In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Hardcover – Feb 12 2008
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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
Praise for Hold on to Your Kids:
“Maté has expressed [Neufeld’s] ideas in precise and hard-hitting prose that makes complex ideas accessible without dumbing them down. The result is a book that grabs hard.”
Praise for When the Body Says No:
“When Maté witnesses and testifies to human suffering, including his own, he is compassionate and compelling.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Written with clarity and compassion. . . . The book’s characteristics seem to describe Maté himself: armed with knowledge and straight from the heart.”
“[An] enthralling exploration. . . . Maté probes deeply into the life histories and psyches of [his] many patients. . . . What emerges is nothing short of a revelation.”
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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
An amazing and sad view into the lives of addicts! It is told very well by Mate, having first hand knowledge.Published 19 days ago by Deborah Boomer
It can get a bit clinical at times, but if you have an understanding of brain chemistry this is a good read.Published 22 days ago by Brendan Lusk
A MUST read to understand addictions and why people remain addictedPublished 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
I didn't like the perspective this book was written from. I found it had many triggers in it. I am not sure how a true addict could read it and not be triggered to use to be... Read morePublished 2 months ago by kat kazakoff
If you have ever been effected by addiction yourself or have a family member that had this is a must read!! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tyler&Amanda