30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Personal, Insightful and Compassionate Study of Addiction
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...
Published on May 4 2008 by Stan The Man
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What delivery?
I am being told by my daughter that this is a very interesting book & she is thoroughly enjoying the read. Reason I am writing a review is that after waiting one month for the book to arrive, it never did (I have since purchased at my local book store)I will say that the supplier of this book had exceptional customer service! - when not rec'd by the "expected" delivery...
Published 17 months ago by book reader
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Personal, Insightful and Compassionate Study of Addiction,
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!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabor Mate is the Dalai Lama of the world of addiction,
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for Solutions,
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.99)
Maté ignores industrial pollution as a cause of cancer and promotes the myth of "the cancer personality" - people who are more likely to get cancer because they repress their emotions, ignore their needs and put others first.
Even if there was evidence to back this myth (which there is not), these characteristics are not individual failings, but behaviors that society demands of all women and that employers demand of all workers.
In Hungry Ghosts, Maté questions why the war on drugs and drug addicts continues despite its total ineffectiveness and considerable harm. He avoids the logical conclusion that this war is not about drugs; it is the means by which the ruling class very effectively justifies its repressive military-prison system.
In all of his books, Maté questions why policy makers consistently ignore the research linking child deprivation and social stress with medical and social problems. He can't answer this question until he acknowledges the impact of class conflict; the ruling class can accumulate capital only by sacrificing the needs of the working class.
Matés books are commercially successful because they tap into popular awareness of social problems while avoiding the uncomfortable conclusion that social revolution is required to solve them.
The result is a liberal version of blaming the victim - society cannot be changed, so the individual must change. This regressive message is more insidious because it is hidden behind a progressive cover.
I recommend these books for the wealth of facts within them. But draw your own conclusions about the solutions we need.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Squeamish,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars New Learning,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)I am almost finished with this book and I found it to be a very enlightening one regarding addictions. Most people I am certain don't have a true idea of what constitues addiction and this certain gives us a basic understanding of how it is acquired and why.
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read!!,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)This is an absolute must-read for anyone with an interest in or curiosity about addiction- health care and social workers, people with addicted/recovering family members, or just anyone interested in the topic, however minimal that interest may be. I wish everyone on earth could read it, actually. Dr Mate seamlessly weaves the personal stories of the addicts he works with in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with the most accurate and up-to-date information in the worlds of neurobiology, psychology and medicine regarding the origins and development of addiction. If you're reading the reviews for this book, you are obviously at least minimally curious. Read it.
4.0 out of 5 stars in the realm of hungry ghosts.,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)I am a parent of a drug addict. I found this book very informative. It helped me understand why addicts knowingly harm themselves consequently making me more compassionate to their afflictions.I would recommend this "read" to parents of young children as I now believe that childhood is when the "addiction seed" is sown and also recommend this book to anyone who cares about "lost souls" who through no fault of their own never stood a chance.....
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)The beginning of the book makes you feel like it is going to be a story of the women's lives downtown Vancouver, but as you read on it gives you a neurological perspective on addiction. It really opens your mind and gets your thinking about addiction as an illness, not a hobbie. I learned soooo much from this book and intend to read it again soon to learn more. Hard read for younger audience as the vocabulary is mature and scientific.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts,
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
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and truthful,
This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)I thoroughly enjoy learning from Gabor Mate. I find "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" a refreshing and truthful perspective on the complexity of addictions. I highly recommend this book because of its depth of knowledge based on a wealth of relevant sources and in particular, profound compassion for the human spirit. A definite must read for folks working in the mental health field or in recovery.
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate M.D. (Paperback - Jan 6 2009)
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