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Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs Hardcover – International Edition, October 4, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0385669252 ISBN-10: 0385669259

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385669259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385669252
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,497,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain . . . takes on all of human longing. Unlike many of his brain science colleagues and fellow addicts, Dr. Lewis can write. One moment, he is remembering the details of his life as an addict; the next, he is reconstructing, based on newer scientific findings, what the drugs were doing to his brain. The result is not just a book about a brain on drugs, but a picture of addiction as an unavoidable urge of human nature. . . . It's the way he drapes his scientific understanding of human chemical function over the frame of his own life that makes his memoir compelling.”
The Globe and Mail
 
“In his book, Lewis seamlessly integrates the physiology and psychology of addiction with his own vivid, disturbing memories. It’s a fascinating and fact-filled glimpse into the world of needles and need.”
Georgia Straight

“[Memoirs of an Addicted Brain] is compelling, and for readers grappling with addiction, Mr. Lewis's mechanistic approach might well be novel enough to inspire them to seek the happiness he now enjoys.”
The Wall Street Journal
 
“Marc Lewis’s Memoirs of an Addicted Brain is a cracker. . . . The science is up to the minute. Lewis clearly knows his stuff.”
The Australian

“Full . . . fascinating. . . . the picture of his brain activity with which Lewis furnishes us is at just the right resolution for an interested lay reader.”
The Independent    

About the Author

DR. MARC LEWIS is a developmental neuroscientist and professor of human developmental psychology, recently at the University of Toronto, where he taught and conducted research from 1989 to 2010, and currently at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He is the author of over 50 journal publications in neuroscience and developmental psychology.
 
Dr. Lewis co-edited Emotion, Development, and Self-Organization: Dynamic Systems Approaches to Emotional Development (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and co-authored with his wife Isabela Granic Bed Timing (HarperCollins, 2009) which applies developmental theory to help parents get their young children to sleep through the night.

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Thickizgood
Dr. Lewis has done a unique job of taking the experience of the addict and combining it with that of the perspective of science.
Jayrichards
ANYONE with an interest in addiction should read this book.
Jason

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Peter on March 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs

A must read for anyone interested in learning more about their own addictive behaviours. This book is relevant for any kind of addiction;drugs, booze, sex....anything. If you are trying to give up your current addiction, Dr Lewis' text will bring you right up to date with the current science. He describes a lot of great things useful if you're trying to develop effective tools for recovery. This book would also be a great reference for addiction councelors too.

Not only is the book chock full of useful information, but it's also a compelling story. Anyone will empathize with the despair, yearning, craving and looming self destruction Dr Lewis describes. It's a good read. Pretty compelling stuff.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Awilkie on January 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Ive been a heroin addict for the last 18 years and have read just about every book about dope out there. While other books may better portray the visceral effect of addiction this book examines the complete process and the mental / physical circuitry that evolves into that monkey riding your back.

Although i'm a junkie I don't consider myself an idiot, nor a weak willed person. I've completed my masters, been employed with the same company for over 12 years, pay my bills, never drink and don't touch any other drugs...yet when it comes to quiting heroin my actions completely perplex even myself. This book has gone a long way toward helping me understand why I act as I do, and has opened up a new vocabulary with which to engage my therapist as a means to describe the process which leads to relapse.
This is definitely not your normal "i shot dope" confessional, but for those looking for a deeper understanding of why it is so hard to keep that needle out of your arm, this is a must read. I thank the author for using his talent and knowledge to break this material down into a format that anyone could understand.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian on March 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing in this book is simple, elegant, and totally compelling. The description of the author's inner feelings as he searches for his own version of inner peace and calm through drugs is captivating. I also really enjoyed the clinical descriptions of the effects the various drugs he took have on the human brain. The author makes the science accessible to someone not versed in neuroscience and neuroanatomy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jayrichards on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Lewis has done a unique job of taking the experience of the addict and combining it with that of the perspective of science. Too often we are left with either one or the other - the experience of the addict that the professional cannot relate to or else the vernacular of the scientist which is out of reach of the recovering person. As an 18 year recovering person as well as a 16 year Addiction Counselor I can attest that I have learned much about the addict in terms of his life experience as well as what goes on chemically inside his brain from reading Dr. Lewis's book that (I confess)I had little knowledge of beforehand. I will be recommending this book to my recovering friends as well as fellow colleagues!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leilani Barry on September 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Marc Lewis masterfully incorporated engaging textbook style neurobiological explanations behind addiction within his "Memoirs of an Addicted Brain." Each chapter is a rich anecdote describing a different phase of Lewis' life, accompanied by the introduction of a new cause of addiction for most of the book. He explains his emotions and thought processes leading up to, during, and after each new high. After a new drug is introduced, he not only describes the pharmacological effects but also explains basic anatomy of the brain and what the processing or physiology of the particular receptor, neurotransmitter, or structure of interest would be under normal conditions.

The feel and structure of this book is an unusual and remarkable combination of explanations from both a raconteur and college lecturer. It is extraordinary and unique because Lewis is both neuroscientist and drug addict in the book. He is able to provide valuable insight that could usually be lost in translation between experimenter and lab rat. Lewis guides us through the neurology behind addiction as he reveals his first encounter with underage drinking, his temporary escape from depression via dextromethophan, sexual desires, and his experimentation with psychedelics, PCP, and eventually heroin and more. Though not an addict yet, in the first chapter, Lewis jumped straight to expressing the insecurity and curiosity that led first to drinking alcohol. He noticed a change in mood and his self-criticism finally being silenced. He switches from raconteur to college lecturer mode when he begins describing how alcohol is affecting his system by enhancing GABA transmission, which means "the inhibitory chemicals get boosted," and muffling glutamate transmission, meaning "the excitatory chemicals get hushed.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miss Kitty on June 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the beginning it was hard to get through, then at some point lights go off and you begin to live in his world of obsessive compulsive drug use.. What was really interesting was how he put things into not only words but explained visually the parts of the brains each drug he did affected. He explained how the different parts of the brain work and how each drug interacted. What I really got out of his reading is that addictions are more about the chase than the actual object/desire that a person is in pursuit of. The adrenaline and dopamine that gets produced with every chase is what becomes the addiction.
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