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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Hardcover – Feb 12 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; 1 edition (Feb. 12 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676977405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676977400
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.4 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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

Review

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.”
Edmonton Journal

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.”
Georgia Straight

“[An] enthralling exploration. . . . Maté probes deeply into the life histories and psyches of [his] many patients. . . . What emerges is nothing short of a revelation.”
Edmonton Journal

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let's take a look into who we are, pain is self medicated by many means. Survival is savage and cruel in this part of Vancouver. He tells is like it is. If you have a family member or a friend with addictions, this book is for you to read first. As a nurse this raw side of life, it changes you deeply. As a security guard working in and around them, I understand better. Yet, the former soldier who saw death up close and personal, fighting demons of a past that will not let go, I see now how life could have turned out, and lack of coping skills would have lead me if I had given up.

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.
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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing! Will never look at addiction the same way. I recommended this book to a friend who is an alcoholic. She told me it helped her understand why she drinks more than any counselling ever did! Worth a read for anyone!
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Format: Paperback
What can be said that has not already been stated, Dr. Mate won awards for this book and with good reason. It is so comprehensive, honest and fair. I recommend it for anyone who has drug/alcohol addicted family or friends. I am so grateful someone recommended it to me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best description of a "non drug" addiction I have read. Going to be useful as we accept as a society that Internet addiction is real and interventions will need evidence based support. Core content for addiction experts.
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