Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs

Author(s) : Marc Lewis

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs

Book Details

  • Publisher : PublicAffairs
  • Published : 2012
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 322
  • Category :
    Neuroscience
  • Category 2 :
    Addictions
  • Catalogue No : 35590
  • ISBN 13 : 9781610392334
  • ISBN 10 : 9781610392
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A Why are we desperate for what we don't have, or can't have, often at great cost to what we do have? Why do we risk our peace and contentment, even our lives? Why are we so moved by our addictions, either succumbing to them or spending our energy fighting them? In "Memoirs of an addicted Brain", Marc Lewis illuminates how the fundamental workings of the brain are at the root of the problem. Lewis' relationship with drugs began in a New England boarding school where, bullied and homesick, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine and alcohol. From there he moved to Berkeley, California, in its hippie heyday, where he developed an infatuation with LSD and ultimately an addiction to heroin. In Asia he stole pharmaceutical morphine from a hospital, joined American medics sniffing nitrous oxide in the Malay jungle and found a second home in the opium dens of Calcutta. As a student and then as a clinician in a mental hospital he resorted to stealing drugs from labs and doctors' offices; finally, arrested and convicted of an attempted robbery of a drugstore pharmacy came the tortuous road to recovery. At the age of thirty, he traded in his pharmaceutical supplies for the life of a graduate student, eventually becoming a professor of developmental psychology, and then of neuroscience - his field for the last 12 years. Now he studies the brains of children who get into trouble, using the electric signals from their scalps to explore what's going on underneath. But he never forgets that he was once one of those kids - and no matter how many scientific conferences he attends, always will be. In this unique personal narrative, told with courage, candor and wit, Lewis shows in detail the different neurological effects of a variety of powerful drugs, from alcohol and marijuana to methamphetimine, LSD, oxycodone, and heroin, and shows how they speak to the brain - itself designed to seek rewards and soothe pain - it its own language. And he illuminates the science of craving - an intensely focused need that overtakes the nervous system, again and again, sculpting a synaptic network dedicated to the pursuit of a singular goal - at the expense of everything else.

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