If you’ve been to this website before or have read a copy of our special report on the Top 5 Triggers of IBS, you’ll know that the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome often requires dealing with trauma. Increasingly, medical research studies are showing that trauma is a major trigger of Irritable Bowel symptoms.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at four of the best books on trauma and recovery. If you would like to recommend a book on this subject that you have found helpful, please leave a comment at the end of this post.
1. The Trauma Spectrum, by Robert Scaer, MD
Dr. Scaer is a physician with 30 years of experience working with chronic pain patients. Besides being a brilliant neurologist who thinks outside the box, he understands trauma from his own personal experience – that includes losing an eye in an accident at the age of four.
The Trauma Spectrum is a fascinating book which describes the brain process that triggers physical symptoms and chronic conditions like IBS, even when there is no proven injury. Dr. Scaer examines the many sources of trauma in “ordinary” life, and does not flinch at including the doctor/patient relationship in this category.
Pre-birth and birth experiences, childhood neglect and abuse, and every day challenges at school or work, when we’re expected to “suck it up,” all contribute to what he calls “diseases of stress and trauma.” In addition to IBS, these conditions range from obesity, hypertension and atherosclerosis, to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivity, migraine, and several others.
Dr. Scaer explains the science behind the way trauma affects us. He looks at why talk therapy doesn’t help with trauma and recovery and what does work: therapies such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and other techniques that engage the mind and the body simultaneously or allow you to process trauma through movement, as trauma is primarily a non-verbal experience. However, he doesn’t go into great detail about the “how” of recovery as that is not the purpose of his book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the powerful impact trauma has on every aspect of our lives, from emotions to physical health, and how recognizing it allows us to heal.
2. Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS, 3 Crucial Secrets to Getting Better, by Karen Alison and Kathy Raymond.
Following on the heels of Dr. Scaer, this book goes into the “how to” of self-treating the trauma aspect of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is designed to address specific traumas that are unique to an IBS, Crohn’s or Colitis sufferer.
Not only is it likely that a life trauma or series of traumas has contributed to the digestive disorder, it is also true that living with IBS, Crohn’s or Colitis re-traumatizes the sufferer.
Relief is provided for trauma including:
• Constant or prolonged periods of pain.
• Anxiety and other symptoms.
• Problems with sleep.
• The embarrassment of ‘accidents’.
• The hopelessness of the medical diagnosis. Most digestive sufferers are told there is no cause and no cure for their condition.
• Social isolation.
• The impact of significant losses such as loss of career or personal relationships.
• The despair of the loss of a ‘normal lifestyle’.
Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS, 3 Crucial Secrets to Getting Better condenses 20 years of the authors’ experience with digestive clients to provide straightforward, simple solutions that work.
As far as I know this is the only book that specifically teaches you what to do for trauma and recovery when you have IBS.
3. EFT for PTSD by Gary Craig.
Another excellent book for dealing with trauma is Gary Craig’s EFT for PTSD. EFT is the Emotional Freedom Techniques and PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This book is largely oriented to military people who have been in combat situations. Several experts have contributed chapters, giving this book a well-rounded perspective on trauma and recovery.
EFT for PTSD is not designed for the IBS sufferer or the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, but there is plenty of valuable information about how to relieve trauma, primarily with EFT tapping.
4. The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process by David Berceli, PhD.
Dr. David Berceli’s book describes causes of trauma and gives you specific exercises he developed for releasing it. They are based on the idea that, in traumatic situations, humans lock up the psoas muscle which leads to back, neck and shoulder pain, and gastro-intestinal problems. Animals in the wild shake and tremble after a traumatic experience, which clears it for them. But we humans have trained ourselves not to tremble, so we store our reactions in our bodies and brains and suffer from them repeatedly.
Berceli spent time as a non-military person in war zones in Africa and the Middle East and has firsthand experience of the confusion and challenge of PTSD. His book goes into detail about causes of trauma in regular civilian life and is very useful for helping you to identify your own traumatizing experiences (because trauma often remains on the subconscious level until you are trained to recognize it.)
However, having tried Berceli’s trauma releasing exercises more than once, I offer you this caution: if you do them for longer than a few minutes, you can have quite a powerful reaction for several days afterwards. Headache, weakness, feeling sick, exhaustion, a feeling like having an awful hangover – it’s not pleasant and I don’t know whether or not Irritable Bowel symptoms might be stimulated. The book doesn’t really warn you about the possible side effects of the exercises, so if you try them, be careful and go slowly!
While this book is about trauma and recovery, it is not written specifically for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Still, Dr. Berceli offers a thoughtful examination of trauma that gives many real life examples of the subtle ways it affects mind and body, and his book is well worth reading if you want to become more conscious of what is going on in your own life.
Please leave a comment and let us know about the books you like for trauma and recovery in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
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