The Balanced Brain

The Balanced Brain

The Science of Mental Health



‘Fascinating . . . a refreshing counterblast to many popular ideas about wellbeing’ Prospect

‘Excellent . . . anyone reading it will come away with a kinder, better understanding of themselves’ Lucy Foulkes

There are many routes to mental wellbeing and award-winning neuroscientist Camilla Nord is at the forefront of finding them. In this ground-breaking book, she offers a revelatory tour of the scientific and technological developments that are revolutionizing the way we think about mental health, showing why and how events - and treatments - can affect people in such different ways.

In The Balanced Brain, Nord reframes mental health as an intricate, self-regulating process, one which is different for all of us. She examines a huge diversity of treatments, from therapy and medication to recreational drugs and electrical brain stimulation, to show how they work, and why they sometimes don't. In doing so, she reveals how the small things we do to lift our mood during the course of a day - a piece of chocolate, a coffee, chatting to a friend - often work on the same pathways in our brain as the latest pharmacological treatments for mental health disorders. Whether they help us to manage pain, learn from experience or expend energy on the things that are important for our survival, these conscious actions are part of a complex process that is unique to each individual and the constant backdrop to our everyday lives.

Nord shows that, with so many factors at play, there are more possibilities for recovery and resilience than we might think. Whether you're suffering or simply doing your best to stay afloat, this book is an invitation to discover what makes each of us feel better, and why.

'Compelling, revolutionary, compassionate . . . down-to-earth and insightful’ Irish Times


  • A fascinating read, one that is able to make sense of unexpected connections . . . Nord makes a compelling case for rejecting any clear distinction between mental and physical illness
    Sophie McBain, The Times

About the author

Camilla Nord

Camilla Nord leads the Mental Health Neuroscience Lab at the University of Cambridge. Her work has been featured in the New Statesman, on Sky News and BBC Radio Four's The Naked Scientist. The Balanced Brain is her first book.
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