Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction

Unbroken Brain A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to or recovering from addiction whether it be alcohol or drugs prescription meds sex gambling porn or the internet But despite the unpre

  • Title: Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction
  • Author: Maia Szalavitz
  • ISBN: 9781250055828
  • Page: 397
  • Format: Hardcover
  • More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to, or recovering from, addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the internet But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and in equally outdated treatment.ChaMore people than ever before see themselves as addicted to, or recovering from, addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the internet But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and in equally outdated treatment.Challenging both the idea of the addict s broken brain and the notion of a simple addictive personality, The New York Times Bestseller, Unbroken Brain, offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addictions are learning disorders and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention and policy Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation By illustrating what addiction is, and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery and why there is no addictive personality or single treatment that works for all.Combining Maia Szalavitz s personal story with a distillation of than 25 years of science and research, Unbroken Brain provides a paradigm shifting approach to thinking about addiction.Her writings on radical addiction therapies have been featured in The Washington Post, Vice Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, in addition to multiple other publications She has been interviewed about her book on many radio shows including Fresh Air with Terry Gross and The Brian Lehrer show.

    • Best Read [Maia Szalavitz] ☆ Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction || [Biography Book] PDF ✓
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    About “Maia Szalavitz

    • Maia Szalavitz

      Maia Szalavitz is an award winning author and journalist who covers addiction and neuroscience Her next book, Unbroken Brain St Martins, April, 2016 , uses her own story of recovery from heroin and cocaine addiction to explore how reframing addiction as a developmental disorder could revolutionize prevention, treatment and policy.She s the author or co author of six previous books, including the bestselling The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog Basic, 2007 and Born for Love Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered Morrow, 2010 , both with leading child psychiatrist and trauma expert Bruce D Perry, MD, PhD.Her book, Help at Any Cost How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, is the first history of systemic abuse in tough love programs and rehabs and helped spur Congressional hearings, GAO investigations and proposed legislation to regulate these groups She also co wrote the first evidence based consumer guide to addiction treatment, Recovery Options The Complete Guide, with Joe Volpicelli, MD, PhD Wiley, 2000.Currently, she writes a bi weekly column for VICE on drugs and addiction From 2010 to 2013, she wrote daily for TIME and she continues to freelance there and for other publications including the New York Times, Scientific American Mind, Nature, New York Magazine online, Pacific Standard, Matter, Nautilus, and The Verge Szalavitz has won major awards from organizations like the American Psychological Association, the Drug Policy Alliance and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in recognition of her work in these areas.She lives in New York with her husband and a Siamese shelter cat.



    772 thoughts on “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction

    • addiction is not a sin or a choice. But it's not a chronic, progressive brain disease like Alzheimer's either. Instead, addiction is developmental disorder—a problem involving timing and learning, more similar to autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia than it is to mumps or cancer.The phone rang during a station identification break. Caller ID was enough. I answered, saying, "I know. I'm listening. My mind is blown." It was early July and journalist-advocate Maia [...]


    • As a recovery advocate and the father of someone in long-term recovery, I've read more books about addiction than I can count. When my son first started struggling with drugs, I made a vow to educate myself as much as I possibly could. Knowledge is power, and I wanted to know everything about addiction. I still do. So I read about it. A lot. And I can honestly say that Maia Szalavitz's Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction is one of the best books I've ever read on t [...]


    • DNF. I am an attorney working in juvenile court with parents whose children have been removed by the state. As you can imagine, drugs are involved in the majority (but not all) of the cases I handle. I spend a lot of time with addicts. I also spend a lot of time taking continuing legal education sessions with experts in drug abuse, child abuse, psychology, and other areas of study that are of interest to someone who works in fields like mine. I work closely with rehab counselors, rehab centers, [...]


    • I took a long break from this book after getting to chapter 9 and her repeated mentions to her first experience with cocaine being with Jerry Garcia. I was extremely (maybe to the extent of going a bit overboard) vexed by what I perceived as name-dropping and bragging in conjunction with drug use. At the time, I probably needed a target for some anger, and this was an easy one. I am glad I went back to reading this. It has insights into addiction that I found personally helpful. I can truthfully [...]


