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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté, MD
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Close Encounters with Addiction

$28.50

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Narrator Daniel Maté
Length 16 hours 18 minutes
Language English
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Summary

In this timely and profoundly original new book, bestselling writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold on our emotions and behaviours.

For over seven years Gabor Maté has been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. His patients are challenged by life-threatening drug addictions, mental illness, Hepatitis C or HIV and, in many cases, all four. But if Dr. Maté’s patients are at the far end of the spectrum, there are many others among us who are also struggling with addictions. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, work, food, sex, gambling and excessive inappropriate spending: what is amiss with our lives that we seek such self-destructive ways to comfort ourselves? And why is it so difficult to stop these habits, even as they threaten our health, jeopardize our relationships and corrode our lives?

Beginning with a dramatically close view of his drug addicted patients, Dr. Maté looks at his own history of compulsive behaviour. He weaves the stories of real people who have struggled with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. Providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting edge scientific findings, Dr. Maté sheds light on this most puzzling of human frailties. He proposes a compassionate approach to helping drug addicts and, for the many behaviour addicts among us, to addressing the void addiction is meant to fill.

I believe there is one addiction process, whether it manifests in the lethal substance dependencies of my Downtown Eastside patients, the frantic self-soothing of overeaters or shopaholics, the obsessions of gamblers, sexaholics and compulsive internet users, or in the socially acceptable and even admired behaviours of the workaholic. Drug addicts are often dismissed and discounted as unworthy of empathy and respect. In telling their stories my intent is to help their voices to be heard and to shed light on the origins and nature of their ill-fated struggle to overcome suffering through substance use. Both in their flaws and their virtues they share much in common with the society that ostracizes them. If they have chosen a path to nowhere, they still have much to teach the rest of us. In the dark mirror of their lives we can trace outlines of our own.
from In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

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Reviews

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Winner of the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

"Enormously compelling . . . and Maté, as noted, is admirably, sometimes inexplicably, empathetic to all who cross his path." —Toronto Star

"A harrowingly honest, compassionate, sometimes angry look at addiction and the people whose lives have been disordered by it." —Ottawa Citizen

"An insightful, multilayered discussion of the nature of addiction generally, and our society's epidemic of addictions in particular." —The Globe and Mail   

“A nuanced and complex meditation on what opium-eaterThomasde Quincy called the ‘abiding darkness’. . . . A powerful and compassionatework.” —NOW

"Maté does a great service by forcing us to confront the us-and-them mentality that drives the get-tough responses to addiction. . . . I highly recommend Hungry Ghosts to everyone seeking insight into addiction." The Vancouver Sun

"Excellent.... One of the book's strengths is Maté's detailed and compassionate characterization of the afflicted addicts he treats, but this is not just a memoir. Rather, using his own experience as well as the most advanced recent research, he attempts to delineate the closely interrelated psychological, social, and neurological dimensions of addiction. . . . A calm, unjudging, compassionate attentiveness to what is happening within." —The Walrus

"It's compulsively readable and packed with new scientific discoveries about addiction." —The Georgia Straight

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