Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan

cahalan, susannah - brain on fire ( thumbs_up ) This book  opened my eyes to a concept that I had never heard before, but that makes so much sense. There is a theory now (based off many case studies) that a large percentage of mental illness may stem from autoimmune issues.

This woman’s specific case already had a rare, but pre-discovered title, “Autoimmune Encephalitis”. Her experience speedily went from bad to worse. She first developed a mood disorder, which quickly escalated into the type of disorganized and hallucinatory thinking that can be found in schizophrenia. From there, dementia and physical symptoms developed. She was fortunate enough to have been placed with a persistent and very competent doctor that was able to pinpoint her mostly unheard of disorder. Otherwise, it was clear she was headed for a certain death.

Obviously not all autoimmune issues will head downward as hers did, as simple allergies are considered an autoimmune response. How this reaction presents itself is different for everyone.

Perhaps this story points to the fact that more time should be spent on studying what is causing the rise of mental illness in our population today rather than on the drugs trying to treat it. Finding the triggers could lead to developing both a prevention and a cure.

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