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The Heart of Addiction. A New Approach to Understanding and Treating Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors.
By Lance Dodes, MD
In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Dodes – a true pioneer in the treatment of addictions – explains for the first time why patients with addictive behaviors continue to repeat them in the face of their dire consequences, and offers a new treatment approach that works. Looking beyond pat ideas about the cause of addictions, such as “alcoholism is a disease,” he has found that virtually every addictive act is preceded by a sense of helplessness, and that addictive behavior functions to repair this underlying feeling. As a consequence, the critical moment in addictions is NOT when a person experiences the effects of a drug, but is the moment he or she makes the decision to perform the addictive act. The new awareness of how addictions work also opens up the way to understand what drives addictive acts, why they occur when they do, and what can be done about them. As Dr. Dodes states, “No addiction is fundamentally motivated by a search for pleasure.”
The book also examines the relative roles of physical, genetic and psychological factors in addiction, explains in detail the difference between abuse and addiction (non-addiction bases of abusive behavior), and explores the relationship of addictions to compulsions, the mechanism of action and limitations of 12- step programs, and many myths of addiction. Separate chapters discuss special issues of teens, couples, compulsive gambling, and sexual addiction. Filled with fascinating case stories, the book shows us repeatedly that addiction is more than an uncontrollable desire for substances or an activity; it is a behavior pattern with understandable emotional roots. The Heart of Addiction is that rare find: a book that offers truly new and useful knowledge while being a pleasure to read.