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Brain Reset by David Gillespie Review


Short Review: Dangerously misleading.


Full Review:


The book Brain Reset by David Gillespie is about the interplay of mental health and addiction, especially the effects of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Gillespie asserts at the beginning of the book that he is not trained in any university research methods or medical degree, and it shows.


He has some points I would like to believe are true, but given the misleading points alongside it I can’t be sure they are. Yes, dopamine, like he says, is involved in motivation from what I heard studying psychology at uni. But that’s about where the clarity ends in Brain Reset.


He makes so many statements about the interplay with dopamine, serotonin, GABA, addiction to psychoactive drugs, like nicotine to heroin, and addictions to substances that are not psychoactive, like shopping and sugar, that he basically makes it impossible to falsify his arguments.


Coming up with theories that are falsifiable is paramount in science. When a theory is created, we are making a statement about how the world acts. If anything comes into knowledge that opposes a theory, it needs to be abandoned or altered. For example, if we say ‘all swans are black’ we know that finding another colour swan would falsify that statement.


With all the convoluted writing, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a true, falsifiable, coherent scientific theory in this book.


It seems as if at one point he is saying uncertainty in your environment can make you anxious, and in conjunction with addiction, it causes stress and for dopamine levels to surge which in turn can lead to all types of mental health problems – even psychosis, schizophrenia, and mania! (And at other points he seems to contradict that, but it is all worded so confusingly that I’m pretty sure even he doesn’t know what he’s trying to say.) But even if this statement is true, he doesn’t address the point that correlation doesn’t equal causation.


For example, high dopamine levels due to addiction is considered to cause schizophrenia in his book. And it’s true that there is a lot of dopamine present in the brains of unmedicated schizophrenia sufferers. But couldn’t the high dopamine be due to a third factor (I’m just pulling this out of a hat, but what if genetically we are unable to create certain proteins in our body that would help regulate dopamine pathways?) So, you can’t say there is a causal relationship. Another possible example is high dopamine levels in the body could be leading us to more risky behaviours like taking drugs.


The type of over-simplified statements on the cause of different mental illnesses in his book make me very concerned for the afflicted who read it. It posits that if we can just take away ever possible addiction, even that to sugar, we will cure our mental health and DO NOT need medication. This is a dangerous statement.


I have found so much benefit to taking medication. It isn’t a cure, but for me it is essential to everyday functioning. If I didn’t take it, I would surely be dead due to neglect to my personal needs (like eating and sleeping) or through suicidal depression. And I am not alone.


People often assert that what is natural is good for us, but cane toad poison is natural but I’m not going to go lick a cane toad any time soon. Similarly, just because something is unnatural or synthetic, like medication, it doesn’t mean it is bad for you. Sure, these medications can have bad side effects, but often the benefits outweigh the risks.


Yes, it is sad there is no cure to schizophrenia as of yet, and this book takes advantage of vulnerable people who are just trying the best they can to get well. Does David Gillespie knowingly write such misleading books for a profit? Or is he just foolish? I don’t know, but I’m not sure there are any other possibilities.


Larz

15/05/2022

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Hi there,

Lauren Sims is an artist and author from Brisbane, Australia. She has recently become and author and will be releasing her first book in late 2022.

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