In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté

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Tommi
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté

A friend recommended In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate to me. I was wondering if anyone has read this and what they think of his view of addiction?

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

dan1
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This doctor has a lot of

This doctor has a lot of talks on You Tube about addiction and also about ADD, which he is also diagnosed with. I haven't read his book, but I've watched a bunch of his talks.

My understanding of his view of addiction is that it's basically caused by underlying disorders, mostly childhood trauma--disorders being things like ADD, Bipolar, Clinical Depression and Anxiety disorders, along with the PTSD. And in fact, I think his view is that those disorders can often be traced to childhood traumas.

What do I think? I think that the only severe gaming addicts I've talked to (people who hang around, struggle with relapse and cravings and so on) who haven't told me about traumatic childhoods are the ones who haven't told me anything about their childhoods. In other words, what he says is pretty consistent with what I've experienced in the fellowship. When I look to my left and my right, I see people all over the place with the five conditions I listed above (those are the big 5 according to Mate). And I see people with trauma. Me, I've got 3 of them.

I think he's right that those underlying traumas need to be dealt with. But I don't think that that's enough.

My experience is that we need a lot of help. All kinds of help. Because the damage has been severe First the damage that drove us to the addiction (a hundred different things, a thousand, all stressful and traumatic), then the (spiritual) damage done by the addiction, then the damage done by the excessive gaming itself. My brain has to recover from the constant clicking and eye-twitching and sleep deprivation from the gaming, then recover from the dopamine mess and the spiritual sickness that caused, then recover from the earlier traumas. It's a long hard road. 12 miles into the forest, 12 miles out. Or maybe 100.

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

Tommi
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Thanks Dan, very

Thanks Dan, very interesting. I had a look at the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpHiFqXCYKc&list=PLc05L5Ss4bzz6rAJ9ScRY4AFZX95P5boE

There is an interesting lesson in it that I will post seperately.

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

carols
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HBio was on the site

HBio was on the site yesterday and lost the conversation. Someone posted a site/ sound track on addiction by a Dr. - cant remember his name but it was about addiction. It was in 2 parts. It was Wally good but I deleted it. Can someone post it again?

dan1
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http://olganon.org/?q=node/41

http://olganon.org/?q=node/41106

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

kwejibo
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I actually just finished

I actually just finished reading this book a few days ago! It caught my eye at a bookstore as I'm always on the lookout for new insights into the addictive process.

Dr. Mate developed his ideas from working with the drug addicts in the Vancouver's downtown eastside. He also relays his own addiction: overspending on classical music CDs. His essential idea on the addictive process boils down to traumatic early experiences leading to a dysfunctional emotional regulation system. The addictive substance/behaviour is a way of coping with difficult thoughts/emotions. This is backed up by scientific research showing the altered brain patterns in deprived humans/animals causing them to seek out their addiction of choice.

He doesn't really offer self-help aside from the last few chapters. The book is also a strong challenge to the current 'war on drugs' which has not led to any decrease in drug-related behaviours or crimes. He suggests decriminalization and harm reduction strategies to provide a good environment for recovery. This is all we, as a society, can provide as the real impetus for change must come from within.

I recommend this book. He writes with passion and his patients' stories are deeply moving.

Tommi
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I agree with most of what

I agree with most of what Mate says, with one exception. In his attempt to disprove the addiction as hereditary theories he states that First Nations are susceptible to addiction because Europeans destroyed their culture and hence the ability of mothers to bond with their children. Plausible, but all accounts I have read about early contact with First Nations involving alcohol indicate they were powerless even in their natural environment. Makes me wonder...

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

Lisa3333
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There is a significant

There is a significant amount of science that demonstrated alcoholism is hereditary and similar to diabetes in terms of the exact metabolic deficiency involved, which is why alcoholism is listed not only in the DSM as an addiction but in the AMA as a physical disease. Alot of research is showing other addictions to be hereditary. This one on gambling was a scientific study of over 2000 twins to determine impact of environment versus genetics on gambling addiction. http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/06June/Pages/Gambling-addiction-and-genetics.aspx

The reason I hesitate to ever say addiction is only about childhood trauma or an unhappy environment is that there is a ton of evidence of people who had serious childhood trauma that did not result in them becoming addicts as well as tons of evidence including my own experience where things can be going great but if I pick up alcohol, casino gambling, or gaming, I'm sucked right back into the addiction, so no matter what the past or how good life is going, for me, I have to stay away from these. I have alcoholism and gambling addiction on both sides in my family history and was not necessarily exposed to it. I think it is wise for everyone who has kids or plans on having kids to determine family history of addiction and warn their children of the potential, the same way we would if there was heart problems or diabetes or high blood pressure in the family history.

Hugs, Lisa Video game free since 4/17/2014

kwejibo
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Thanks for your replies! I

Thanks for your replies! I feel I should elaborate on some of the points i brought up. The research certainly shows some genetic/hereditary basis to addiction though its significance is probably closer to 50% than a large majority. There are always exceptions to the rule, the outliers who can triumph or be defeated by their genes and environment. There are people with major trauma who never go down the path of addiction just as there are those with seemingly minor childhood experiences who develop a propensity for addiction.

It's a complex and age-old issue in development, nature vs. nurture. I think Dr. Mate was focusing on the environmental factors as these, not our genes, are the aspects in society we can change to help the affected individual.

Andrew_Doan
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Some genetics,  some

Some genetics, some environmental, some spiritual, some idiopathic add up to about 1 in 10 people are addicts. While genetics play important roles in my life, I am sober now with the same genetics as before. So I think environment plays a bigger role than we would like to admit.

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

Tommi
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I agree with Andy. Whatever

I agree with Andy. Whatever your genetic makeup, changing your environment can play a big role in recovery.

I will never be a rocket scientist, but I can stay sober and be a productive member of society.

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

April_Ryan
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Recently read this book.

Recently read this book. Considering the fact that the author has two decades of experience as a medical doctor in the said field, I tend to agree with his view that "addiction is 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". His first-person accounts are an eye-opener for us. Also, who would have thought that there would be scientific evidence which proves that the human brain continues to develop new circuitry throughout the lifespan, including well into adulthood, giving new hope for people mired in addictive patterns?

Start everyday off with a smile and get it over with.

April_Ryan
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Recently read this book.

Recently read this book. Considering the fact that the author has two decades of experience as a medical doctor in the said field, I tend to agree with his view that "addiction is 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". His first-person accounts are an eye-opener for us. Also, who would have thought that there would be scientific evidence which proves that the human brain continues to develop new circuitry throughout the lifespan, including well into adulthood, giving new hope for people mired in addictive patterns?

Start everyday off with a smile and get it over with.