About When the Body Says No the Cost of Hidden Stress Pdf

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About When the Body Says No the Cost of Hidden Stress Pdf

In this accessible and groundbreaking book–filled with the moving stories of real people–medical doctor and bestselling author Gabor Maté shows that emotion and psychological stress play a powerful role in the onset of chronic illness, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis and many others, even Alzheimer’s disease.

When the Body Says No is an impressive contribution to research on the physiological connection between life’s stresses and emotions and the body systems governing nerves, immune apparatus and hormones. With great compassion and erudition, Gabor Maté demystifies medical science and, as he did in Scattered Minds, invites us all to be our own health advocates.

I think it’s common knowledge that stress takes its toll on the body and can cause chronic illness. Gabor Maté goes a step further in his analysis on stress’ impact on the body and looks in more depth into autoimmune diseases and how our reactions to life, as well as our upbringings, and our relationships with loved ones, might affect how our body reacts, for better or for worse. This book has a wealth of information that I feel should be essential reading.

Maté’s book was a wake up call in many ways. The author is a well-known and beloved Vancouver physician and he writes with such passion and understanding over the human body, illness and life experiences. The main issue Maté looks at is that of psychoneuroimmunology, the science of the interactions between the mind and the body. Basically, “our immune system does not exist in isolation from daily experience”, and our emotions and physiology are connected. Doctors often ask for our symptoms but few really help us understand that our childhood, upbringing and other factors play a huge part in our health. Maté advocates for a more holistic approach to healthcare.

I found the real examples in this book very informative, and also very sad. There was the story of Gilda Radner, who died from ovarian cancer. One of the things she said, which I’ll try my best to live by, goes as follows: “It is important to realize that you have to take care of yourself because you can’t take care of anybody else until you do.”

In addition to Radner, there were also analyses on Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) and Ronald Reagan, who Maté said wrote his autobiography with “emotional poverty, disguised by sentiment.” Emotions were a big part of this book, suppressed emotions being seen as unhealthy expression and aiding in stress:

” Emotions interpret the world for us. They have a signal function, telling us about our internal states as they are affected by input from the outside. Emotions are responses to present stimuli as filtered through the memory of past experience, and they anticipate the future based on our perception of the past.”

“Repressed anger will lead to disordered immunity. The inability to process and express feelings effectively, and the tendency to serve the needs of others before considering one’s own, are common patterns in people who develop chronic illness.”

I learned that perfectionism is harmful. I also learned that so many of us carry other people’s burdens and it can become crippling. I learned more about Alzheimer’s, cancer, dementia, .multiple sclerosis. and other diseases, and was impressed by how Maté managed to communicate what he believes to be the sources of these diseases without taking on an accusatory or judgmental tone. He has so much empathy, and what he does in his writing, as well as informing and guiding us to self-analyze, is helping us achieve self-acceptance and healing.

This book challenged me to take an honest look at myself, at my life, how I do things, and how I react to things.

Finally, a mantra for those of us who perhaps do too much: “I should be a guide, not a god.”

One of my concerns when I started reading this book was whether he would adequately address the idea of personal blame. I was pleasantly surprised on his clear distinction between blaming someone for their illness versus looking at larger dynamics that can add an increased risk to autoimmune disorders. He is fully in the latter category, not at all the former. In other words, he’s not simplistic in his approach and does not say just “If this, then that.” I appreciated how he walks the reader through the various connections and humanizes it with personal stories of his patients. I learned a lot about the role of cortisol production in our bodies and want to read more on this now. My mother died of a very aggressive cancer a year ago but was the healthiest person (in terms of food and exercise) in our family by far. I’ve been left with many questions about why she died this way despite her great health and this is the first book that has given me any solid scientific explanation for other emotional dynamics that might have contributed.

About When the Body Says No the Cost of Hidden Stress Pdf Author

Dr Gabor Maté (CM) is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, he is a survivor of the Nazi genocide. His maternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz when he was five months old, his aunt disappeared during the war, and his father endured forced labour at the hands of the Nazis.

He emigrated to Canada with his family in 1957. After graduating with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a few years as a high school English and literature teacher, he returned to school to pursue his childhood dream of being a physician.

Maté ran a private family practice in East Vancouver for over twenty years. He was also the medical co-ordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital for seven years. Currently he is the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and resource centre for the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Many of his patients suffer from mental illness, drug addiction and HIV, or all three.

Most recently, he has written about his experiences working with addicts in In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

He made national headlines in defense of the physicians working at Insite (a legal supervised safe injection site) after the federal Minister of Health, Tony Clement, attacked them as unethical. 

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