“Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan


Brain on Fire

Susannah Cahalan was working for the New York Post when her mood shifted from friendly and talkative (like a journalist), to paranoid, hysterical, and delusional (like a schizophrenic). After severe symptoms, she was taken to New York University Hospital to begin treatment, but the doctors were unsure what exactly they needed to treat. Some doctors thought she had psychosis, but her parents and her faithful boyfriend disagreed. She had been normal just a few weeks ago! Through the hard work and determination of the doctors at NYU, Susannah eventually was treated for and recovered from her illness.

Susannah has written about her illness in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness — piecing together bits from doctors files, interviews with family and friends, and from footage of her room taken by the hospital. She has to piece together what happened during that blank month, and which situations were real and which were her hallucinations.

This is a medical drama that is not slow, but moves along while providing easy-to-understand medical explanations of why these things were happening to Susannah. I prescribe one reading of Brain on Fire, STAT!

Purchase the book here.