In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Close Encounters With Addiction

Book - 2008
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In this timely and profoundly original new book, bestselling writer and physician Gabor Mate 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 Mate 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. Mate'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. Mate 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. Mate 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 DowntownEastside 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
Publisher: Toronto, ON : Knopf Canada : 2008
ISBN: 9780676977400
Branch Call Number: 616.8584 MAT 2008
Characteristics: 465 pages illus


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Dec 05, 2018

Not just a book about addiction, but an examination of how human beings deal with trauma and also how we interact with reality. He examines what happens when we stop coping and functioning within reality and start trying to numb or remove ourselves from our own consciousness.

Aug 25, 2018

I first read this book whilst completing my degree is nursing. It gives a powerful, raw approach to the real life struggles of the addict and their disease. Well worth the read to gain a better understanding of the lives of addicts (of any social status) and the ways in which we as humans should approach any persons which addictions.

Dec 24, 2017

Such an awesome book!

Jan 30, 2017

Twice while reading this book, I was asked why I would be interested in a book about addiction. Because my brother told me I should, is the first reason, but not a very compelling answer. But more than that, reading a book about a condition that affects us all, in one way or another, is an act of humanitarian compassion. In order to operate in our fragmented society, we must build connections to people who function with various degrees of addiction and impairment. Understanding the common roots of addiction (across substances, habits and behaviors) makes it possible to see the layers of brokenness and dysfunction created by our misguided societies, and to walk forth with compassion.

Jul 06, 2016

A profoundly impactful book that has forced me to change how I asses those who suffer from addiction.In the age of hyperbolic slogans and simple solutions, Dr.Gabor Mate steps above the fray.His integration of material science and the probing of the human psyche under distress is truly enlightening.In The Realm of Hungry Ghost is more then just an excellent investigation of addiction and trauma , it can provide the intellectual roadmap for addicts and their loved ones to understand how they got into this dire state and it can provide the first steps towards the promise land of redemption.

May 29, 2015

I wonder where sharpie3 got his or her experience to wrte such a scathing report on this excellent bok.It is one thing to demean someones effort. It should carry the responsibility to come up with a better recommendation. A applaud Dr. mate's effort to improve our understanding of the defamed group of the addicts and homeless.

Feb 12, 2015

Gabor Mate has devoted great effort towards his ulterior motive which is to browbeat the world community into actively being co-dependents of addicts. Not only is all of humanity to refrain from being intolerant of addicts but all are to elevate substance abusers to the realm beyond ordinary human inadequacies. All are to willingly adopt the role of enabler to addicts. Of course, Mate's abundant wealth depends upon a continuing supply of addicts. How else would he spend $8000 per month on compact discs?

This book should not only be read by all, it should be taught as a special socio-political studies course to teenaged children. This would enable them to learn how propaganda is constructed upon a few facts, some partial truths, and numerous beliefs, myths and biases, all strung together by faulty analysis which results in conclusions that bear of hallmark of self-righteousness and self-serving preaching, with a complete whitewash of truth.

ktnv Oct 09, 2013

Excellent book, well worth the read for anyone interested in having a deeper understanding of addiction. Check out the TED talk under video.

Mar 21, 2013

A MUST READ! Thank you Dr. Mate for your honesty, passion, kindness and a super human heart.

Jan 02, 2013

The best book i've read regarding addiction/self-help.

I've read a lot of em too, as a recovered addict and former member of the 12-step community.

This book begins to explain it all, mostly, and in a compassionate understanding way. If we weren't so addicted to being right and ideology this book view could be the basis of all public policy on addiction recovery/treatment. Until then we are all stuck in a downward spiral.

Dr Mate has some very great YouTube speeches from various sources as well!! tedx in rio being just one short one. check em out!!

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Aug 25, 2018

Mbussey thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Aug 25, 2018

“We see that substance addictions are only one specific form of blind attachment to harmful ways of being, yet we condemn the addict's stubborn refusal to give up something deleterious to his life or to the life of others. Why do we despise, ostracize and punish the drug addict, when as a social collective, we share the same blindness and engage in the same rationalizations?”


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