    • Because I'm a substance abuse counselor, people have often asked me to recommend a book about addiction. For thirty years, the only one I ever urged people to read has been the Big Book of AA, written eighty years ago, when we knew next to nothing about addiction. I’ll get into the reason why I recommended it in a minute. I’m happy to say that now there’s a better book for anyone interested in learning about addiction, drawing on the latest findings, written by an award winning journalist [...]


    • I learned a thing or two from this book, but I'd hesitate to recommend it. I do believe it adds value to our public discourse about addiction. Ms Szalavitz describes her own addiction and recovery with clarity and insight. She paints a mostly accurate picture of the blind spots and pitfalls of our punitive drug policies. She offers a constructive critique of our society's overreliance on 12-step programs. She sheds light on neurological insights that can help us better understand, prevent, and a [...]


    • My review for The Associated Press:Nancy Reagan's death last month caused some to take stock of her mantra "Just Say No" and why it failed to prevent addiction or dissuade many young people in the 1980s from experimenting with dangerous drugs.In "Unbroken Brain," science writer Maia Szalavitz, a high school student in the Reagan years, describes her own drug odyssey — LSD, cocaine, heroin — and her first steps toward successful recovery at age 23 in 1988. Since then, understanding addiction [...]


    • I'm stuck on my rating for this book. I wanted to give it a higher rating, and I like a lot of the theories and explanations here.However, there are a lot of opposing views in the material itself ("it's a learning disorder. Well Except for when it changes the brain". Which, if it does that, means it can't solely be a learning disorder, as one example).I also think the sections on marijuana and criminal justice were clearly very one-sided, and didn't highlight any of the potential concerns. It's [...]


    • While I enjoyed her personal anecdotes, the lack of citations supporting her assertions leads me to consider this a memoir and not a revolutionary new way of understanding addiction.


    • I think this is a brilliant book, highly intelligent and well presented, too. I think everyone should really pick it up and give it a read because we all know someone who struggles with addiction. It gave me an entirely new perspective on the issue!Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this title to facilitate review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.


    • Ever time I picked it up, I wondered why I set it aside. Everytime I set it aside, I wondered why I picked it up?The story is interesting, but it seems bland? Seems overdone.


    • This book discusses some very interesting and eye-opening aspects of addiction, neurochemistry, and learning/environment. I found myself, at several points in the reading, listing the people in my life I think would be intrigued by the connections and observations Maia has made. I think it's a great book, and will likely buy it just so I can loan it out and refer to it later. While Szalavitz may be making claims about the nature of addiction that are new or counter to what most believe, it disti [...]


    • An extremely well-done meta-analysis of the research to date on addiction and drug use. Szalavitz argues that addiction is better understood as a learning disorder than "either a disease model of complete slavery to drugs or a moral model of completely free choice." She discusses the history, nature and biology of addiction and delves into which types of treatment tend to be successful versus those that are ineffective. She also offers an overview of different drug policies throughout the world, [...]


    • I absolutely devoured this book. I read it or listened to it as the situation allowed, and could not put it down. The subject matter and its degree of novelty to me made it irresistible.The structure of the book centers around the author's own story of recovery from intravenous drug abuse and advocates a huge overhaul of drug policies by beginning with the understanding that addiction is primarily a learning disorder. In order to build her case, the author sums up research in the nature of addic [...]


    • This books was long and detailed with a drug addicts' recollections of childhood and beyond; creating a long list of not so perfect incidences that led to her addiction. Frankly, I lost interest in the story and was troubled by the enormous lack of footnoting. For instance making the following claims as fact needs a lot of footnoting to corroborate the information: "Surprisingly, only 10-20% of those who even try the most stigmatized drugs like heroin, crack, and methamphetamine become addicted[ [...]


    • Not sure there was anything revolutionary about her discoveries or introducing the concept that addiction is a learning disorder I think the idea that the causes and treatment for addiction are complicated and there is no single cause or cure for addiction has been covered and is widely not something that most experts can agree on today.Brain disorder/moral failing/disease/choice/ spiritual disease/lack of discipline, it all plays in and everyone responds to different treatment and some not at a [...]


    • Wow! This is one heck of a study on addiction. Most of it I got, but there were times when the author had me in the weeds. Looking at addiction using different models was not new to me, but the author develops the learning model more than I had seen before.I learned a lot from this book, but I don't recommend it to people just starting to deal with addiction. Some base level knowledge of the 12 Step Model and the Disease Model is important to understanding the book. I have dealt with my son's ad [...]


