Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trauma? Not So Much

Scared Sick: The Role of Childhood Trauma in Adult Disease by Meredith S. Wiley

Summary: The first years of human life are more important than we ever realized. In Scared Sick, Robin Karr-Morse connects psychology, neurobiology, endocrinology, immunology, and genetics to demonstrate how chronic fear in infancy and early childhood lies at the root of common diseases in adulthood. Compassionate and based on the latest research, Scared Sick will unveil a major public health crisis. Highlighting case studies and cutting-edge scientific findings, Karr- Morse shows how our innate fight-or-flight system can injure us if overworked in the early stages of life. Persistent stress can trigger diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and addiction later on.

Review: A book that informs, but still misleads and was a disappointment.

This summary of this book on Goodreads and on the book jacket makes it seem like this book will focus on trauma (sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect). I have recently become fascinated by the connection between childhood trauma and the developing brain. Trauma can and does change the brain, making people more prone to mental illnesses. So in short, I thought this book would be perfect. Unfortunately, this book focuses on what they term little traumas (such as divorce or the death of a parent) before the age of 2. Only one chapter was dedicated to traditional traumas and didn't go into too much detail. 

This book had some good information about the brain, how it functions, how environment can change genetics, and how trauma can affect and change the brain. The most interesting thing I learned about was how premature babies do not have all the protective measures in place so they can be really affected by their early experiences. Personally, I felt this book had an agenda. It constantly talks about how important mothers are to their children and implies that women should stay home with the kids because the more hours children spend without their mother, the worse of they are. Too bad many women can't stay home with their kids. It is not always mothers who can be important to their children. I felt this book was also quite doom and gloom. This happened to you and know you are stuck with it. Too bad. Very little is mentioned about the brain's plasticity and only one chapter is dedicated to therapy (including some types of therapy that are questionable). I was disappointed by this book.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are very interested in how early childhood can affect our brains and bodies.

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