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Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs Paperback – International Edition, October 2, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Memoirs of an Addicted Brain
"An engrossing swirl of personal history, themes of loss and triumph, deftly rendered brain science, and clear thinking on the dilemma of addiction. Illuminating even to experts, accessibly written for all."
—Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

About the Author

DR. MARC LEWIS is a developmental neuroscientist and Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto, where he has taught and conducted research since 1989. The author of over 35 journal publications in neuroscience and developmental psychology, he is at the forefront of knowledge of the emotional brain and the neural foundations of personality development. 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385669275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385669276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,221,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am currently working as a Dialysis RN and my boyfriend is a recovering heroin addict. He was 8 months sober when I met him when he relapsed in my bathroom. I found him unconscious and blue. Luckily, being an RN, I am skilled at CPR and I kept him alive until the paramedics arrived and administered Narcan, giving him another chance at life. Seeing his decent into relapse was heartbreaking and eye opening. I witnessed firsthand the powers of this encompassing disease. This book was an excellent read, very interesting and enlightening into the thoughts of an addict and also told his experiences from a scientific perspective. It helped me come to terms with the fact that addiction, particularly to heroin, is not a moral failing in any account but a horrible disease of the brain. I found it very fascinating, raw and eye opening. Perfect book for someone looking for a more in depth perspective of the human brain and the effect of drugs on your loved ones mind. Its a very powerful read. I found myself underlining many passages and marking up my book as I read. This book really helped me come to terms with what his addiction means and how hard it really is to overcome, but also gave hope into the possibility of a brighter tomorrow after conquering addiction.
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