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Close Encounters with Addiction: A Book Review of Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction – by Dr. Gabor Maté

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We’ve reviewed books by Dr. Maté before, and this one’s about addiction. We’ve reviewed books about addiction before too, so what makes this one different?

Wow, is this one so different. Most books about addiction are about “beating” it. Stop drinking, quit sugar, etc. And, that’s all well and good. It is definitely good to do those things. But this one’s about understanding it, deeply. Because, as Dr. Maté makes very clear, “there, but for the grace of epigenetics and environmental factors, go we”.

Indeed, most of us will have addictions; they’re (happily) just not too problematic for most of us, being either substances that are not too harmful (e.g. coffee), or behavioral addictions that aren’t terribly impacting our lives (e.g. Dr. Maté’s compulsion to keep buying more classical music, which he then tries to hide from his wife).

The book does also cover a lot of much more serious addictions, the kind that have ruined lives, and the kind that definitely didn’t need to, if people had been given the right kind of help—instead of, all too often, they got the opposite.

Perhaps the greatest value of this book is that; understanding what creates addiction in the first place, what maintains it, and what help people actually need.

Bottom line: if you’d like more insight into the human aspect of addiction without getting remotely wishy-washy, this book is probably the best one out there.

Click here to check out In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, and learn about this much-misunderstood health condition!

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