In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

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In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

by Gabor Mate

Knopf Canada | January 6, 2009 | Trade Paperback

In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction is rated 4.8333 out of 5 by 6.

In this timely and profoundly original book, writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of various addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and outlines what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold. Starting with a dramatically close view of Maté''s drug addicted patients, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts weaves in stories of real people while providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting-edge scientific findings. A haunting, compassionate and deeply personal examination of the nature of addiction.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 9 × 5.96 × 1.03 in

Published: January 6, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676977413

ISBN - 13: 9780676977417

Found in: Health and Well Being

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book Very good book, well written and very thoughtful.
Date published: 2011-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nothing Short of Breathtaking! Can't wait to see Dr. Maté speak in October! What an incredibly talented, insightful, and gifted soul. I can't say enough about his work. This book is a real eye opener, written beautifully it is truly a gift to the unfortunate reality of the society in which we live.
Date published: 2011-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent read For anyone struggling with addiction or living with a family member or friend with addiction, this is a must read. Dr. Mate writes in such a way that anyone can relate to and understand the material. I teach at the college level and have used it as a resource on many occasions. So much of what he writes can be applied to so many people in today's society, not only those "addicts" we all think about when we hear the addiction. A very powerful book.
Date published: 2011-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive, compelling, and very readable Read this book, and you will come away with a comprehensive understanding of addiction. Passionately illuminated by the life stories of some of the homeless inhabitants of Vancouver's infamous lower East Side, Dr. Mate embarks on a thorough explanation of the root causes of addiction, including the effects of early childhood stress & trauma on brain development. The section on neurobiochemical mechanisms behind addictions may be tough slugging for those without scientific backgrounds (and can be skimmed over or skipped without losing the flow of the book), but the information offered is current in this rapidly-developing field of research. The more esoteric discussions are always punctuated with poignant vignettes from the lives of patients or the personal challenges faced by the author himself. The manuscript finishes up with a very insightful discussion of the societal and political landscape surrounding addictions, how modern western society puts more folks at risk of dependence and sabotages recovery. leading some of us to a life of hopelessness. Dr. Mate's discussion of the futility and wastefulness inherent in the "war on drugs" alone is worth the price of this book. Heartily recommended!
Date published: 2010-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful This book was an eye opener for me. It enabled me to have a much clearer understanding of addictions and addicts. Some chapters in the book were rather technical for me but overall, the book was a very interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone who's life is touched by addictions or addicts.
Date published: 2009-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very good overview I teach about addiction and recovery to families as part of my job, and I found this book an excellent guide for anyone who wants to understand addiction and the difficulties of recovery. It is very current and thorough.
Date published: 2009-08-31

– More About This Product –

In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

by Gabor Mate

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 9 × 5.96 × 1.03 in

Published: January 6, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676977413

ISBN - 13: 9780676977417

Read from the Book

The mandala, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, revolves through six realms. Each realm is populated by characters representing aspects of human ­existence–­our various ways of being. In the Beast Realm we are driven by basic survival instincts and appetites such as physical hunger and sexuality, what Freud called the id. The denizens of the Hell Realm are trapped in states of unbearable rage and anxiety. In the God Realm we transcend our troubles and our egos through sensual, aesthetic or religious experience, but only temporarily and in ignorance of spiritual truth. Even this enviable state is tinged with loss and ­suffering. The inhabitants of the Hungry Ghost Realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated, empty bellies. This is the domain of addiction, where we constantly seek something outside ourselves to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfillment. The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects or pursuits we hope will soothe it are not what we really need. We don’t know what we need, and so long as we stay in the hungry ghost mode, we’ll never know. We haunt our lives without being fully ­present. Some people dwell much of their lives in one realm or another. Many of us move back and forth between them, perhaps through all of them in the course of a single ­day. My medical work with drug addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has given me a u
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Table of Contents

Author’s Note Hungry Ghosts: The Realm of Addiction PART I: HELLBOUND TRAIN 1.The Only Home He’s Ever Had 2.The Lethal Hold of Drugs 3.The Keys of Paradise 4.You Wouldn’t Believe My Life Story 5.Angela’s Grandfather 6.Pregnancy Journal 7.Beethoven’s Birth Room 8.There’s Got to Be Some Light PART II: PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF 9.Takes One to Know One 10.Twelve-Step Journal PART III: A DIFFERENT STATE: THE ADDICTED BRAIN 11.What Is Addiction? 12.From Vietnam to “Rat Park” 13.A Different State of the Brain 14.Through a Needle, a Warm Soft Hug 15.Cocaine, Dopamine and Candy Bars 16.Like a Child Not Released PART IV: HOW THE ADDICTED BRAIN DEVELOPS 17.Their Brains Never Had a Chance 18.Trauma, Stress and the Biology of Addiction 19.It’s Not in the Genes PART V: THE ADDICTION PROCESS AND THE ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY 20.“A Void I’ll Do Anything to Avoid” 21.Too Much Time on External Things 22.Poor Substitutes For Love PART VI: IMAGINING A HUMANE REALITY: BEYOND THE WAR ON DRUGS 23.Dislocation and the Social Roots of Addiction 24.Know Thine Enemy 25.A Failed War 26.Freedom of Choice and the Choice of Freedom 27.Imagining an Enlightened Social Policy on Drugs 28.A Necessary Small Step: Harm Reduction PART VII: THE ECOLOGY OF HEALING 29.The Power of Compassionate Curiosity 30.The Internal Climate 31.The Four Steps, Plus One 32.Sobriety and the External Milieu 33.A Word to Families, Friends and Caregivers 34.There Is Noth
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From the Publisher

In this timely and profoundly original book, writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of various addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and outlines what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold. Starting with a dramatically close view of Maté''s drug addicted patients, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts weaves in stories of real people while providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting-edge scientific findings. A haunting, compassionate and deeply personal examination of the nature of addiction.

From the Jacket

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


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

GABOR MATÉ, MD, is the author of the bestselling books Scattered Minds and When the Body Says No--published in nearly twenty languages on five continents--and co-author, with Gordon Neufeld, of Hold On To Your Kids. Former medical columnist for the Globe and Mail where his byline continues to be seen on issues of health and parenting, Dr. Maté has had a family practice, worked as a palliative care physician and, most recently, with the addicted men and women in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Editorial Reviews

"A harrowingly honest, compassionate, sometimes angry look at addiction and the people whose lives have been disordered by it."
—Ottawa Citizen

"Maté does a great service by forcing us to confront the us-and-them mentality that drives the get-tough responses to addiction.... I highly recommend Hungry Ghosts to everyone seeking insight into addiction."
—The Vancouver Sun

"Excellent.... One of the book''s strengths is Maté''s detailed and compassionate characterization of the afflicted addicts he treats, but this is not just a memoir. Rather, using his own experience as well as the most advanced recent research, he attempts to delineate the closely interrelated psychological, social, and neurological dimensions of addiction.... A calm, unjudging, compassionate attentiveness to what is happening within."
—The Walrus
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