Unbroken Brain – a review

  Unbroken Brain

(A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction)

Author: Naia Szalavitz

Almost everyone I know has a family member – or is themselves – suffering from addiction of one kind or another.  When I started reading Unbroken Brain, I felt instant relief, for instead of therapy or compulsion, Szalavitz defines addiction as a developmental disorder; i.e., a learning disorder.  Written with elegance and frankness, Szalavitz offers her own history with addictions inside her fact finding and she offers sound information about managing addiction.  With self-exposure, statistics, and solid scientific information, Szalavitz controls the conversation as she explains addiction as a misunderstood coping mechanism rather than a vice or a Twelve Step dilemma.  As a journalist, Szalavitz delivers facts that are understandable and comprehensive.

Personally I was totally immersed in Unbroken Brain as it made utter sense to me.  Treatment today has been ineffective, because addictions like alcohol, drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, the internet, relationships, are being treated with old and unfounded ideology and treatments that do not work.

“Challenging both the idea of the addict’s “broken Brain” and the notion of a simple “addictive personality”, Unbroken Brain offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addictions are learning disorders and shows how seeing the condition in this manner 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.”

As Szalavitz discusses family, history, peers, culture, chemicals and other things, she describes what addiction is comprised of and how a different approach is workable.

Creative, innovative and absolutely convincing, Unbroken Brain left me with hope for my own addictions and the addictions of my friends and family members in a book that is unputdownable, as it reads like a novel. Everyone should update themselves by reading Unbroken Brain.

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