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When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress
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When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,074 Ratings  ·  272 Reviews
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 impres
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Vintage Canada (first published 2003)
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Tim Sheehan Yes, I think both authors are approaching the same concept that the body encodes our perceptions and experiences in the world. Also the Book "The…moreYes, I think both authors are approaching the same concept that the body encodes our perceptions and experiences in the world. Also the Book "The Power of Belief" by Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. Ph.D. Listening to your body and soul/heart avoids rationalization and you start to see the world perhaps more clearly.(less)
Susie Cameron Online or from a bookstore. Most libraries should be able to help you find a copy.

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Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
“When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.” - Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No

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 be
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well, I'm new to this site. I'm currently reading another of this author's books, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, about addiction. So I was reminded of the important role this book has played in my life. I read When the Body Says No shortly after being diagnosed with a life threatening autoimmune disease. It's scleroderma, one of the illnesses he talks about. Doctors encouraged me to make peace with life, as well as to stop working immediately. I didn't have long, they said. I had a highly stress ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 thr ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finally, a book by a conventional Western doctor wholeheartedly supporting the concept of the body as a holistic organism. It's about time.

Dr. Mate describes, in layman's terms, the newly combined medical discipline called psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology -- the inextricably interconnected systems of psychology, neurology, immunology and endocrinology -- and describes how underlying, ongoing, unconscious stress is directly linked with specific disease.

This book is a wake up call for anyone facing
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2011
This is the third book by Gabor Mate I've read. The idea is that many common illnesses -- cancer and auto-immune diseases, to name a couple of wide categories -- are related to specific kinds of stress. In other words, while there may be an environmental or genetic component, the physical causes are not the most important. He thinks there is reason to believe that people from certain types of family backgrounds, living certain types of lives, will be more likely to acquire certain types of healt ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another keeper from one of my favourite authors. Dr. Mate has many examples to make clear the connection between repressed emotions and disease. A reminder that you cannot fool Mother Nature by living in denial.
A real eye-opening book about how stress and anxiety wear down the immune system and contribute to a host of illnesses. I didn't need to be sold on the connection, because it makes perfect sense to me, but I was glad to read the whys and wherefores. In the last chapter the author gives some advice as to how to confront the stress patterns that plague many people. This is well worth a read if you are interested in the mind/body connection and the medical research that backs it up.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Repression-stress-lowered immunity as a trigger for disease, make sense and has been discussed before. A person only has to live through one major, stressful episode in his/her life to attest that the link between these is real. The author states repeatedly that it is only one of several contributing factors, however, like the majority of traditionally trained medical doctors, he ignores some very important ones: parasitic activity in our bodies, solvents and other toxins that have become omnipr ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
After reading this book, I want to buy it for about a dozen people I know. While it covered a lot I knew or assumed about the stress & diseases connection, Mate does a good job of pushing the idea about ten steps further and makes a lot of connections and points in the argument that stress and disease should be considered 1) by viewing the body as a system of systems (hormones, autoimmune, nervous, etc.) and 2) by viewing the disease not solely as a physical manifestation, but within the who ...more
Annie Donovan-Aitken
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book - he is a GP/Psychotherapist and for this book he's interviewed people so you get their stories but also reprots back from studies. His view is that current medicine splits treatment to purely 'body' whereas health can only accurately be thought of in terms of mind-&-body. Coming from a science background I enjoyed all the descriptions of killer t cells, endocrine systems, cortisol etc etc. I think anyone would as it's written very clearly and simply. Plus it's ab ...more
Laurel Bradshaw
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, health
Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between inhibited emotion and Alzheimer’s disease? Is there a "cancer personality"? Questions such as these are emerging as scientific findings throw new light on the controversy that surrounds the mind-body connection in illness and health. Modern research is confirming the age-old wisdom that emotions profoundly affect our physiology. Repressed emotions frequently bring on stress–– which, in turn, can lead to disease.
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I can't wait to read more of Gabor Mate's books. Mate looks at the emotional components of various diseases and how stress (an environmental factor) affects the onset of cancer, MS, arthritis, alzheimer's, you name it. Each disease tends to have a particular personality profile that corresponds to it. With lung cancer, for example, Mate observes that we tend to think that smoking causes lung cancer. However, if that were true, then all smokers wo ...more
Nisha D
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting through this book. I know many people who loved it, I found it to be really dry.
Anita George
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding and fascinating look at how stress creates illness! Mate introduces and explains the research on what personality types get what illness. Essentially, the book discusses the idea that emotional repression results in stress that creates certain kinds of illness. While Mate mentions that inappropriate (i.e. extreme) expressions of rage also creates illness (heart disease), he does not discuss this in depth. I would have liked to know more about that aspect, but I suspect Mate chose ins ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Every human being should probably read this book. This one was and is really difficult one to review. Maté delivers some pretty interesting theories that really make sense but are difficult ones to "prove" to be truth, but at the same time if they are true, they would and will change the whole perspective of how we understand or should understand different sicknesses. My was that a complicated sentence. On the other hand it annoyed me throughout the book how Maté does not explain his thoughts be ...more
This is a stunning book! The single best one I've read that not only describes but provides data to explain how repressing emotions can lead to disease (dis-ease). The stories and scientific studies paint a very vivid path from childhood incidents and trauma to repression of emotions and the stress brought on by them... to chronic and often fatal diseases. He includes and thoroughly covers various types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, asthma, ALS, Alzheimer's, and ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maté never disappoints. He devotes a chapter each to several of the worst ailments and conditions affecting people, specifically cancers and autoimmune problems. Not only does he go into the science of how our emotional systems and responses are physiologically connected to our immune systems and our physical stress response systems, but he also gives plenty of anecdotal evidence to show how people's childhoods, and the childhoods of their parents, contribute to people getting sick. He really dr ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I like Maté's books. They are a breath of fresh air about topics i have read about elsewhere but without all the drama and messianic heat. They are also sensible, informative, and in the behaviors taken from human examples, so Canadian specific. What can I say? We're not allowed to talk about money...not if we're polite. Neither is it the least bit nice to lead off a conversation with 'What do you do for a living?' That's a huge inconvenience on a first date when you really need to know if he li ...more
Sezín Koehler
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sezín by: @Kristen
Shelves: culture, health
This is easily one of the most important books I've ever read in my life.

