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About 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.com 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.
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Books By Maia Szalavitz
"Fascinating and upbeat....Dr. Perry is both a world-class creative scientist and a compassionate therapist." (Mary Pipher, PhD)
How does trauma affect a child's mind--and how can that mind recover? In the classic The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Perry explains what happens to the brains of children exposed to extreme stress and shares their lessons of courage, humanity, and hope. Only when we understand the science of the mind and the power of love and nurturing, can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
The groundbreaking exploration of the power of empathy by renowned child-psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, co-author, with Oprah Winfrey, of What Happened to You?
Born for Love reveals how and why the brain learns to bond with others—and is a stirring call to protect our children from new threats to their capacity to love.
“Empathy, and the ties that bind people into relationships, are key elements of happiness. Born for Love is truly fascinating.” — Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
From birth, when babies' fingers instinctively cling to those of adults, their bodies and brains seek an intimate connection, a bond made possible by empathy—the ability to love and to share the feelings of others.
In this provocative book, psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry and award-winning science journalist Maia Szalavitz interweave research and stories from Perry's practice with cutting-edge scientific studies and historical examples to explain how empathy develops, why it is essential for our development into healthy adults, and how to raise kids with empathy while navigating threats from technological change and other forces in the modern world.
Perry and Szalavitz show that compassion underlies the qualities that make society work—trust, altruism, collaboration, love, charity—and how difficulties related to empathy are key factors in social problems such as war, crime, racism, and mental illness. Even physical health, from infectious diseases to heart attacks, is deeply affected by our human connections to one another.
As Born for Love reveals, recent changes in technology, child-rearing practices, education, and lifestyles are starting to rob children of necessary human contact and deep relationships—the essential foundation for empathy and a caring, healthy society. Sounding an important warning bell, Born for Love offers practical ideas for combating the negative influences of modern life and fostering positive social change to benefit us all.
Brent Jeffs is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the FLDS. The son of a prominent family in the church, Brent could have grown up to have multiple wives of his own and significant power in the 10,000-strong community. But he knew that behind the group’s pious public image—women in chaste dresses carrying babies on their hips—lay a much darker reality. So he walked away, and was the first to file a sexual-abuse lawsuit against his uncle. Now Brent shares his courageous story and that of many other young men who have become “lost boys” when they leave the FLDS, either by choice or by expulsion.
Brent experienced firsthand the absolute power that church leaders wield—the kind of power that corrupts and perverts those who will do anything to maintain it. Once young men no longer belong to the church, they are cast out into a world for which they are utterly unprepared. More often than not, they succumb to the temptations of alcohol and other drugs.
Tragically, Brent lost two of his brothers in this struggle, one to suicide, the other to overdose. In this book he shows that lost boys can triumph and that abuse and trauma can be overcome, and he hopes that readers will be inspired to help former FLDS members find their way in the world.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
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 more 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.
Drug overdoses now kill more Americans annually than guns, cars or breast cancer. But we have tried to solve this national crisis with policies that only made matters worse. In the name of “sending the right message,” we have maximized the spread of infectious disease, torn families apart, incarcerated millions of mostly Black and Brown people—and utterly failed to either prevent addiction or make effective treatment for it widely available.
There is another way, one that is proven to work. However, it runs counter to much of the received wisdom of our criminal and medical industrial complexes. It is called harm reduction. Developed and championed by an outcast group of people who use drugs and by former users and public health geeks, harm reduction offers guidance on how to save lives and improve health. And it provides a way of understanding behavior and culture that has relevance far beyond drugs.
In a spellbinding narrative rooted in an urgent call to action, Undoing Drugs tells the story of how a small group of committed people changed the world, illuminating the power of a great idea. It illustrates how hard it can be to take on widely accepted conventional wisdom—and what is necessary to overcome this resistance. It is also about how personal, direct human connection and kindness can inspire profound transformation. Ultimately, Undoing Drugs offers a path forward—revolutionizing not only the treatment of addiction, but also our treatment of behavioral and societal issues.
Maia Szalavitz's Help at Any Cost is the first in-depth investigation of these tough love programs and their practices, starting with their roots in the cult sixties drug rehabilitation program, Synanon, which remains the model for many of today's adult and teen drug programs.
