Episode 35: "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Mate (Psychology Book Club Conversation)


This week's episode is a recording of the Psychology Book Club's discussion of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Dr Gabor Mate.We discuss various parts of the book, including Dr Mate's view about the root causes of addictive behaviour, how many people are addicts in plain sight, the difference between illegal and socially acceptable addictions, and why Dr Mate doesn't advocate abstinence as the cure for addiction.Here's the Amazon description of the book:"Based on Gabor Maté’s two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver’s skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout (and perhaps underpins) our society; not a medical "condition" distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs (and behaviors) of addiction. Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead promoting a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts argues persuasively against contemporary health, social, and criminal justice policies toward addiction and those impacted by it. The mix of personal stories—including the author’s candid discussion of his own "high-status" addictive tendencies—and science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals."I personally found this book incredibly informative and insightful. If you're interested in the topic of addiction, I highly recommend it.The book club will be meeting next in September, when we'll be talking about How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen. We'd love you to join us, so click here to RSVP!

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