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  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241545799
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $65.00

The Balanced Brain

The Science of Mental Health




A powerful reframing of mental health, grounded in cutting-edge neuroscientific research

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 to medication, 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 self-regulating 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. This book is an invitation to discover those pathways, in order to help us identify what makes each of us feel better - and why.

  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241545799
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $65.00

Praise for The Balanced Brain

Simply brilliant. This is science writing at its best. If you want to understand mental health - really understand it - read this book

Nichola Raihani, author of The Social Instinct

This excellent book is a breath of fresh air . . . anyone reading it will come away with a kinder, better understanding of themselves. A clear-thinking tour of the latest research from a leading mental health scientist and an accessible exploration of how our bodies and minds make us feel the way we do - for better or worse

Lucy Foulkes, author of What Mental Illness Really Is… (and what it isn’t)

Extremely relevant . . . a highly readable synthesis of the neuroscience underpinning mental health and its treatment

Simon Baron-Cohen

Fascinating . . . Camilla Nord, one of our most original thinkers, writes compellingly about the complexities of the brain and mental health. She presents new insights from neuroscience about how the brain generates our mental state, thoughts, moods and feelings, and what happens when things go wrong. This thought-provoking book is an essential resource

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, author of INVENTING OURSELVES

Rigorous, engagingly personal . . . provides an exciting snapshot of what we know so far about this vital organ’s importance for maintaining our mental health

Peter Carty, iNews

Compelling…optimistic…her writing is masterfully nuanced in its treatment of depression, without sacrificing the clarity of her argument

David Robson, the Observer

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

Compelling, revolutionary, compassionate . . . sharp-witted and intelligent . . . both down-to-earth and insightful . . . Nord provides an understanding of the brain which readers can leverage to conduct their own mental-health enhancing experiments

Niamh Jimenez, The Irish Times

Engaging, refreshingly open and fair-minded . . . Explains how our brains come to experience the world as they do, considering pain, pleasure, the mind-body connection and how events shape our outlook

Pippa Bailey, New Statesman

The Balanced Brain a fascinating tour of the latest research… and an examination of treatments… Nord’s careful argument is that mental health requires a kind of homeostatis in the brain that will be influenced by different factors for everyone. It is a refreshing counterblast to many popular ideas about wellbeing

Sarah Collins, Prospect

Nord… weaves stories from her personal and professional life skilfully into a scientific analysis of the huge range of treatments available

the Financial Times Best Books of 2023

This brilliant first book goes into greater detail on the mental health implications of the predictive mind, as well as on the often surprising connections between the corporeal and the emotional. You’ll never look at yourself the same way again

Prospect Book of the Year 2023

A clear-eyed look at the neuroscience of mental health… The Balanced Brain is an enlightening round-up of what scientists know about the workings of the brain, and how they know it

the Economist

A superb introduction . . . a self-help book of sorts but in a very different class . . .sympathetically addresses questions that are frequently asked, with honesty and clarity . . . you will find useful pointers to improving your wellbeing

Uta Frith, Booklaunch