Once I've read it a few more times and understand the science a bit better I'm writing an extensive article on why everyone needs to read this book. My life will never be the same, and I can mark the moment in which everything got better the day I finished reading Maté's work for the first time.

This is life-saving stuff. Illuminating. Painful. Marvelous research.

Read it.

Seriously. Just read it. You'll see.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gabor contributes his intelligence and insight to the realm of mind-body connectedness. He weaves together the latest advances in neuroscience, endocrinology and developmental science and leavens these with personal insight and a firm grasp of the humanities and philosophy. The end result is a truly powerful commentary and critique of western medicine and the approach we take to illness in our society. I was deeply moved and inspired by this work.
Dia Kristy
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Gabor Mate is a genious with an astonishingly generous heart and s beautiful spirit. I'd give 5 stars to every one of his books and I've read them all.
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book — for everyone.
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very important book. It is mindbody disease 101 - this content should be covered in schools and conveyed to all parents. I admire how he takes an intimate look at what goes on in our mindbody - and then takes it to the family, and then systemic/social level. He's so good at conveying the minute biological details in an accessible format, while maintaining insight and perspective at broader levels. I teared up at various chapters that reminded me of people I know and sometimes myself - ...more
Bod Adegboyega
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting and different book focused on how and to what degree stress and psycho emotional factors contribute to disease.

Mate went into biology, relationships (especially focusing on quality/type of upbringing and its implications) and lifestyle and interviewed survivors/sufferers of a variety of diseases to piece together the main argument - that emotional stress is understated as a contributing factor in a variety of common diseases and health issues.

As interesting as this concept is, I thou
Frankie Paige
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Worth a read for the last chapter alone.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book did a magnificent job of pulling together two different schools of thought. I really found its middle ground intriguing.
Micah Grant
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Lots of good information about how the body and mind are really one super-system and how they influence each other. He also points out how we've lost the perspective of treating the entire person, and only treat symptoms, or narrowly focus on the affected sub-system. I also really liked his explanation of "gut feelings" and why we have them and why it is important to pay attention to them.
Sarah Evan
A really important examination from an MD about the stress-disease connection that is not nearly enough identified and explored by physicians and their patients. Maté is careful to clarify two things: (1) even though people's stress response may be contributing to their illness, they are not responsible for their illness and (2) while parents' actions may have caused an unhelpful stress-response in their children, parents are not to "blame" as they were doing the best they could due to their own ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shifted my perspective on the causes of disease, including my own digestive issues. And now that I have changed my focus from looking for the foods that cause my distress to dealing with the stress that cause my distress, I have noticed a definite improvement. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but Maté provides plenty of actual evidence.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
According to Dr. Matè, compulsive regard for the emotional needs of others while ignoring your own is the major risk factor for diseases from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, cancers (especially breast, ovarian, prostrate), asthma, MS, ALS to many more. With extensive explanations of our hormonal and immune system in response to chronic stress due to suppression of our own negative feelings, he is more than convincing. He has given evidence from a wide range of research, his own as ...more
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Gabor Maté 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
“Dr. Cai Song is an internationally known researcher at the University of British Columbia and co-author of a recent textbook, Fundamentals of Psychoneuroimmunology. “I am convinced that Alzheimer’s is an autoimmune disease,” says Dr. Song. “It is probably triggered by chronic stress acting on an aging immune system.” 9 likes
“Emotional competence requires the capacity to feel our emotions, so that we are aware when we are experiencing stress; the ability to express our emotions effectively and thereby to assert our needs and to maintain the integrity of our emotional boundaries; the facility to distinguish between psychological reactions that are pertinent to the present situation and those that represent residue from the past.

What we want and demand from the world needs to conform to our present needs, not to unconscious, unsatisfied needs from childhood. If distinctions between past and present blur, we will perceive loss or the threat of loss where none exists; and the awareness of those genuine needs that do require satisfaction, rather than their repression for the sake of gaining the acceptance or approval of others. Stress occurs in the absence of these criteria, and it leads to the disruption of homeostasis. Chronic disruption results in ill health.

In each of the individual histories of illness in this book, one or more aspect of emotional competence was significantly compromised, usually in ways entirely unknown to the person involved. Emotional competence is what we need to develop if we are to protect ourselves from the hidden stresses that create a risk to health, and it is what we need to regain if we are to heal. We need to foster emotional competence in our children, as the best preventive medicine.”
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