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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Paperback – Jan 6 2009


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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction + When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress + Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (Jan. 6 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676977413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676977417
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Stan The Man on May 4 2008
Format: Hardcover
Believe me, I HAVE read the book; I just don't have the time at the moment to write a detailed review. I'll attempt to do so at a later date.

In my work as a security officer I've worked around the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, with it's attendant social problems: homelessness or grossly inadequate housing, drug addiction, trafficing and human misery.

In part, I read this book in an attempt to understand the environment and circumstances of the people I encountered in my security function; mostly "removal of trespassers from private property".

From reading the book I feel I've acquired a much better understanding of the nature of addiction and the personal and social circumstances that tend to give rise to the condition.

The book deals with the subject in considerable depth, and while written for the lay person, this level of detail is not easily absorbed. It may require more than one, or several readings of certain parts and some reference to source materials to properly "digest" the information.

In order not to deter the potential reader, I should point out that the text is highly readable, in large part due to his very compassionate portrayal of the lives of some of his patients, and his frank admission of his own addictive behaviours, along with his ideas about their causes.

A very worthwhile read!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Patrice Anne Allen on Jan. 2 2009
Format: Hardcover
The experience of reading this book is like being bathed in wisdom and compassion. For a recovering addict like myself, it felt as if I had been given a wonderful gift. It presents a brilliantly clear and comprehensive view of the damaged spirit of the addict, for whom warped brain circuitry combined with emotional misery have reduced them to existing in a living hell. My sincere thanks to Mr. Mate for writing this amazing, sensitive, insightful book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan Rosenthal on Jan. 18 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gabor Matés latest book effectively demolishes the belief that addictions arise from chemical imbalances, genetics, or bad choices.

As in his two previous books, Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder (1999) and When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress (2003), Maté situates human suffering in a social context, inviting a political discussion of how social relations affect human health.

Scattered Minds locates symptoms of ADD in the social neglect of children's needs and concludes,

"What begins as a problem of society and human development has become almost exclusively defined as a medical ailment."

When the Body Says No indicts "industrialized society along the capitalist model" as a source of toxic stress that "escalates as the sense of control diminishes" and causes physical and mental breakdown.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts condemns society for depriving human beings of what they need to thrive and then persecuting and punishing them for using drugs to relieve their pain.

All three books are well-written, engaging and brilliantly expose the fake science that pushes a pill for every ill.

While Maté situates human distress in the social realm, he seeks solutions in the personal realm.

In When the Body Says No the author concludes,

"In numerous studies of cancer, the most consistent identified risk factor is the inability to express emotion, particularly the feelings associated with anger." (p.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frances A. Holodiloff on Aug. 30 2010
Format: Hardcover
As I nurse, I have studied and worked in the field of addictions.
This is by far the best approach I have ever seen to understanding these misunderstood afflictions. Despite recent research, it is still common to "blame the victim". I especially appreciate the author's revelations about his own illness. No "Ivory Tower" preaching, here!
I would love to see Dr. Mate's books become mandatory reading for fledgling medical, nursing, education, law enforcement and sociology students. FAH
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By YVRguy on April 21 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr Mate works in Vancouver Canada downtown east side. I live in Vancouver and know this area as most residents do , as an outsider. The understanding , empathy and recognition Dr Mate writes as he describes some very difficult episodes from long suffering people gives a view of the addict as a human being first and addict second. If you are in recovery or never had any addiction issues in your life , you may find your point of view on the problem and people within addiction changed once you read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jan McAlpine on Oct. 1 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my third copy. I loaned out my other copies and if the reader embraces the book, I tell him or her to keep it. This book has a flow to it and a voice that has allowed me to be more compassionate and non-judgemental. With addictions, we all have our perspectives and opinions on types of people and what to do. This book has helped me to just be with the people I talk to and allow them their voice. I often refer to this book to keep perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Johnson on June 11 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well writen. complex biology causes and effects were described in the fashion that were easier to come for hand for the layman.description of the bridge from addiction its causes and the sense of a lack of control of the attic and the reasons for that I will explain and help provide me a greater level of empathy and insight.for me, the explanation of the cascading chemical effects in the brain and throughout the body was very helpful in understanding the plight of an addict and the endless cycle that they are stuck in. I would recommend this book.
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