Neuroscience & Psychology

The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental Health

  • Camilla Nord

This audiobook narrated by Camilla Nord reveals how we can use what we’ve learned about the brain to improve our mental health


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Jan 23, 2024
10 hours 16 minutes
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There are many routes to mental well-being. In this groundbreaking book, neuroscientist Camilla Nord offers a fascinating tour of the scientific developments that are revolutionising 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 explains how our brain constructs our sense of mental health —actively striving to maintain balance in response to our changing circumstances. While a mentally healthy brain deals well with life’s turbulence, poor mental health results when the brain struggles with disruption. But just what is the brain trying to balance? Nord describes the foundations of mental health in the brain—from the neurobiology of pleasure, pain and desire to the role of mood-mediating chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and opioids. She then pivots to interventions, revealing how antidepressants, placebos, and even recreational drugs work; how psychotherapy changes brain chemistry; and how the brain and body interact to make us feel physically (as well as mentally) healthy. Along the way, Nord explains how the seemingly small things we use to lift our moods—a piece of chocolate, a walk, a chat with a friend—work on the same pathways in our brains as the latest treatments for mental health disorders.

Understanding the cause of poor mental health is one of the crucial questions of our time. But the answer is unique to each of us. Finding what helps your brain rebalance and thrive means finding the answer to this question. With so many factors at play, there are more possibilities for recovery and resilience than we might think.

Awards and Recognition

  • A Times Best Science and Environment Book