In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
Based on Gabor Matés two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouvers skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach.
Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout 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 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 storiesincluding the authors candid discussion of his own high-status addictive tendenciesand science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals.
In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts Close Encounters With Addiction
Gabor Maté, PUBLISHER Knopf Canada, 2775 Matheson Blvd E, Mississauga, ON ML4W 4P7, TELEPHONE 905 624-0672, FAX 905 624-6217, WEBSITEwww.randomhouse.ca, 2008/480 pp/$34.95
STRENGTHS Personal and patient stories interwoven with the neurophysiologic, philosophic, and sociopolitical edges of addiction
WEAKNESSES Continual shifting from sedating physiologic discussions to riveting clinical scenarios
AUDIENCE Physicians, addiction workers, and politicians
Gabor Maté works with heavily addicted patients in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside. He learned much about himself from this authorship. He discovers his own addictive tendencies by defining addiction as a continuum that extends from the disheveled street person using injectable drugswhom we might avoid on street cornersto the well-dressed, successful workaholic, like a physician, who is addicted to recognition, fame, and self-promotion. Addiction arises near our emotional core, and Maté holds up a stark mirror, challenging many comfortable pew perspectives.
The book is an excellent scientific and personal read, and a solid starting point to developing an informed perspective on addiction.
College of Family Physicians of Canada