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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

by

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Cover

ISBN13: 9781556438806
ISBN10: 155643880x
Condition: Standard
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DrPayam1, July 26, 2014 (view all comments by DrPayam1)
As a psychotherapist, I found this book impressive in its scope and depth. This eye-opening book offers a fresh look at addiction.
www.drpayam.com
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dial m for moniker, September 29, 2011 (view all comments by dial m for moniker)
This is my first book by Dr. Mate and after reading it, I plan on reading more. It covers in some detail, without being overburdened by details, the biological and psychological drives of addiction and the political context in which it functions.
The last few chapters, when he goes into the healing that is possible were beautiful, hopeful, and brought tears.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
dial m for moniker, September 29, 2011 (view all comments by dial m for moniker)
This is my first book by Dr. Mate and after reading it, I plan on reading more. It covers in some detail, without being overburdened by details, the biological and psychological drives of addiction and the political context in which it functions.
The last few chapters, when he goes into the healing that is possible were beautiful, hopeful, and brought tears.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Nina Sparr, January 30, 2011 (view all comments by Nina Sparr)
This book is well written and heartfelt. Dr. Mate truly believes in his patients and the work he does, and truly works with a population of people that most people would consider a waste of time. His work as a physician is inspiring and his book is a true gem.

The one drawback I think most people would find is that Dr. Mate does have a pretty specific theory about how we, as people, become addicts. Truly, there will never be a theory to this that you can apply to everyone, if that were the case, we would probably be able to "cure" addiction. The fact that Dr. Mate has a theory of his own that he is able to rely on and structure his work with is a lot of what allows him to do the great work he does. None of us can work with people in such difficult places in the world and not build some reason for it in their own mind. His theories are what keeps him going, and I would say they are pretty good ones, not perfect and not fully explanatory, but have a good basis. The fact that he sticks so truly and passionately to his particular view might offend and bother some people, but if you read the book with an open mind and take from it the lessons you can and leave behind the ideas you don't agree with, it can be a truly eye-opening and inspiring read.
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Rebecca Lexa, November 11, 2010 (view all comments by Rebecca Lexa)
Do any research on addiction in the mainstream consciousness, and you'll almost immediately run into a plethora of pathologizing messages perpetuated by the U.S. "War on Drugs". These can basically be summed up as "Drugs are bad. Drug users are bad. Therefore, shun and stigmatize drug users to avoid getting hooked on drugs".

Yet the reality faced not only by addicts, but by those who work in the field to rehabilitate them, is that addiction isn't merely a value judgement. It is a coping mechanism, albeit one with many negative side effects, for dealing with a host of mental illnesses, traumas and other problems. Gabor Mate, a doctor who has been working with the population of addicts in Vancouver, B.C., writes a realistic and yet compassionate telling of his experiences not only as a treater of addicts, but as an addict himself.

Through his writings, it quickly becomes apparent that the solution to the problem of addiction is not so simple as getting drugs off the streets. There are reasons that addicts become hooked; no one goes in wanting massive health problems, a criminal background, and an inability to stop an increasingly destructive habit. Instead, Mate reveals the social, psychological, and personal elements that lead to and promote addiction. The reader is reminded again and again that addicts are also human beings, and that the only difference between "us" and "them" is how we each deal with the sometimes massive psychological stressors we may face in the course of life.

The book is nothing short of controversial. Mate makes a cogent argument for providing incurable or otherwise challenging addicts with safe, controlled amounts of whatever their drug is as a way to avoid promoting further criminal behavior in the pursuit of another hit. The reality he presents is that while yes, some people can ultimately replace their addiction with a better coping mechanism, it's not that simple for everyone, and so alternatives need to be in place if we are to restore these people to basic human dignity.

"In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" is a much-needed counter to the constant barrage of overly simplistic, condescending, and marginalizing "Just Say No" sound bites. Written by someone who has done the work for years and is intimately as well as professionally familiar with addiction, these words carry an incredibly important message as we work to help people face the illness that is addiction.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
 1-5 of 5

Product Details

ISBN:
9781556438806
Author:
Mate, Gabor
Publisher:
North Atlantic Books
Foreword by:
Levine, Peter
Foreword:
Levine, Peter
Author:
Mate, Gabor MD
Author:
Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.
Author:
Mate M. D., Gabor
Author:
Levine, Peter A. PhD
Author:
Peter A. Levine Ph.D.
Author:
Gabor Mate, M.D.
Subject:
Psychopathology - Addiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social Work
Subject:
Substance Abuse & Addictions - Drug Dependence
Subject:
Substance-Related Disorders -- physiopathology.
Subject:
Behavior, Addictive -- psychology.
Subject:
General Health & Fitness
Subject:
Drug Dependence
Subject:
Recovery and Addiction - General
Subject:
addiction;psychology;drugs;non-fiction;health;vancouver;canada;treatment;mental health
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
11 BandW PHOTOGRAPHS
Pages:
520
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 1.775 lb

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Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
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History and Social Science » Politics » General

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Used Trade Paper
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$12.50 In Stock
Product details 520 pages North Atlantic Books - English 9781556438806 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Based on Gabor Mate's two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver's skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Mate presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout (and perhaps underpins) our society; not a medical condition distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs (and behaviors) of addiction. Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead promoting a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts argues persuasively against contemporary health, social, and criminal justice policies toward addiction and those impacted by it. The mix of personal stories--including the author's candid discussion of his own high-status addictive tendencies--and science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals.

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