Quick Review: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts – Gabor Maté on Addiction

Book Review

Dr. Gabor Maté is specialized in the study and treatment of addiction. His book offers portraits of his patient lives, stories about his own addictive behaviors, it examines the causes behind addiction and it breaks down the path to recovery.
He opposes the weight that’s been put on the genetic component of addiction and points at stresses in early childhood (even pre-natal stresses) as the main risk factor. He is a big proponent of more compassion in society’s view of addicts and explains the futility of the “war on drugs”.

Video Review:

Video review of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate

Notes & Highlights

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children” -Our unfinished emotional business becomes theirs.

📝 Addiction = Fear of emptiness.

📝 Proximal separation: Physically there but mentally absent when parenting. Children experiencing this look to use external couping mechanisms like thumb sucking or tuning out. These kids have great chances of seeking refuge in drugs later on in life.

📝 Gabors recommends the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the book Rosenberg’s book “Non-violent Communication” (I just got it!)

📝 Circumstances for brain development differs. Some have had positive experiences that others have been deprived of. Think about this before you judge.

📝 Parents, and mothers in particular, are getting less and less of the suppport they need during their children’s early years. This is a cultural breakdown of cataclysmical scale. Therefore the raise in adhd.

📝 “All problems are psychological, but all solutions are spiritual”

📝 “Only healthy nurturing relationships with adults will prevent kids from getting lost in the peer world. A loss of orientation that leads rapidly to drug use.”


Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

My struggles have been with nicotine and refined carbohydrates. What’s your addictions? 🤔😀


An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction!

PS: The audiobook version of this book is excellent!

Ps 2: counseling can be a good thing for mental struggles!

Upcoming Reads:

Right now I’m reading Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty together with my wife. If you can’t wait for the review then you can check out BookGeeks wonderful write-up about it in the meantime.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List
Video Reviews every week on YouTube

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