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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (2008)
by Gabor Mate M.D.
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Revolutionized my views on drug addiction. I believe that all politicians or anyone thinking of influencing society should read this book.
This is an account of a doctor who treats narcotics-addicted down-and-out people, narrates the lives and circumstances that led them to addiction... and (among other things in a very, very thorough book on addiction) develops his theory that addiction is directly correlated to how the developing brain adjusts or malforms in the context of childhood abuse or neglect.
If it's abuse, typically that results in substance addiction; if it's neglect, typically that results in behavior addiction.
He theorizes that all addiction is one; it just takes multiple forms.
And he suggests a number of mindfulness-based techniques to overcome the pull of addiction.
Eye-opening and insightful!
Goodreads star rating system is as the following:
1 Star equals Did not like it
2 Stars equals It was okay
3 Stars equals Liked it
4 Stars equals Really liked it
5 Stars equals It was amazing
A friend and I were talking about Safe Injection Sites. We discussed the normal stuff that always comes up, like whether these sites were truly safe? Should taxpayer money fund these sites? What real advantages/disadvantages are there? Yada, yada, yada… Anyhoo, I realized I really didn’t have enough informed facts to have a well-versed opinion. I can say that after reading Mate’s, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, I now have a solid, unwavering opinion. For me this book is a 3.5- 3.75 but Goodreads doesn’t allow for such options. This book is an incredibly insightful read where every chapter offers something to learn. The information is on addiction, neurological development, brain chemistry, emotional impact, struggles and so much more. Gabor Mate’s book is highly technical but written for a layperson like me to understand. With this information, I have formed a whole new outlook towards addiction, be it drugs, sex, food, nicotine, basically all addictions.
The reason for not giving 4 or 5 stars, I found a couple areas dry and had to revisit the paragraphs that I zoned out on. Also, a few things I feel were a bit repetitive or lengthy and could have been shortened.
Overall, this was a great, informative book that answers the questions I was looking for.
"Perhaps there’s a fascination in that element of outrageous, unapologetic pseudo authenticity. In our secret fantasies, who among us wouldn’t like to be as carelessly brazen about our flaws?"
~Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
This is the second book by Gabor Maté I've read. The first was about stress and the immune system. He has a way of using himself as a very human example of his subject so that the people he tries to help are human too, before they are seen as "cases"
This is not a self-help book for anyone in the depths of addiction but a plea to all of us to realise we're probably all on a spectrum of addiction. A plea for compassion in our lives and in government policy.
In this timely and profoundly original new book, bestselling writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold on our emotions and behaviours. For over seven years Gabor Maté has been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. His patients are challenged by life-threatening drug addictions, mental illness, Hepatitis C or HIV and, in many cases, all four. But if Dr. Maté's patients are at the far end of the spectrum, there are many others among us who are also struggling with addictions. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, work, food, sex, gambling and excessive inappropriate spending: what is amiss with our lives that we seek such self-destructive ways to comfort ourselves? And why is it so difficult to stop these habits, even as they threaten our health, jeopardize our relationships and corrode our lives? Beginning with a dramatically close view of his drug addicted patients, Dr. Maté looks at his own history of compulsive behaviour. He weaves the stories of real people who have struggled with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. Providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting edge scientific findings, Dr. Maté sheds light on this most puzzling of human frailties. He proposes a compassionate approach to helping drug addicts and, for the many behaviour addicts among us, to addressing the void addiction is meant to fill. I believe there is one addiction process, whether it manifests in the lethal substance dependencies of my Downtown Eastside patients, the frantic self-soothing of overeaters or shopaholics, the obsessions of gamblers, sexaholics and compulsive internet users, or in the socially acceptable and even admired behaviours of the workaholic. Drug addicts are often dismissed and discounted as unworthy of empathy and respect. In telling their stories my intent is to help their voices to be heard and to shed light on the origins and nature of their ill-fated struggle to overcome suffering through substance use. Both in their flaws and their virtues they share much in common with the society that ostracizes them. If they have chosen a path to nowhere, they still have much to teach the rest of us. In the dark mirror of their lives we can trace outlines of our own.--from In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)616.8900971133Technology and Application of Knowledge Medicine and health Diseases Diseases of nervous system and mental disorders Mental disorders History, geographic treatment, biography
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