More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to or recovering from addiction, whether it's alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the Internet. But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th-century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and equally outdated treatment.
Challenging both the idea of the addict's "broken brain" and the notion of a simple "addictive personality", Unbroken Brain offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addiction is a learning disorder, and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention, and policy. Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum - and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation. By illustrating what addiction is and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture, and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery - and why there is no "addictive personality" or single treatment that works for all.
Combining Maia Szalavitz's personal story with a distillation of more than 25 years of science and research, Unbroken Brain provides a paradigm-shifting approach to thinking about addiction.
©2016 Maia Szalavitz (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about addiction as a learning disorder. There wasn't much development of this idea to explain more about why it is a learning disorder or how thinking of it that way would change our understanding of it. Instead, the author just asserted it as a basis for a lengthy discussion of the problems with current drug policies and the need for reform. I'm sympathetic to her viewpoint but was disappointed because I have heard these arguments before.
If you or a loved one struggles or has struggled with addiction you owe it to yourself to read this book. The story is incredible but the research and journalism on display are staggering in their completeness and depth of thought. This is one of the most important books I've ever read.
Five stars! The most important book in the history of understanding addiction! Wonderfully narrated and so easy to listen to, this audiobook will help thousands, if not millions, of people suffering from addiction and the family and loved ones of addicts who are struggling to understand addiction! This book is a blessing and a gift to humanity! I can't begin to describe how much this book has touched my life and helped my sobriety! I really enjoyed holding the hardback book and a highlighter while listening to this book on my headphones, highlighting passages I found relevant and really immersing myself in the book! I've listened to and read this book several times, the amount of information and data presented here is astonishing! Thank you, Audible, for making this book available! And thank you, Maia Szalavitz, this book will be the most important book about addiction of the decade, perhaps the century, I believe it is the most profound book dealing with addiction ever written! Marisa Vitali was a PERFECT choice for a narrator and brings each page alive with her inflection and delivery! I recommend this book to anyone struggling with addiction and anyone ready to accept the reality of addiction and how it effects each individual and our society. The conclusion is wonderful and presents several scientific approaches for freeing oneself from addiction! I can't praise this audiobook enough! Thank you again, Audible!
I really like the concept of this book, but there are so many factual errors that I cannot continue to listen to it. I am a behavioral psychologist, and someone in my field should have been asked to proofread this book for accuracy. The author has an interesting idea, but she lacks a clear understanding of the research and concepts in the field of psychology. It is unfortunate that so much myth and misinformation made its way into publication.
I was raised by a raging alcoholic father and a "wire monkey" mother. I've been involved in three interventions. I went to ACA meetings on a weekly basis for ten years. I thought I knew a lot about addiction. I did not.
Extremely educational for people who have little understanding of addiction or that world. This book totally changed my view on so many ideas, and gave me plausible, effective solutions to help my loved ones. I will be reading it again and owning a hard copy.
Interesting theoretical and statistical data, I was expecting something more applicable. Something that would help me take steps for habit change. The book has more to do with drug addiction and how it's poorly handled on a political level. I like that the author wants to see these things change, but it left the book feeling dry and hard to relate to. The person reading aloud was very difficult to connect with because she sounded quite emotionless, however, the book didn't provide much in the way of emotion.
I wish she would have stayed on topic: a new way to think about addiction. In reality she gave us a new way to think about drugs, the drug policy, and a little bit about how brain chemistry as an adolescent can shape your possibility for addiction. She bashes 12-step programs but fails to explain how they either do or do not promote learning. Which would really be the key if addition is a learning disorder.
Only addresses drug addiction and fails to talk about anything else.
Laura in Orange County
This book was critical for me in my work with people with addictions. It validated my instincts about the fundamental need for compassion and understanding in addictions treatment, and also gave me new techniques to use and study further.
I did not expect to like this book, since I worked in drug policy for many years and I wasn't sure her approach would make sense. But listening to it I was completely convinced that the author had some unique and important insights on the whole system of addressing drug use. Highly recommended! Also well read by narrator.
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