Brain on Fire has ratings and reviews. When twenty-four-year- old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed. In , Susannah Cahalan was 24 years old and living the kind of New York life . He turned to my parents and said, ‘Her brain is on fire. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness [Susannah Cahalan] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. An award-winning memoir and instant New .

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. Hardcoverpages. New York State United States. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Brain on Fireplease sign up. Do you have this book? It seems really interesting. Tatiana Ruban Yes, I do. This is very interesting story. The human’s brain is unpredictable and we never know what could happen on the next day.

I can not access to the content. What should I do? Kally Check the library. See all 10 questions about Brain on Fire…. Lists with This Book. Nov 29, Bonnie Jean rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I took care of a patient with this tragic and intriguing disorder.

Her complex and terrifying journey through this disease in ongoing. Over the course of caring for her, her sister mentioned this book. In this rare disorder, people often pass through a range of bizarre psychiatric symptoms that lead to catatonia and then often death as the body becomes unable to regulate itself, as with the patient I cared for in ICU.

With the young woman who wrote this book, you see her pass through various sta I took care of a patient with this tragic and intriguing disorder. With the young woman who wrote this book, you see her pass through various stages of psychosis–hallucinations, acting out, narcissisms–that baffle everyone around her until one day she has a seizure and is finally admitted to a hospital.

The rest of the book is a race against time as her family and the health care professionals around her try to solve her mysterious illness and ultimately save her life in the nick of time. She considers herself incredibly lucky, and wrote this book to raise awareness about people elsewhere who may be misdiagnosed.

It’s incredibly well written, and the author does a remarkable job about being open and honest, in even unflattering ways, to be true to the story and to present an accurate picture of just what this terrifying disease can do to you. It was a page-turner–and it was also all true. A fine balance of personal story blended with real science.

Loved this book; couldn’t put it down, and went back to work with a renewed sense of purpose. View all 23 comments.

Susannah Cahalan, a young journalist working at a great ok not so great, kinda schlocky actually metropolitan newspaper, suddenly notices things going awry. She starts having episodes of paranoia, becomes hypersensitive to sound, light and cold. She suffers from loss of appetite and begins having out-of-body experiences and wild mood swings. A tour of New York psych and neuro pros did not yield much more than a suspicion that she had been partying too hard.


On the other firr, grand mal seizure Susannah Cahalan, a young journalist working at a great ok not so great, kinda schlocky actually metropolitan newspaper, suddenly notices things going awry.

On the other hand, grand mal seizures can be so convincing. It is amazing, in the 21st century, how much we do not know about the human brain.

Maybe fahalan Star Trek people were wrong. Maybe the brain is the real final frontier. It sure seems braib a lot of the weapons being used today are as old fashioned as spears and tomahawks. She was diagnosed by serious professionals as having partied too hard, as being bipolar, schizophrenic, psychotic and probably a few more fun things from the DSM manual. Sjsannah story is almost like a mystery, with clues, red herrings, suspects, good guys and bad…well, there are not really any bad guys, just uninformed medical pros.

Good guys include a bf made of solid gold, and several of the docs who look into her odd case. Dad stands onn tall as well. One way you can tell the pioneers is by the arrows in their backs.

In terms of what Cahalan is finally diagnosed with it is clear that many of those pioneers did not survive. There is a point in the progress of this particular disease yes, they do find what ails her beyond which the damage is too severe to step back.

Brain on Fire

Cahalan comes through, damaged but recovering. So what are we to firs of all this? She had to struggle to reconstruct events from her life, events for which she was present, in which she was even an actor, but events for which she retained no memory. Her journey through the medical Indian territory was frightening and her arrival at Fort Diagnosis was uplifting.

We learn something new about the world and the information has implications for a wide swath of maladies. Might it be that many who are diagnosed with autism, say, or schizophrenia, might have a treatable, biological, as opposed to psychological, disease? Consider your horizon expanded. One crucial element here is the personality of the narrator. How we feel about Cahalan can affect our reaction to the book overall.

Here we run into bit of a teratoma. I did not feel much for this particular person. While she is certainly bright, and writes well, I got the impression that she was not exactly the best possible human being. During one of her episodes, Cahalan threw repeated fits in a car, while with her family. It was like a spoiled child on steroids and meth. It is an appalling scene, yet seriously mitigated by the fact that this person is not well. However, it does make one wonder about how the manifestations of this disease reflect the underlying person.

Her mother later recounts: You walked into a restaurant and demanded food. Cahalan does offer a bit of perspective, with info on some other people who have been diagnosed with her disease. But there was nothing there indicating a correlation, or not, between disease-driven behavior and the personality of the sufferer. I suppose it should not matter.


Even obnoxious people do not deserve such slings and arrows. One aspect of this disease is that it can seriously impair memory, removing some that are there, and making it difficult to impossible to form new ones. Even though I was not all that taken with Miss Cahalan as a person, she is a good writer with a fascinating tale to tell, one with implications far beyond cahqlan personal journey.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

I beain not soon forget it. Teratoma — the reason for using that particular word is that many sufferers of Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis often have had such tumors prior to onset of the disease. I fearlessly cut and pasted the ff from Wikipedia – A teratoma is an encapsulated tumor with tissue or organ components resembling normal derivatives of all three germ layers. The tissues of a teratoma, although normal in themselves, may be quite different from surrounding tissues and may be highly disparate; teratomas have been reported to contain hair, teeth, bone and, very rarely, more complex organs such as eyes,[1][2] torso,[3][4] and hands, feet, or other limbs.

View all 44 comments. Nov 07, Nancy rated it it was amazing. I rarely read memoirs. It is a rare and gifted author that can objectively describe a personal event without infusing it with strong emotions. Perhaps Susannah was able to accomplish this huge feat due to the simple fact that she was unaware of herself much of the time that her brain was inflamed.

She begins with the first noticeable symptom; a couple of bed bug bites tha I rarely read memoirs. She begins with the first noticeable symptom; a couple of bed bug bites that were probably hallucinations and escalates from there. Some of it remembers in bits and pieces right up until her major seizure which wasn’t a pretty picture, nor did she try to paint it as such. Rushed to the hospital, her mind is blank for the next month until she is correctly diagnosed cahhalan begins the slow healing cahaaln.

I found Susannah’s story absolutely fascinating. She fairly balances her experiences with simple medical terminology, cites doctors notes and tries to piece together a chronological picture of her sickness, interactions with those who love her, and hospital video.

She describes her intense and insane mindset without previously establishing her basic personality. This is an excellent strategy as her writing style and brief “normal” clearly defines her as an intelligent and engaging young woman. The fact that she is confident enough to allow the reader to arrive at this conclusion endeared her to me all the more by trusting the reader.

Although I recoil when an author writes a book with an agenda, Susannah’s agenda is simply awareness of the possibility that mental illness can be physiological in nature, caused by a virus or bacteria, changing the personality of a person to such an extreme that mental illness is diagnosed and the person spends the brzin of her life in an institution. Susannah was greatly blessed by intersecting with a doctor who had recently made the discovery of this malady.