Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan Susannah Cahalan writes about her experience of an autoimmune disease affecting her brain which made her go mad. With very little recollection of the time of madness, Cahalan reconstructs her illness through doctors notes and her friends and family, then goes on to talk about the rare and peculiar disease which had afflicted her.

Cahalan also thinks that maybe the disease, and other similar diseases are in fact more widespread than the rarity of detection seems to suggest. In fact the impression left is that, certainly for a significant proportion of cases, that diagnosis' such as undefined psychosis, or various woolly definitions of schizophrenia could very well be treated if only caught soon enough by doctors who don't just jump to easy conclusions because they don't actually know what is wrong.

Cahalan's book is an attempt to disseminate knowledge (sadly lacking in some of the many doctors involved in her care) about autoimmune / brain issues, which by her own lucky circumstances (good insurance, and Neurology rather than Psychiatry pushing her case) she has been able to recover from.

I think what left me feeling bothered however, despite Cahalan's success, is all those other areas (especially with mental health) where knowledge simply does not exist or is not disseminated to where it is needed, either because of the volume needed, old habits of old doctors, or the limitations of insurance and/or personal funding of healthcare.

So an interesting personal story, with some very positive outcomes, both personally, and for informing the wider world, but reinforcing my belief that most doctors don't know what they are doing.