    • Not sure I learned anything new or revolutionary from this. Some interesting facts, but I don't see what the connection is still to learning. I already get that addiction is a learned behavior, but I don't feel like she makes a clear enough case about why in the book. Certain chapters confused me too (love & addiction) and I'm not sure the case for neurodiversity is clear either, although I am advocate for such beliefs and the language. I would love to know more about correlation between men [...]


    • I've been reading a ton of addiction-related literature within the past four yearsis book is possibly the best I've encountered thus far. From the author's fresh perspective on the nature of addiction, to what can possibly be done to change our relationship, as a nation and globally, to drugs and those who choose to use them, to her own experiences as a user-dealer-perpetratoris tome was chock full of useful, hopeful, timely and necessary information. Highly recommended, along with "The Big Fix: [...]


    • Absolutely brilliant! Validating, compassionate and truly "a revolutionary new way of understanding addiction." I will be applying Maia's clearly articulated findings and insight to my work. Treat everyone with respect and compassion, build on their strengths and encourage them, celebrating each and every victory!!! Unconditional support! Meet people where they are at! Yes! There are too many beautiful concepts to mention here, but I will be using this book as the foundation for my practice and [...]


    • Heard about this book while driving and listening to NPR and from Huffington Post. I've always been interested in learning differences and autism, so wanted to read this book suggesting that "addiction is a developmental disorder--a problem involving timing and learning, more similar to autism, ADHD, and dyslexia than it is to cancere addicted brain has simply undergone a different course of developmentdiction is a wiring difference, not necessarily a destruction of tissue." It is an interesting [...]



    • Another great book about addiction in 2016 (the other one I read was Chasing the Scream). I marked lots of pages in this one. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:Addiction is not created simply by exposure to drugs, nor is it the inevitable outcome of having a certain personality type or genetic background, though these factors pay a role. Instead, addiction is a learned relationship between the timing and pattern of the exposure to substances or other potentially addictive experiences and a p [...]


    • How many more books like this will it take before we, as a society, begin to change our beliefs and practices about addiction? Clearly, and unfortunately for us all, if you read through the many reviews already posted about this book, it will require many more books and a lot more than books, though it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is our current systems that are broken, not the brains of the addicted. The “more we understand that addiction is a learning disorder and that drug us [...]



    • I read this book because many close relatives have been addicted to one substance or another. For myself, it’s sugar, and that’s been bad enough. My addicted relatives have suffered and lost much more than I ever did. Now that our grandchildren are growing up, I want to learn as much as I can about addiction from a scientific perspective. In 1985, I had an experience that convinced me that I know something about how people get hooked. That year, I got salmonella. I didn’t feel very sick at [...]


    • Probably the best non-academic, non-fiction book about addiction since Gabor Mate's "Hungry Ghosts" classic. This is good research, obviously but intelligently biased by the author's own experience of addiction, that looks deeply at trying to re-understand substance use as a learning/developmental disorder. This main thesis is certainly valid and obviously useful, and her insight into what this means about how we have been treating addictions both systematically (globally, nationally, legally, e [...]


    • This is an important book which should be read by anyone interested in the latest research on addiction. I not only learned a tremendous amount but also experienced a shift in my viewpoint. Szalavitz is an excellent non-fiction writer who can take complicated neuroscience and make it comprehensible to the lay person. She hasn't just assembled a lot of facts. She's gone a step further and has formulated a well-supported prescription for the medical and societal response to addiction. I first hear [...]


    • This book is truly an achievement. Using good research and data, alongside her own personal story, Szalavitz makes the case for how we should categorize addiction (her argument: alongside development disorders such as autism, ADHD, and schizophrenia) and, ultimately, how we should treat it.The last 20% or so of this tome is comprised of her well-researched, well-considered policy recommendations. That's what I came to this book for, and it did not disappoint. I struggle greatly with the ultra-li [...]


    • A thought provoking book on a very complex subject . The author does a nice job weaving her personal story of addiction recovery into the book; however she loses credibility in the sweeping generalizations and glancing references to neuroscience research that she projects from her own story . Additionally , A lot of her commentary about addiction treatment and recovery references experience and research of the 1980s which also correspond with the timeframe of her recovery . In fact I needed to c [...]


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