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Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Nov 13, 2016

New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan suddenly starts experiencing an array of frightening symptoms that confounds doctors. She has seizures, extreme light sensitivity, anger, a total change in personality, hallucinations, and memory loss. Eventually she pieces together her lost month of hospit... Read More »


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jade310
Jul 10, 2018

Really great storytelling (you can tell she's a trained journalist), and she is so generous with such a deeply personal experience. Her story is inherently important--being that not many others have been so thoroughly documented for the general public--and beautifully written. I found it a little challenging to follow all of the medical aspects, but I can't fault her research, as it was phenomenally thorough (especially for an experience she has little first-hand memory of). You find yourself really cheering her on, while simultaneously fascinated by what's happening to her. She even ties her illness back to historical accounts of demonic possession, which really engaged the nerd in me. Overall, a super interesting read that's able to really draw readers in emotionally. Highly recommended.

i
irenelaf
Jul 06, 2018

What a terrifying experience and a fascinating read imho! All of it...even the occasional medical explanations (the book would be weak without them) maybe especially because of them. I couldn’t even imagine being the 217th person diagnosed from a rare disease that doctors haven’t even heard about that presents itself among other things as schizophrenia progressing to catatonia and sometimes death. I feel awful about the many undiagnosed people sitting in a mental hospital or worse being subjected to an exorcism instead of medical treatment!

m
mulhollandca
Mar 22, 2018

I really enjoyed this book, I have some training in the immune system and I felt it was wonderfully explained. I really enjoyed the science and then the story!

n
neesa11
Mar 08, 2018

Wow an amazing book! Probably one of the best I've read... the subject is really interesting and scary all at the same time... I would definitely recommend to anyone who suffers or knows someone that suffers from mental illness, etc. I thought that she really describes very well how she starts to "lose her mind"

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 21, 2018

The author woke up after a month in the hospital unable to move or speak. She was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that mimics schizophrenia and autism, and could be the root of “demonic possessions” in history.

ArapahoeHollyR Sep 19, 2017

A gripping, frightening medical mystery. Fast-paced and well-written memoir.

ArapahoeKati Sep 18, 2017

Wow! I was completely sucked in. Can you imagine having your whole future in front of you and then being struck down by a scary mystery illness that barely had a name? If you like medical history and memoirs, pick this up. You won't be disappointed.

samcmar May 25, 2017

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this is such an intense look at someone with a rare illness and how they essentially lost a month of their life with no recollection of what happened. I found myself completely glued to this book, and even when the author got very technical about her disease, it never felt overwhelming , and I found I understood what was going on. A great read!

m
m0mmyl00
Apr 30, 2017

The author describes her months long experience with an undiagnosed brain disease. It appeared first as inexplicable quirks, then proceeded rapidly to psychosis. Doctors thought she partied too hard, was under too much stress from her job at the NY Post, had epilepsy, was psychotic, etc., etc. In short, they just didn't know. Her live-in boyfriend was steadfast. Her mother and father, estranged from each other, were too. All of her doctors were mystified. Finally, a new doctor asked her to draw a picture of a clock. She drew all the numbers on the right hand side of the circle, giving him a clue about the disease in her brain. Her recovery was as traumatic, though not as dramatic, as her disease. The book was interesting because her experience was so weird, and her recounting of it was competent. It was not, however, uplifting, insightful, or poetic.

n
NWPLindabear
Dec 10, 2016

This book was such a page turner. All of a sudden, writer Cahalan starts to go crazy. She seems paranoid, wild and unpredictable and ends up in the hospital. Although it seems apparent that she should go to a psychiatric ward, she and her family are insistent that she stays in medical. What happens is fascinating and the implications so interesting for neuroscience and others who have been condemned to mental institutions.

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jade310
Jul 10, 2018

jade310 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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shaylynnhunt
May 12, 2015

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GSPLNadia Mar 13, 2015

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ZoeCar
Aug 11, 2016

A young reporter named Susannah Cahalan begins to have strange medical issues like seizures, mood swings and suicide attempts. The doctors think she has no hope. If it wasn't for her family and her boyfriend, she would have been put in a mental asylum.

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