Synopses & Reviews
Kyle Keegan was like many teenagers: eager to fit in at school, he experimented with alcohol and drugs. Soon, his abuse of these substances surpassed experimentation and became a ruthless addiction to heroin that nearly destroyed his life.
Now in recovery, Keegan tells his remarkable story in Chasing the High. Starting with the early days of alcohol and drug use, Keegan charts his decline into crime and homelessness as his need for heroin surpassed all thoughts of family and friends, of right and wrong. He then goes on to use these experiences to offer guidance and practical advice to other young people who may be struggling with substance abuse. In straightforward, easy-to-understand language and along with the psychiatric expertise of Howard Moss, MD, Keegan discusses what is known about the neurobiology of addiction in young people, how to seek treatment, and how to get the most out of professional help. He also covers such topics as which therapies are used to combat addiction, how to talk to family and friends about substance abuse, and how to navigate risky situations. Both an absorbing memoir and a useful resource for young people.
Part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written specifically for teens and young adults, Chasing the High is at once both an absorbing memoir and a useful resource. It offers hope to those who are struggling with substance abuse and will help them to overcome its challenges and to go on to lead healthy, productive lives.
"The book provides a wealth of up-to-date information about the neurobiology of addiction and explains why teens are at a higher risk for drug abuse than adults...short excerpts from other addiction memoirs add to Keegan's wrenching story."--Booklist
"Chasing the High is an excellent resource on substance abuse for adolescents and their families. Keegan's personal story captures the experience of addiction and recovery in a compelling manner. The authors even make the neurobiology of addiction clear and accessible. It is difficult to find good resources about addictive drugs for adolescents and this book fills the gap."--Charles Dackis, M.D., Director, Charles O'Brien Center for Addiction Treatment, University of Pennsylvania
"Chasing the High is honest and intense, yet also extremely informative. Kyle Keegan has written a brave cautionary tale that takes his readers deep inside the belly of addiction. This book speaks to anyone who has ever felt the deadly grip of drugs and alcohol take hold, but also to those who have watched someone they love disappear into a dark cloud of chemicals. Bravo to Kyle for having the courage to share his painful and inspiring story with the world."--Lynn Marie Smith, author of Rolling Away: My Agony with Ecstasy
"While the perils of addiction are often lost in detailed data, there remains a lacuna of information on the personal tolls of substance abuse. In Chasing the High we are given an intriguing and very personal snapshot of the initiation, maintenance, and subsequent battling of severe chemical dependency-intermixed with factual and useful information about additions. Along with the author, we experience the tribulations of the addition- from the crashes to the euphoria to the rehabilitation and optimism of experiencing life without drugs. Chasing the High provides a unique inside perspective on addiction that is often lost in academic texts."--Timothy E. Wilens, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
"Chasing the High by Keegan and Moss is wonderful first-hand account of a young person's development with addiction. With powerful descriptions of the events that led to drug use, abuse, and addiction the authors succeed in weaving a primer on addiction within the developing saga. Engaging and easy to read, this book should be an enormous help for those individuals and families struggling with this disorder to understand addiction. Particularly poignant for this researcher is the repeated focus on the "dark side" of addiction. The author states, 'In fact, you're taking drugs now not so much to feel good as to keep from feeling bad.' The authors illustrate so clearly that seeking drugs to fill emotional holes creates even bigger emotional holes that in turn need to be filled. This phenomenon is the core feature of addiction."--George F. Koob, Ph.D., Professor, Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute
About the Author
is a professional diver. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.
Howard B. Moss, MD, is Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health.
Table of Contents
1. Crash and Rescue
Above the city, steeped in misery
Back from the edge
Substance abuse and addiction defined
Addiction is a disease
A hellish journey
2. The Early Days of Using
My not-so-shady past
A forbidden sip
One puff leads to another
My uncertain future
A rite of passage versus the slippery slope to addiction
The ride down that slope
Who becomes addicted, who does not, and why?
3. The Noose Tightens
A moment of truth, and then denial
First shot at detoxification
Learning the life of an addict
Returning to an unfamiliar home
"This is your brain on drugs"
Different types of drugs of abuse
4. Trying to Get Help
Overconfidence and denial: do not mix
A minor arrest
A major arrest
Up, down, up, down-the saga of addiction continues
A crucial turning point
Substance abuse treatment: what to expect
Treatment of co-occurring mental disorders
What does recovery mean for you?
If a relapse occurs
6. Looking Back, Looking Ahead
"Real" recovery is whatever works for us