In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Close Encounters With Addiction

Streaming Audiobook - 2010
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Winner of the 2009 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. From street-dwelling drug addicts to high-functioning workaholics, the continuum of addiction cuts a wide and painful swath through our culture. Blending first-person accounts, riveting case studies, cutting-edge research and passionate argument, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction takes a panoramic yet highly intimate look at this widespread and perplexing human ailment. Countering prevailing notions of addiction as either a genetic disease or an individual moral failure, Dr. Gabor Mate presents an eloquent case that addiction - all addiction - is in fact a case of human development gone askew. Dr. Mate, who for twelve years practiced medicine in Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside - North America's most concentrated area of drug use, begins by telling the stories of his patients, who, in their destitution and uniformly tragic histories, represent one extreme of the addictive spectrum. With his trademark compassion and unflinching narrative eye, he brings to life their ill-fated and mostly misunderstood struggle for relief or escape, through substance use, from the pain that has tormented them since childhood. He also shows how the behavioural addictions of society's more fortunate members - including himself - differ only in degree of severity from the drug habits of his Downtown Eastside patients, and how in reality there is only one addiction process, its core objective being the self-soothing of deep-seated fears and discomforts. Turning to the neurobiological roots of addiction, Dr. Mate presents an astonishing array of scientific evidence showing conclusively that: addictive tendencies arise in the parts of our brains governing some of our most basic and life-sustaining needs and functions: incentive and motivation, physical and emotional pain relief, the regulation of stress, and the capacity to feel and receive love; these brain circuits develop, or don't develop, largely under the influence of the nurturing environment in early life, and that therefore addiction represents a failure of these crucial systems to mature in the way nature intended; and the human brain continues to develop new circuitry throughout the lifespan, including well into adulthood, giving new hope for people mired in addictive patterns. Dr. Mate then examines the current mainstream.
Publisher: [United States] : Post Hypnotic Press : Made available through hoopla, 2010
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781926910734
Branch Call Number: E-AUDIOBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (15hr., 45 min.)) : digital


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Oct 04, 2014

Gabot Mate, physician @ inner-city clinic in Vancouver BC serving a largely indigent & addicted population, tries to explain their experience of addication largely through his own struggles. At first, it feels really stilted; he compares hard drug addiction among his patients to his own fixation w/ buying classical music. If you've listened/watched Weird Al Yancovik's song First World Problems, it fits that mold. When he talks about missing a patient delivering her baby because he slipped out during contractions to buy music and didn't make it back in time, he gains some traction. The book shifted my view of addiction. Mate describes patients w/ insight (the anti-semite Neo-Nazi from Austria who is quick to acknowledge that he doesn't really believe it and it's scapeg-goating) and stories too horrific to tell (i.e., they're too horrific to tell--I'm not telling them). It ended up being a strong enough book to warrant a second read.


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