THE HEART OF ADDICTION: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors

Lance M Dodes, Author HarperCollins $24.95 (272p) ISBN 0-06-019811-7

Dodes, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who has been treating addicts for more than 20 years, makes a cogent case for a new way of looking at addictions. Rejecting many commonly held and rarely questioned beliefs about alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, sexual addictions and eating disorders, he clearly and convincingly explains the errors and limitations of these beliefs, based on firsthand experience. Dodes contends that traditional "one size fits all" treatment methods ignore the key element—or "heart"—of all "true addictions" (witness the low success rate of such programs). In a highly readable style, using many pertinent examples from his practice, he shows that the underlying psychological issue of addiction is always an overwhelming, intolerable feeling of helplessness or powerlessness. While the addictive act is clearly not the best choice for transforming the helpless feeling and providing empowerment, it is always a "displacement," or substitute, for another, more direct and constructive act that is for some reason prohibited. Dodes offers his particular style of psychotherapy to uncover the individual root of such helpless feelings and provide new choices for their reformation. He neglects to mention that insurance companies and government agencies often will not pay for the kind of long-term psychotherapy he recommends, but does suggest that readers can "gain control" over addictions on their own using his approach. Dodes offers an original voice to the recovery field and a fresh look at a formidable problem for individuals, families and society. Agent, John Ware. (Feb. 25)

Forecast:A new take on a hot topic and the author's credentials make this a book to watch for news and public dialogue.

Reviewed on: 02/04/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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