Brain on Fire meets High Achiever in this visceral, propulsive memoir detailing a woman’s accidental descent into prescription benzodiazepine dependence and the life-threatening impacts of the drugs’ long-term use.
As Melissa Bond raises her infant daughter and a special-needs one-year-old son, she suffers from unbearable insomnia, sleeping an hour or less each night. She loses her job as a journalist (a casualty of the 2008 recession), and her relationship with her husband grows distant. Her doctor casually prescribes benzodiazepines—a family of drugs that includes Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan—and increases her dosage on a regular basis.
Following her doctor’s orders, Melissa takes the pills night after night; her body begins to shut down and she collapses while holding her infant daughter. Only then does Melissa learn that her doctor—like many doctors—has over-prescribed the medication and quitting cold turkey could lead to psychosis or fatal seizures. Benzodiazepine addiction is not well studied, and few experts know how to help Melissa as she begins the months-long process of tapering off the pills without suffering debilitating, potentially deadly consequences.
Each page thrums with the heartbeat of Melissa’s struggle—how many hours has she slept? How many weeks old are her babies? How many milligrams has she taken? Her propulsive writing crescendos to a fever pitch as she fights for her health and her ability to care for her children. Lyrical and immersive, Blood Orange Night shines a light on the prescription benzodiazepine epidemic as it reaches a crisis point in this country.
“There is a line in this evocative memoir that I will not forget, for it so perfectly sums up the effect that benzodiazepines have had on millions of lives: ‘Benzos are the thief that steals everything you own a piece at a time.' In Blood Orange Night, Melissa Bond writes of the thief that crept into her life with the narrative skills of a fine novelist.”
Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America
“Blood Orange Night is a beautifully written and exceptionally moving firsthand account of Melissa Bond’s struggle with addiction to benzodiazepines. It should be read by anyone considering taking or prescribing medication for insomnia.”
Irving Kirsch, PhD, author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
“Blood Orange Night has it all: sex, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, brutal addiction that’s not addiction, and outright beauty (not necessarily in that order). There’s also a hilarious kiddo with Down Syndrome lighting the book from the inside, but he’s just the cherry on top of a magnificent cake of a book. If we were at a dinner party together and you asked me about it, I’d tell you to get the thing; get this book now and devour it. It’s that good.”