This book tracks the rise of Straight, Inc., which received Nancy Reagan's seal of approval in the eighties and its spin-offs, explores the ensuing growth of boot camps and wilderness programs, and features an in-depth investigation of one of the dominant chains of the the 90s and 00s, the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP), which is linked with sites still operating today.
Szalavitz uncovers disturbing findings about these programs' methods, including accounts of physical and verbal abuse,
and presents us with moving, often horrifying, first-person testimony of kids who made it through-as well as stories of those who didn't survive. The book also contains a thoughtfully compiled guide for parents, which details effective treatment alternatives.
Weaving careful reporting with astute analysis, Maia Szalavitz has written an important and timely account that will change the way we look at rebellious teens-and the people to whom we entrust them. Help at Any Cost is a vital resource with an urgent message that will draw attention to a compelling issue long overlooked and a history that still shadows youth and adult addiction treatment in America.
"A no-nonsense, state-of-the-art guide."--Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Coming Plague
"Comprehensive, illuminating, easy to read."--William Cope Moyers, Vice President of Public Affairs, Hazelden Foundation
In Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, Joseph Volpicelli, M.D., Ph.D., an award-winning addiction research pioneer, and Maia Szalavitz, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and former addict, provide frank and impartial appraisals of all the major treatment options, including:
* Alcoholics Anonymous
* Moderate drinking programs
* Alternative treatments
* Therapeutic communities
* Cognitive therapies
* Other 12-step programs
* Harm reduction
* How families can help
In Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, you will learn what addictionis--and what it isn't. You will examine both the mechanism of addiction and how you can make the best treatment choices . . . why some people are particularly prone to substance problems . . . and the genetic and learning mechanisms that help create these conditions. You'll explore the various types of treatment and the ideas on which they are based, and find out how effective each treatment is--and which ones are not effective. Finally, you'll find supportive information on staying clean and sober, preventing relapse, and minimizing damage caused by slips that may occur. Featuring the dramatic real-life stories of patients' experiences (both good and bad) with various methods of recovery, this warm, sympathetic, and accessible guide to overcoming alcohol and other drug problems will help you and your loved ones begin the journey away from substance misuse toward a better life.
Mit ihrem New York Times-Bestseller bietet Maia Szalavitz einen Denkansatz, der Sucht völlig neu definiert. Sie widerlegt, dass Süchtige ein "kaputtes Gehirn" oder eine "Suchtpersönlichkeit" haben, und betrachtet Süchte stattdessen als Entwicklungsstörungen.
Indem wir Sucht auf diese Weise betrachten, können wir nicht nur die Fehler herkömmlicher Therapiemethoden erkennen, sondern finden auch bessere Alternativen. Es sind die persönliche Geschichte, die Familie, Freunde, die Kultur sowie Chemikalien in der Umwelt, die eine Sucht auslösen. Wenn wir verstehen, wie diese Faktoren zusammenspielen und die Krankheit ausgelöst haben, liegt darin auch der Schlüssel zur Heilung.
Maia Szalavitz, die früher selbst heroin- und kokainabhängig war, verbindet in ihrem Buch ihre eigenen Erfahrungen mit den Erkenntnissen aus mehr als 20 Jahren Forschung auf dem Gebiet Sucht und Abhängigkeit – eine einzigartige Kombination aus Authentizität und wissenschaftlichem Fachwissen.
El psiquiatra infantil Bruce Perry ha ayudado a muchos niños a superar horrores inimaginables: supervivientes de genocidios, testigos de asesinato, adolescentes secuestrados y víctimas de violencia familiar. Mediante la observación de estas historias de trauma a través de la lente de la ciencia, Perry nos revela la asombrosa capacidad del cerebro para la curación.
Combinando las historias de casos inolvidables con sus propias estrategias de rehabilitación, explica lo que ocurre exactamente en el cerebro de un niño expuesto a un estrés extremo y propone diferentes medidas que se pueden tomar para aliviar su dolor, ayudándole a crecer como un adulto sano.
A través de las historias de niños que se han recuperado física, mental y emocionalmente de las circunstancias más devastadoras, el autor expone cómo las cosas más simples —el entorno, el afecto, el lenguaje, el contacto, etc.— pueden influir profundamente, para bien o para mal, en un cerebro en desarrollo. En este interesante documento, Bruce Perry demuestra que solo cuando entendamos la ciencia de la mente podremos tener la esperanza de curar el espíritu de casi cualquier niño, incluso el más afectado.