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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts Audiobook

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

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Publisher's Summary

Profoundly original, best-selling writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them, and details what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold on our emotions and behaviors. Gabor Maté is a 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 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?

Starting with a close view of his drug-addicted patients, Dr. Maté looks at his own history of compulsive behavior, weaving a story of real people who struggle with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. In 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 behavior 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

©2009 Gabor Maté (P)2011 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

What the Critics Say

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  •  
    Will Walker 06-08-15
    Will Walker 06-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent, heart-expanding encounter with the roots of addiction"

    As someone new to the medical field, I found myself working every day in hospital wards filled disproportionately with people in the grips of addiction, which is comorbid with, and predisposes to, conditions as diverse as depression, ADD, HIV, cancer, and disastrous bacterial infections. I saw how strong the tendency is for health care workers to get angry at these patients, judge them, dismiss them, give up on them. This book helped me open my heart more to these difficult patients by explaining the epidemiology and brain science behind addiction. I think understanding the sources and experience of addiction better can help anyone work with their own addictions or those of another with greater clarity and compassion. Strongly recommended for physicians, nurses, medical students, and other practitioners and trainees in any medical field.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Eleanor 12-05-12
    Eleanor 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A powerful voice for humane treatment of drug user"

    The descriptions of his patients are heart-rending, but powerful in the compassion he brings to his work. I think his scientific ideas -- that relatively mild traumas (like your mom being stressed out) during pregnancy and infancy will give you an addictive personality -- are half-baked at best and basically amount to saying that all of us are prone to addictive or compulsive behaviors. I also found his assertion that addiction did not exist before the Renaissance to be pretty odd. It was disappointing to have someone who is trying to advocate for harm reduction, a policy that is both compassionate and evidence-based, making so fast and loose with the evidence.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    Kalutha Everett, WA United States 03-26-13
    Kalutha Everett, WA United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Top-notch Overview of Addiction"

    If you are only going to listen to one audiobook on addiction, this is the one I would recommend. The scientific information on the addictive process and brain chemistry is accurate, up-to-date, and explained in a very clear manner without being "dumbed-down." The author, a physician who works with addicts, alternates between stories of the individuals with whom he works and the brain science information, in a way that enhances the educational aspect of the book. The narrator, the author's son, has a pleasant voice that is easy to listen to. I found myself wanting to listen to this one hour after another, which I wouldn't have expected from a book dealing with such an intense subject. I will probably purchase the print version so that I can refer to the information about the brain science, but I'm glad I listened to it first, because I was able to absorb the information in an entertaining manner. I would recommend this book to anyone, even those who think they already know a lot about the subject. There's a lot of misinformation out there about this subject, and this author really knows his stuff.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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    Anonymous 07-12-17
    07-12-17
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    "Canadian Addiction Information book"

    I loved the voice of the reader! I learned a lot from this book about Canadian, from a Canadian doctor which is awesome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Webalon 06-23-17
    Webalon 06-23-17
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    "very insightful"

    A very comprehensive and compassionate study of the psychology of the addict and addiction written by an expert and recovering addict working in the front lines. Helped along by outstanding narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Gold New York, NY United States 05-16-17
    M. Gold New York, NY United States 05-16-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Eye opening"

    Not just about addiction, but really about life and how we have learned to live it. Inspiring shift in ways we see our own and others behaviors. Highly recommended!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    mindy 05-04-17
    mindy 05-04-17
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    "phenomenal"

    this book and theroies are absolutley phenomenal. I can't sat enough good about it. I would recommend it to anyone in the field of addiction or to the person looking to better understand themselves and their addiction!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Memi Israel 04-29-17
    Memi Israel 04-29-17 Member Since 2017
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    "For the Addiciton enthusiast"
    Would you listen to In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts again? Why?

    I found the book to be a great source of information in understanding the biology of addiction and increasing one's empathy toward addicts. I LOVED the narration by Daniel Mate' and I found the extremely humanitarian approach by Dr. Mate' to be of a great inspiration to me. I will definitely listen again to understand the mechanics of the biological process.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts?

    The biological explanation


    Have you listened to any of Daniel Maté’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't but I should, He's fabulous


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teasa Martinez 04-11-17
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    "Wow"

    This book was absolutely amazing and I will listen to it again. More then worth a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Kirk S. Johnson Black Hawk, CO, US 04-05-17
    Kirk S. Johnson Black Hawk, CO, US 04-05-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Incredible works"

    As a professional in this field I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Mate's wisdom, knowledge, and fresh perspective in this vast field.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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