Brainstorm Experience IX: Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire

Susannah Cahalan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. She serves as a book reviewer at the New York Post and is working on a new book that delves into the…

Brainstorm Experience IX: Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire

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Susannah Cahalan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. She serves as a book reviewer at the New York Post and is working on a new book that delves into the modern history of psychiatry, The Great Pretender, out in 2019. Her award-winning work has appeared in the Psychology Today, Scientific American, Elle, BBC Focus Magazine, and Biological Psychiatry. She has been featured a number of radio and television shows, including The Today Show, The Katie Couric Show, and NPR’s Fresh Air. She received a Yale Poynter fellowship in journalism and was Northeastern’s 12th Annual Hanson Memorial Lecturer in 2016. In 2009, she was honored with the Silurian Award of Excellence for her article “My Mysterious Lost Month of Madness,” on which Brain on Fire is based, and in 2012 received the Books for a Better Life Award for First Book.

Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old at the onset of her career as a reporter for the New York Post when she began to experience symptoms including extreme paranoia and erratic behavior, making her question if pressures from her new job or relationship were too great. Weeks later, she awoke strapped to a hospital bed, under guard and unable to move or speak and her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she has no memory—showed wildly uncharacteristic psychosis, violence and dangerous instability.

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