Sacks on mania

Mania is a biological condition that feels like a psychological one—a state of mind. In this way it resembles the effects of various intoxications. I saw this very dramatically with some of my Awakenings patients when they began taking L-dopa, a drug which is converted in the brain to the neuro-transmitter dopamine. Leonard L., in particular, became quite manic on this: “With L-dopa in my blood,” he wrote at the time, “there’s nothing in the world I can’t do if I want.” He called dopamine “resurrectamine” and started to see himself as a messiah—he felt that the world was polluted with sin and that he had been called upon to save it. And in nineteen nonstop, almost sleepless days and nights, he typed an entire autobiography of 50,000 words. “Is it the medicine I am taking,” wrote another patient, “or just my new state of mind?”

From this piece in NewYorer The New York Review of Books; via. A nice piece; take a look!

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2 Responses to “Sacks on mania”

  1. Abi Says:

    You mean NY Review of Books, don’t you?

  2. Guru Says:


    Yes — that is what I should have said, and now I do.


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