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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Paperback – Jan 6 2009
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He would probably dispute it, but Gabor Maté is something of a compassion machine. Diligently treating the drug addicts of Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside with sympathy in his heart and legislative reform in mind can't be easy. But Maté never judges. His book is a powerful call-to-arms, both for the decriminalization of drugs and for a more sympathetic and informed view of addiction. As Maté observes, "Those whom we dismiss as 'junkies' are not creatures from a different world, only men and women mired at the extreme end of a continuum on which, here or there, all of us might well locate ourselves." In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts begins by introducing us to many of Dr. Maté's most dire patients who steal, cheat, sell sex, and otherwise harm themselves for their next hit. Maté looks to the root causes of addiction, applying a clinical and psychological view to the physical manifestation and offering some enlightening answers for why people inflict such catastrophe on themselves.Finally, he takes aim at the hugely ineffectual, largely U.S.-led War on Drugs (and its worldwide followers), challenging the wisdom of fighting drugs instead of aiding the addicts, and showing how controversial measures such as safe injection sites are measurably more successful at reducing drug-related crime and the spread of disease than anything most major governments have going. It's not easy reading, but we ignore his arguments at our peril. When it comes to combating the drug trade and the ravages of addiction, society can use all the help it can get. --Kim Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A harrowingly honest, compassionate, sometimes angry look at addiction and the people whose lives have been disordered by it."
"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."
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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
Thank you Dr. Mate for sharing the painful truth from this perspective. Looking from the outside in, others have no idea what it is all about.
Most recent customer reviews
My wife's a fan of Dr Mate, and she loves this book. Happy wife, happy life.Published 26 days ago by Adrian singh
What can I say? I adore Gabor Mate's words and his dedication to furthering humane, dignified and human-centered treatment, even in a society that seems entirely antithetical to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sparky
This was a great audio book. I have both a hard copy and the audio CD.
Dr. Gabor's books are worth having. Very insightful!
I recommend this book!
Great book into the reality of substance issues in Vancouver Easy side. It brings a good prospective from the service provider's point of view, and to see the substance affected... Read morePublished 4 months ago by PL
Came fast. I needed it for a class but I didn't particularly like the book.Published 5 months ago by Danielle
Very happy with book and for the first time ordering from Amazon, I'm very impressed!Published 7 months ago by Barbara Starr
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