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Current Drug Abuse Reviews


ISSN (Print): 1874-4737
ISSN (Online): 1874-4745

BOOK REVIEW of “Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs:A Positive Approach to Mood Alteration”by Harvey B. Milkman & Stanley G. Sunderwirth

Author(s): Joris C. Verster

Volume 3 , Issue 1 , 2010

Page: [63 - 63] Pages: 1

DOI: 10.2174/1874473711003010063

Price: $58


The desire to feel good is an important motivation for human behavior. Happy people have better health perspectives, live longer, and report a higher quality of life. Although happiness can be established in a healthy way, people are also easily tempted by unhealthy pleasures. CRAVING FOR ECSTASY AND NATURAL HIGHS: A POSITIVE APPROACH TO MOOD ALTERATION by Harvey B. Milkman and Stanley G. Sunderwirth is an outstanding book on the universal desire to feel good, and ways to manage this desire. It describes the biological, psychological and social pathways to pleasure, but also the risk of dependence and addiction that may be the outcome of these unhealthy behaviors. Besides the more usual forms of addiction to alcohol and drugs of abuse, the authors also describe other addictive behaviors such as those related to eating behavior, sex, gambling, and the internet. The authors approach to mood alteration is indeed a positive one: achieving happiness throughout the lifespan is very important, but we should aim at “natural highs”, seeking healthy means for feeling good. In a balanced way, Milkman and Sunderwirth answer a variety of questions such as “Should I try ecstasy?” or “Does dieting work?” As opposed to most books on addiction, the authors offer a range of alternatives for unhealthy behaviors. Readers will gain insight in addictive behaviors of themselves and others who may have lost control in their pursuit of pleasure. The book ends with a Personal Pleasure Inventory that can be completed by readers who wish to become more mindful of the activities and experiences that are likely to promote their natural highs.

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