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34 of 34 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

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great first hand accounts, but sadly lacking in scientific rigour
Dr. Mate has a engaging writing style, which makes his first hand accounts of addiction and its consequences so powerful. However, like his other books (e.g., ADHD, anyone looking for scientific evidence on the orgins, mechanisms, or treatment of additions, needs to look elsewhere.

Moreover, there are good first hand autobiographies of individuals with...
Published 8 months ago by B. Keith


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Personal, Insightful and Compassionate Study of Addiction, May 4 2008
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabor Mate is the Dalai Lama of the world of addiction, Jan. 2 2009
By 
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for Solutions, Jan. 18 2011
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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.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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, Aug. 30 2010
By 
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Squeamish, April 21 2013
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful read, Oct. 1 2013
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This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars insightful, June 11 2013
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This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Insight, May 25 2013
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This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
Gabor writes primarily about trauma based addiction with street involved people that he works with in Vancouver lower east side. Excellent insight if you want to learn more about the challenges with addiction with this population.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, April 16 2014
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This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
This is a very well-written book regarding a very interesting topic. Dr. Mate writes in a comprehensive way with a lot of insight in drawing connections to understanding addiction. I'm familiar with the topic already and truly appreciation his awareness of the issue as well as his support of the departure in the old ways of thinking about addiction.

I must also commend Amazon for the extremely quick delivery time. The book came days ahead of when I expected it and as I was off work the day it arrived, it was a very pleasant surprise!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, Nov. 30 2013
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This review is from: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
Addictions is an emotional, controversial area, where there is often a lot of blaming and shaming. This book made me think much more about the issue, and to see persons affected with addictions in a more compassionate way.
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate M.D. (Paperback - Jan. 6 2009)
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