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Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs

Trade Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781610392334

Price: $17.99

ON SALE: March 5th 2013

Genre: Nonfiction / Science / Life Sciences / Neuroscience

PAGE COUNT: 336

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Marc Lewis’s relationship with drugs began in a New England boarding school where, as a bullied and homesick fifteen-year-old, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine, alcohol, and marijuana. In Berkeley, California, in its hippie heyday, he found methamphetamine and LSD and heroin. He sniffed nitrous oxide in Malaysia and frequented Calcutta’s opium dens. Ultimately, though, his journey took him where it takes most addicts: into a life of addiction, desperation, deception, and crime.

But unlike most addicts, Lewis recovered and became a developmental psychologist and researcher in neuroscience. In Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, he applies his professional expertise to a study of his former self, using the story of his own journey through addiction to tell the universal story of addictions of every kind. He explains the neurological effects of a variety of powerful drugs, and shows how they speak to the brain — itself designed to seek rewards and soothe pain — in its own language. And he illuminates how craving overtakes the nervous system, sculpting a synaptic network dedicated to one goal — more — at the expense of everything else.

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Reader Reviews

Praise

Kirkus
“Developmental neuroscientist Lewis examines his odyssey from minor stoner to helpless, full-blown addict….as [he] unspools one pungent drug episode after another, he capably knits into the narrative an accessible explanation of the neural activity that guided his behavior. From opium pipe to orbitofrontal cortex, a smoothly entertaining interplay between lived experience and the particulars of brain activity.” 

Publishers Weekly
“Meticulous, evocative… Lewis’s unusual blend of scientific expertise, street cred, vivid subjectivity and searching introspection yields a compelling perspective on the perils and allure of addiction.”

Wall Street Journal
"Compelling…for readers grappling with addiction, Mr. Lewis's…approach might well be novel enough to inspire them to seek the happiness he now enjoys.”

Chronicle of Higher Education
“He proceeds deftly from episodes of his drug years to neuroscientific explanations of his brain's response to drugs.”—-
Boston Globe
“A surprising and charming addition to this crowded genre. Yes, it embraces the classic redemption narrative - teenage experimentation, late-’60s Berkeley, exotic forays into Malaysia and Calcutta, the inevitable slide into deception, crime, and desperation. But he ends up a professional neuropsychologist, able to enliven the tired streams of addled consciousness with metrical rapids of semi-hard science.” 

Guardian
“Marc Lewis's brilliant – if not wholly sympathetic – account of his many mind-bludgeoning drug experiences wears its biological determinism on its sleeve … Lewis has certainly woven his experiences into an unusual and exciting book… (Memoirs of an Addicted Brain) is as strange, immediate and artfully written as any Oliver Sacks case-study, with the added scintillation of having been composed by its subject.”

The Fix
“The most original and illuminating addiction memoir since Thomas De Quincey's seminal Confessions of an Opium Eater…[an] electrifying debut.”

Midwest Book Review
“A powerful survey recounting the author’s powerful addiction and how he broke an intense hold on drugs… This will appeal to a range of collections, from those strong in autobiographies to science and health holdings alike.”—-
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