From Publishers Weekly
A French-American cardiologist then affiliated with New York Hospital–Cornell University Medical College descended into years of hellish alcohol addiction that essentially ended his medical practice in 1997. His move back to Paris and self-treatment with the unproven drug baclofen is the subject of this clinical, thoroughgoing memoir. Early on, Ameisen, the child of Holocaust survivors and an accomplished pianist, recognized that deep-seated anxiety was driving him to drink, yet doctors treated the drinking rather than the anxiety. He tried years of AA, rehab and medication, but in time he was binging again—blacking out and ending up in psych wards or the emergency room with broken bones. When he read about the muscle relaxant baclofen in a New York Times
article, suggesting that it could repress the craving in addicts as well as control muscular spasm, he seized on the drug as his life line. He researched baclofen, prescribed it to himself (thanks to France's medical identity cards) and essentially used himself as a study over several months, increasing the dosage as necessary. The results were remarkable, and his dogged self–case study published by the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism
in 2005 gathered slow but intensive interest. As a trained physician who is evidently well connected, Ameisen is not a typical patient, yet his work is brave, insightful and sure to be significant. (Jan.)
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“You have discovered the treatment for addiction.” —Jean Dausset, M.D., winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Medicine
“This is not your usual memoir of addiction, degradation, and redemption.”— The Boston Globe
“Brave, insightful and sure to be significant.” —Publishers Weekly
“In this remarkably candid memoir of crippling alcoholism, cardiologist Ameisen’s passion for curing addiction is palpable, at times gritty, and, in the end, hopeful.”—Booklist
“WOW! . . . This is a wonderful book . . . Ameisen may be responsible for making a signal discovery much like, but better than, that of George Cotzias, [the first to show that L-dopa could alleviate Parkinson’s disease,] in that so many more patients may be involved.” —Jerome B. Posner, M.D., George C. Cotzias Chair of Neuro-oncology, Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“This book is . . . the story of the dazzling discovery of a cure that could soon be within reach of all. If you or someone close to you suffers from alcoholism or drug dependence, you must read this book.” —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Instinct to Heal and Anticancer