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The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition [Paperback]

Robert Scaer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2007 0789033356 978-0789033352 2
New edition provides updated concepts and ideas in simplified medical language

The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition is the update of the classic book that explains the reasons behind some of the most common symptoms and conditions that previously defied a medical explanation. Respected author, Robert C. Scaer, MD, has diligently simplified the complex medical language that was used in the first edition to make it easier for lay readers and patients to understand—all without sacrificing accuracy. This valuable text presents a new theory of the neurophysiology of traumatic stress and dissociation and includes several updated chapters and new concepts that have been developed since the previous edition.

Human response is quite different than other animals’ response to trauma. This response is discussed in detail in The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition, including the fight/flight/freeze cycle and how the human response causes abnormal regulation of many body systems which then may lead to many illnesses or conditions. The emotional and physical experiences of patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other syndromes such as whiplash are comprehensively examined. Patients and lay readers alike who have been told it is “all in your head” may well feel like this book was specifically written about them and the unexplained complex symptoms they experience.

Topics in The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition include:
  • the role of the fight/flight/freeze response in traumatic stress
  • the neurophysiology of traumatic stress and dissociation
  • the Whiplash Syndrome as a model for procedural memory in trauma
  • analysis of traumatic repetition
  • the theoretical concept of somatic dissociation
  • the varied syndromes and medical diseases of trauma and dissociation
  • a theoretical analysis or therapy for trauma
  • illustrative case histories of trauma and the body
  • and more!


The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition is valuable information for physicians, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, nurses, and those lay people looking to better understand the physiologic rationale for a large number of perplexing chronic medical diseases and syndromes.

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The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease, Second Edition + 8 Keys to Brain-Body Balance (8 Keys to Mental Health)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (28 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789033356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789033352
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 15.5 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Robert Scaer, M.D. received his B.A. in Psychology, and his M.D. degree at the University of Rochester. He is Board Certified in Neurology, and has been in practice for 36 years, twenty of those as Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services at the Mapleton Center in Boulder, CO. His primary areas of interest and expertise have been in the fields of traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, and more recently in the study of traumatic stress and its role in physical and emotional symptoms, and in diseases.

He has lectured extensively on these topics, and has published several articles on posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociation, the whiplash syndrome and other somatic syndromes of traumatic stress. He has published two books, the first The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation and Disease, presenting a new theory of dissociation and its role in many diseases. A second edition of this book was released in October, 2007. A second book, The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency, addresses the broad and relatively unappreciated spectrum of cultural and societal trauma that shapes every aspect of our lives. He is currently retired from clinical medical practice, and continues to pursue a career in writing and lecturing in the field of traumatology

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vital reading for victims of chronic whiplash 19 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Like me, have you never fully recovered following a "trivial" whiplash injury? Have you felt "odd" ever since? Are you stressed, things getting on top of you? Do you despair that no one, not even the doctors, seem to understand?
Scaer does!
This fascinating read explores the biochemical changes which can develop, following a soft tissue trauma, into an array of "unusual and multisystemic symptoms so universal and consistent from patient to patient that they either constitute a vast medicolegal conspiracy to defraud the auto insurance industry, or a remarkably consistent and reproducible clinical syndrome".
How wonderful to discover I am not alone in my suffering, that I am actually quite 'normal' (considering what my body has suffered). And how wonderful to find his review of a variety of treatments.
I hope this book instills some hope in you too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this! 4 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bob Scaer's book is up there with the best. I have to say I didn't read it through but as always cherry pick the sections I am most interested in, but of those I did, I learnt new ideas and approaches to how our bodies manifest aches and pains resulting from emotional/painful experiences.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
118 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains PTSD Like Nothing Else 13 Jun 2003
By B. Naparstek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here finally is the neurological basis for the weirdly persistent, highly distressing, ever-cycling symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Don't let the medical terminology stop you from reading this book. It's a stunning revelation to see how physiologically based this syndrome really is, rooted as it is in the survival imperative of the freeze response and it's cognitive partner, dissociation. Makes those diagnostic categories which most of us therapists got trained on pretty irrelevant! I leaned heavily on the fabulous info in this book to write my own chapter on the physiology of PTSD. It's a must read for people with PTSD, their family, friends and counselors.
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The body does bear the burden 30 Jan 2006
By Ronald A. Ruden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When a thoughtful individual takes the time to summarize 30 years of experience, I view this as a great gift. When his insights allow us to help in treatment, it is a blessing. His major thesis is that trauma, when it produces a chronic stress disorder, can manifest in peculair physical ways. This is the key insight and Dr. Scaer backs his observations with lots of clinical and research data. No doubt some will find this a rigorous read, but it is well worth the effort. I had the opportunity to try this theory. A teacher in a rough part of town ( I live in NYC) witnessed in his class a fight where a student viciously punched a girl in the head, when the teacher interevened, the next blow was to the back of his head sending him into the chalk board and breaking his glasses. He presented 5 days later with classic post concussion syndrome of impaired memory, inablility to read and other congnitve deficits. Before I read Dr. Scaer's book, I would have have not been able to treat him, for, from a medical point of view, it was all the brain banging aroung in his skull that caused this. However, Dr. Scaer made me think that this was instead a PTSD from having witnessed a vicious attack. I treated him with EFT and remarkably two days later he was normal! (This would have usually taken many weeks). We are all searching for ways to treat PTSD, but at least we can now view some mystifying symptoms in a model for which hopefully soon we will be able to fix. Kudos, Dr. Scaer.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tough climb for us non-professionals ... but worth it 3 Aug 2008
By StingTrader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Yes, as other reviewers have noted, this book has lots medical terminology. Yes, parts are repetitive, perhaps written more like a consultant's report than an easily digestible media bite. But the contents are well worth the effort.
I am in therapy, working on trauma issues, and this book brought so much together for me, and served as a guide to issues in my life that are very relevant.
If you're looking for another "flavor of the month" self help book, this is not for you. If you are struggling with PTSD, or think you may be, or are interested in MyoFascial Release, Somatic Experiencing, and other new therapies, this provides a great scientific grounding.
Highly recommended.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be in the library of healthcare providers 2 April 2008
By pgp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I like the first edition and this edition is even better!

I work in OB and have seen so many people who have been traumatized by the birth experience- both patients and healthcare givers alike.

I speak on "When Birth Causes Trauma" alot and this is one of the books that I refer my audience to.

This book should be in the library of everyone who deals with patients who have had a traumatic experience and any healthcare giver who has had a traumatic experience.

Paulina Perez, RN, BSN
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Validation for Body Centered Therapies 16 Dec 2010
By Passionate Therapist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Scaer is an honest and courageous clinician: when his patients' course of healing did not add up he resisted dismissing them as most doctors had been doing and continue to do. His basic thesis, that emotional suffering is tied up with the autonomic nervous system, gives support to body-based versus cognitive therapies in general. That said, Scaer is oriented very much above the neck, in the brain. The title states 'the body bears the burden' but he himself sees the body as an implement of the mind, a pack-animal if you will, rather than a seat of the person. Also despite emphasizing that trauma is so widespread as almost to be universal, he still seems to consider it an accident or bad luck. That is, he does not deal with social and family dynamics that are systematically traumatizing people in the physiological sense that he describes.

EDIT October 2012: I have just read the authors other book The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency and I saw that he does there get into the 'little traumas' of parenting and social interaction. Because the second edition of this book bears a later copyright than Trauma Spectrum I had assumed there would be nothing in Spectrum that was not here also. I was wrong, read both books.
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