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The life you live can spur psychosis; mental illness is not purely a biological problem. With fascinating case-histories and the latest research, psychiatrist brothers Ian and Joel Gold take us on a wild journey through the psychotic brain to explain where biology and culture meet.Mr. A. showed up in Dr. Joel Gold’s office at the Psychiatric Emergency of Bellevue Hospital sometime in 2002. He was, he said, being filmed constantly, and the films were being broadcast around the world as a reality television show. His life, he said, was “like The Truman Show”a film depicting a man who is, unbeknownst to him, living out his life as the star of a popular a soap opera. Over the next few years, Gold saw a number of patients suffering from what he and his brother began calling the Truman Show Delusion . Clearly this was a cultural phenomenonwe all now live in a world where some of us are being watched and where technology constantly threatens us with the loss of identity and the invasion of privacy. Having been trained to see psychosis as purely biological disease, the Golds were stunned, and realized they’d have to totally reevaluate the interaction between biology and culture begin in the brain. Combining the extraordinary stories of psychotic patients with the latest neuroscientific research, Joel and Ian Gold explain just how dramatically our lives can influence our brains.
Joel Gold, MD, is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and was an attending psychiatrist in the department of psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center for nine years. Joel is on the faculty at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education and has a private practice in Manhattan. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Ian Gold, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy and Psychiatry at McGill University. He earned a BA and MA in philosophy from McGill University and a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University. He lives in Montreal with his family.