Brain on Fire aka anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a disease occurring when antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system attack NMDA receptors in the brain first identified in 2007. NMDA receptors are proteins that control electrical impulses in the brain.
In the Netflix movie Brain on Fire, the main character, an up-and-coming journalist at the New York Post becomes plagued by voices in her head and seizures. As weeks progress she quickly moves deeper into insanity, her behaviors shift from violence to catatonia. After a series of tantrums, misdiagnoses, and a lengthy hospital stay, a doctor’s last-minute intervention enables him to give her a diagnosis and a chance to rebuild her life.
Even though this sounds like a fiction soap opera, this story is based off a true story and a disease that really exist. In the movie, each doctor she would visit would misdiagnose her for a psychological disorder when all along she had this newly discovered brain disease. Symptoms can include paranoia, mania, being dazed, personality changes, acting “possessed” and being catatonic, which can lead some medical professionals to diagnose the problem as psychological instead of physical. A study in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience in 2011 reported that the disease is fatal in 25 percent of the cases. In addition, neurological problems persist in 75 percent of the patients, and relapse occurs 20 percent of the time.
This story is a eye opener that it is possible that a doctor can misdiagnose you. Its also a eye opener to shining light on the people that we believe have a mental illness and realizing that they can possibly have a brain disorder thats treatable.
While being diagnosed with something its safe to say that a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th opinion should be done.