In this accessible and groundbreaking book -- filled with the moving stories of real people -- medical doctor and bestselling author of Scattered Minds, Gabor Maté, shows that emotion and psychological stress play a powerful role in the onset of chronic illness.
Western medicine achieves spectacular triumphs when dealing with acute conditions such as fractured bones or life-threatening infections. It is less successful against ailments not susceptible to the quick ministrations of scalpel, antibiotic or miracle drug. Trained to consider mind and body separately, physicians are often helpless in arresting the advance of most of the chronic diseases, such as breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Gabor Maté has found that in all of these chronic conditions, there is a common thread: people afflicted by these diseases have led lives of excessive stress, often invisible to the individuals themselves. From an early age, many of us develop a psychological coping style that keeps us out of touch with the signs of stress. So-called negative emotions, particularly anger, are suppressed. Dr. Maté writes with great conviction that knowledge of how stress and disease are connected is essential to prevent illness in the first place, or to facilitate healing.
When the Body Says No is an impressive contribution to current 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.
Excerpt from When the Body Says No
“Only an intellectual luddite would deny the enormous benefits that have accrued to humankind from the scrupulous application of scientific methods. But not all aspects of illness can be reduced to facts verified by double-blind studies and by the strictest scientific techniques. We confine ourselves to a narrow realm indeed if we exclude from accepted knowledge the contributions of human experience and insight. . . .
“In 1892 William Osler, one of the greatest physicians of all time, suspected rheumatoid arthritis to be a stress-related disorder. Today rheumatology all but ignores that wisdom, despite the supporting scientific evidence that has accumulated in the 110 years since Osler first published his text. That is where the narrow scientific approach has brought the practice of medicine. Elevating modern science to be the final arbiter of our sufferings, we have been too eager to discard the insights of previous ages.”
“His medical background and lucid writing style make complex biological processes accessible to non-scientific readers.” -- The Gazette (Montreal)
“Maté carefully explains the biological mechanisms that are activated when stress and trauma exert a powerful influence on the body, and he backs up his claims with compelling evidence from the field…. Both the lay and specialist reader will be grateful for the final chapter, “The Seven A’s of Healing,” in which Maté presents an open formula for healing and the prevention of illness resulting from hidden stress.” -- Quill & Quire
“[An] enthralling exploration of the relationship between stress and disease. . . Maté probes deeply into the life histories and psyches of [his] many patients. . . . What emerges is nothing short of a revelation. . . . When the Body Says No has the power to change medical thinking.” -- The Edmonton Journal
Praise for Scattered Minds:
“Rare and refreshing. . . . Here you will find family stories, an accessible description of brain development and sound information. You will also find hope.” -- The Globe and Mail
“Maté has done us a great service. . . . People who do not yet know they have [ADD] will have their lives transformed.” -- Canadian Medical Association Journal
“An utterly sensible and deeply moving book written for a general audience.” -- The Vancouver Sun
“One of the most comprehensive and accessible books about Attention Deficit Disorder.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author:
Gabor Maté, a Vancouver physician, is the author of the bestselling book about attention deficit disorder, Scattered Minds. He has been a family physician for over twenty years, a palliative care specialist and a psychotherapist; he is also staff physician at a facility for street people in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. He was a long-time columnist for The Vancouver Sun and The Globe and Mail.