Is It All in Your Head? by Suzanne O'Sullivan
True Stories of Imaginary Illness

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Blending well-spun anecdote with a gently worn survey of the current medical art, O’Sullivan examines the strengths and weaknesses of approaches to psychosomatic disorders...
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A neurologist's insightful and compassionate look into the misunderstood world of psychosomatic disorders, told through individual case histories
 
It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctor have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet, the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker, or just plain crazy.
 
In IS IT ALL IN YOUR HEAD? neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan, MD, takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness, where we meet patients such as Rachel, a promising young dancer now housebound by chronic fatigue syndrome, and Mary, whose memory loss may be her mind's way of protecting her from remembering her husband's abuse. O'Sullivan reveals the hidden stresses behind their mysterious symptoms, approaching a sensitive topic with patience and understanding. She addresses the taboos surrounding psychosomatic disorders, teaching us that "it's all in your head" doesn't mean that something isn't real, as the body is often the stand-in for the mind when the latter doesn't possess the tools to put words to its sorrow.

The perfect book for fans of Oliver Sacks, Is It All in Your Head? encourages us to look with compassion at the ways in which our brains act out, and to acknowledge the intimate connection between mind and body.
 

About Suzanne O'Sullivan

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Dr. Suzanne O’Sullivan has been a consultant in neurology since 2004, working first at The Royal London Hospital and currently as a consultant in clinical neurophysiology and neurology at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, as well as for a specialist unit based at the Epilepsy Society. She has developed an expertise in working with patients with psychogenic disorders, alongside her work with those suffering with physical diseases, such as epilepsy. This is her first book.
 
Published January 17, 2017 by Other Press. 304 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Is It All in Your Head?
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 01 2016

Blending well-spun anecdote with a gently worn survey of the current medical art, O’Sullivan examines the strengths and weaknesses of approaches to psychosomatic disorders...

Read Full Review of Is It All in Your Head?: True... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 20 2017

If empathy is bolstered by understanding, then this book will bring such sentiments to a rarely understood condition. It will engage readers’ heads, but also quite possibly enter their hearts.

Read Full Review of Is It All in Your Head?: True... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Jacqueline Simon Gunn on Jan 16 2017

...question of if psychiatric treatment would in fact help these patients resolve internal distress ultimately relieving physical symptoms is left unanswered in more than a few case stories. Still, this book is an important contribution to the field of neurology and psychiatry/psychology...

Read Full Review of Is It All in Your Head?: True... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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