As a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school, Carl Erik Fisher came face to face with his own addiction crisis, one that nearly cost him everything. Here, he investigates the history of this age-old condition.
Humans have struggled to define, treat, and control addictive behaviour for most of recorded history, including well before the advent of modern science and medicine. The Urge is a rich, sweeping history that probes not only medicine and science but also literature, religion, philosophy, and sociology, illuminating the extent to which the story of addiction has persistently reflected broader questions of what it means to be human and care for one another.
Fisher introduces us to the people who have endeavoured to address this complex condition through the ages: physicians and politicians, activists and artists, researchers and writers, and of course the legions of people who have struggled with their own addictions. He also examines the treatments and strategies that have produced hope and relief.
The Urge is at once an eye-opening history of ideas, a riveting personal story of addiction and recovery, and a clinician's urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced, and compassionate view of one of society's most intractable challenges.