Susannah Cahalan’s Month of Madness

Posted by Maria Mangicaro

Brain on Fire:  My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan discribes her experiences suffering from Anti-NMDAR (N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor) encephalitis, an autoimmune and paraneoplastic disease often presenting as acute psychosis.

One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. My medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy twenty-four year old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.

Click here to visit Sussanah’s website.

Published on Sep  3, 2012 by

Reporter Susannah Cahalan reveals her account of her inexplicable physical and mental breakdown–a medical mystery unraveled by two neurologists studying autoimmune disease.


  1. Had same experience after multiple head trauma (with Helmut)
    I equate it to Alzheimer’s symptoms.

    An experience too long and terrifying to explain here. Wonderful that author is able to bring awareness to psychiatric misdiagnoses.

  2. This poor girl! Drugged with psychotropic drugs, Seroquel being the only one mentioned @ 1:40 minutes, (although I’m sure she was given others). She was also restrained, and what the hell is a “chest posey”??!! You can bet I will find out. Thank God for neurologist, Dr. Souhel Najjar (Dr. House) who diagnosed her as NOT being ‘psychiatrically’ ill but suffering from a brain disease (anti-NMDA-Receptor-AutoImmune-Encephalitis). She is very brave to share her story and hopefully others exhibiting the same symptoms can be properly diagnosed.

    I’m afraid most people who may have the same condition as Susannah will most likely spend the rest of their lives in psychiatric institution and ultimately die. Try to wrap your head around THIS fact the psychiatric industry would prefer you not know… **EVERY 30 SECONDS SOMEONE IS INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED AGAINST THEIR WILL TO A PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTION. **Courtesy Every 30 seconds!! This itself is totally insane. My prayers go out to Susannah for her continued recovery, and to others who are not as fortunate to be properly diagnosed and will ultimately be institutionalized and drugged into stupors for the rest of their lives.

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