BRAIN ON FIRE: MY MONTH OF MADNESS by Susannah Cahalan

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Susannah Cahalan’s illness came out of nowhere.  One day she was living a perfectly normal life as a New York Post journalist; weeks later she was strapped to a hospital bed, experiencing seizures, paranoid hallucinations, and catatonia.   The doctors were ready to send her to a psychiatric ward, but her family insisted that there must be a medical cause.  Something was wrong with Susannah, and it wasn’t mental illness.  After a month of tests, procedures, and turmoil, doctors finally found a diagnosis just in time to save Susannah’s life.  Although Susannah has nearly no memories of her “month of madness,” she has reconstructed her path through illness and recovery based on family recollections, journals, and hospital records.  Her memoir is intense and fascinating, forcing readers to reexamine their perception of mental illness and reminding us how little we know about the remarkable human brain.  I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in memoirs or medicine!

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