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Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

a neuroscientist examines his former life on drugs

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A gripping, triumphant memoir about the power of addiction and its effect on the brain

Marc Lewis knows addiction: that desperate ambition to get high accompanied him around the world for many years. In the 1960s, Lewis was a teenager in boarding school, experimenting with cough syrup and alcohol to assuage his depression. When he moved to Berkeley, California, the pulsing heart of the counter-cultural movement, he began using LSD and heroin. His spiralling journey of addiction eventually led him to Asia, where he sniffed nitrous oxide in the Malay jungle, took speed in Kuala Lumpur, and lost himself in the opium dens of Calcutta. This was the beginning of his descent into a moonlit world of crime, poverty, and desperation. Returning to Toronto, Lewis lived a double life: by day, he was a psychology student; and by night, he stole from homes and laboratories to get high.

Thirty-four years on, Lewis is a neuroscientist, and he studies the brains of troubled children. But he never forgets that he was once one of those kids — and that, no matter how many scientific conferences he attends, he always will be.

In this mesmerising memoir, Lewis recounts his relationship with drugs from the inside out, giving a revelatory analysis of the chemical changes in his brain that sustained his addiction. This is not just the story of a man who found his calling while fighting a habit that crossed continents and brought him in contact with the wilder edges of life. It is also a penetrating, powerful analysis of addiction, offering a fascinating insight into the human brain, and what drives it to self-destruction.

From Publishers Weekly

23 January 2012 – In this meticulous, evocative memoir, Lewis, a neuroscientist and ex-junkie, explores how narcotics affect the brain and beguile the mind. His picaresque narrative recounts a lavish drug history: booze, cough syrup and pot at boarding school; LSD during his Vietnam-era college days at Berkeley; intermittent addictions to heroin and prescription opiates that led to pharmacy break-ins and arrest; a laughing-gas party in the Malaysian jungle. His odyssey frames a fascinating look at the mechanisms by which drugs disrupt brain chemistry, excite or sedate neurons, and trash perception, reasoning, and emotion. (A chapter on first love shows how sexual attraction stimulates the same dopamine reward system that hooks the brain on smack.) But Lewis also translates the neuroscience into luxuriant sensation with vivid depictions of the absurdist carnival of an acid trip or the bright white pleasure of a methamphetamine jag. His saga is as much trenchant psychology as it is hard neurology, as he probes the constant jangle of self-loathing and social awkwardness that drove him to drugs as an escape from reality. 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.
Memoirs of an Addicted Brain
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  • $19.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: 30 January 2012
  • Publisher: Scribe Publications
  • Seller: Scribe Publications Pty Ltd
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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