In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate, M.D.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

byGabor Mate, M.D.

Kobo ebook | April 3, 2009

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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.

Title:In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with AddictionFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 3, 2009Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307371735

ISBN - 13:9780307371737

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good insights I worried that this book would be too technical, or too medical, but it was really good. You come away with a new, better understanding of addiction, and certainly more empathy for addicts. A good read for anyone wanting to understand addiction. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! In the opening chapters of the book Maté does a great job of humanizing his subjects and makes it easy to apply what you read in later chapters to human behaviour. This book was thought provoking and compelling and if you're thinking of changing some habits/behaviours/additions this book will be very helpful.
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought-provoking The book is incredibly thought-provoking! I very much enjoyed how the book delves not only into the lives of mental health professionals but into the lives of those struggling with crippling addictions. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in mental health and addiction.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Honest, raw, incredible. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a book that is informative, and entirely human. One of my degrees is in criminology (with focus on mental health and drug rehabilitation), and I could not put this book down. I come back to this book time and time again (some of the science-based portions of the book were harder for me to understand), and it will always have a spot on my shelf.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing I love this book...really makes you see it from both sides.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All time favourite I continue to come back to this book after having read it many times. I credit Dr. Mate for igniting my interest in addictions as a student, and I am now working in the field. Would recommend to anyone; from practitioners, to family members and substance users themselves. Dr. Mate is able to eloquently bring a human and empathetic side to the oftentimes horrific side of addiction.
Date published: 2017-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book A good book, though I am skeptical about the comparison of classical music addiction and alcohol/ drug addiction.
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read This really gives you the insight into the struggles of addiction.
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! I love how in-depth this book is into the real life of someone with an addiction. It is very informative and interesting as well. Great for professionals and non-professionals.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read I loved how real this book was. It showed a real picture of the struggles of addiction.
Date published: 2017-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Read This is a wonderful book to help with understanding the addicted mind. The author is knowledgeable and empathetic which is what is sorely needed in his line of work. Great book
Date published: 2017-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Essential read for counsellors-in-training or those interested and/or working in the field of addiction.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts One f the best books I have ever read in non fiction
Date published: 2014-03-27
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