Susannah Cahalan

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Susannah Cahalan
Susannah Cahalan.jpg
Cahalan in 2014
Born (1985-01-30) January 30, 1985 (age 35)
Occupationjournalist, author
Notable work
Brain on Fire
Spouse(s)Stephen Grywalski (m. 2015)

Susannah Cahalan (born January 30, 1985) is an American journalist and author, known for writing the memoir Brain on Fire, about her hospitalization with a rare auto-immune disease, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.[1][2][3] She has worked for the New York Post.[4]

A feature film based on her memoir was released in June 2016 on Netflix. Chloë Grace Moretz played the role of Cahalan.[5][6]

External video
video icon Q&A interview with Cahalan on The Great Pretender, November 10, 2019, C-SPAN

In 2019, Cahalan's second book was published, The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness. In the work she accuses prominent psychologist David Rosenhan of fabricating the results of seminal research published in the journal "Science". Rosenhan's work demonstrated that staff working at psychiatric hospitals, including psychiatrists, could be easily misled to diagnose schizophrenia when individuals were perfectly sane and reported the mistreatment of patients in these facilities. Rosenhan was, himself, a participant in the research which involved test subjects ceasing to present symptoms of mental illness after admission to the hospital and then observing the manner in which they were treated by staff at the institutions. Cahalan was drawn to this study due to her own experiences with being improperly diagnosed with mental illness, but as she researched Rosenhan and his activity, she began to find contradictions in his work that made her question the validity of his experiment.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Brain on Fire' by Susannah Cahalan". AAMCNews. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ Kahn, Jennifer. "Under Attack: One Woman's Terrifying Battle With an Auto-Immune Disease". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (January 13, 2013). "Susannah Cahalan: 'What I remember most vividly is, the fear and anger'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. ^ "A Young Reporter Chronicles Her 'Brain On Fire'". Fresh Air. NPR. November 14, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Brain on Fire (2016) on IMDb
  6. ^ Kilday, Gregg (July 13, 2015). "Broad Green to Produce Chloe Grace Moretz Starrer 'Brain on Fire'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  7. ^ Eakin, Emily (November 2, 2019). "Her Illness Was Misdiagnosed as Madness. Now Susannah Cahalan Takes On Madness in Medicine". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Rowe, Elizabeth (November 5, 2019). "Susannah Cahalan on The Great Pretender, Brain on Fire, and the Changing Field of Psychiatry". BOOKish. Retrieved November 17, 2019.

External links[edit]