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Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb [Paperback]

By Archibald Hart (Author)
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Item description for Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb by Archibald Hart...

Backed by recent brain-imaging research, Dr. Hart shares that to some extent, the pursuit of extreme and overstimulating thrills hijacks peoples pleasure systems and robs them of their ability to experience pleasure in simple things.

Publishers Description

A fascinating exploration of the profound loss of pleasure in our daily lives and the seven steps for restoring it.

Pleasure. We know what it feels like and many of us spend our days trying to experience it. But can too much pleasure actually be bad for us? Yes, says Dr. Archibald Hart, clinical psychologist and expert in behavorial psychology. Backed by recent brain-imaging research, Dr. Hart shares that to some extent, our pursuit of extreme and overstimulating thrills hijacks our pleasure system and robs us of our ability to experience pleasure in simple things. We are literally being thrilled to death.

In this insightful book, Dr. Hart explores the stark rise in a phenomenon known as anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure or happiness. Previously linked only to serious emotional disorders, anhedonia is now seen as a contributing factor in depression (specifically nonsadness depression) and in the growing number of people who complain of profound boredom. This emotional numbness and loss of joy are results of the overuse of our brain's pleasure circuits. In Thrilled to Death, Dr. Hart explains the processes of the brain's pleasure center, the damaging trends of overindulgence and overstimulation, the signs and problems of anhedonia, and the seven important steps we must take to recover our wonderful joy in living.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb by Archibald Hart has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Christian Retailing - 10/08/2007 page 17

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Thomas Nelson
Pages   270
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 2, 2007
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0849918529  
ISBN13  9780849918520  
UPC  023755027528  

Availability  0 units.

More About Archibald Hart

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Dr. Hart is a professional psychologist, a prolific writer and well-known speaker. He covers different topics including the treatment of panic attacks and depression as well as stress.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > General
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > Happiness
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Inspirational

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Self Help

Reviews - What do customers think about Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb?

Now I know why Laura Ingalls could be thrilled by a corn cob doll...  Mar 17, 2009
Ever feel overstimulated - like if the power went off and all the batteries ran out, it wouldn't be the worst thing? Then you can relate to the premise of Thrilled to Death:. Dr. Hart puts words to what nags at the back of the mind, that constant entertainment causes a general dulling of the ability to experience pleasure in kids and adults alike. The book's not preachy, but is scientifically supported. Now I finally know why Laura Ingalls could be thrilled by a corn cob doll when it takes a new episode of The Office to do the same for me. Have no fear, Dr. Hart doesn't leave us hanging, he gives suggestions on how to be able to enjoy the simple things once again.
Great Book  Oct 21, 2008
This is an important book, by a distinguished scholar. Everyone should read this book. It is extremely well written, clear and easy to understand, despite the neuroscience. The message is convincing -- we are thrilling ourselves to death, wearing out the pleasure circuits in the brain with more and more stimulation, and ruining our potential for happiness for years to come, maybe forever. We need to get back to the little pleasures in life.
Excellent Book!  Jul 1, 2008
Dr. Hart's book is brilliant on how we are abusing the pleasure center with all our multi-tasking. Every parent needs to read this book and see what is happening to our generation. He is years ahead of his time with his research and many books will follow this theory.
Better than I expected  Oct 9, 2007
Thrilled to Death
By Dr. Archibald D. Hart

Dr. Hart explains anhedonia as the reduced ability to experience
pleasure. The lack of the ability to experience pleasure affects every
aspect of our lives: sexuality, addictions, relationships,
spirituality... He shares how the fast paced lives we live and the
increasing numbers of electronic gadgets we use in our day to day
lives rob us of the ability to feel pleasure and cause us to feel numb
to everything except the most extreme pleasure eliciting activities.
Where as in the past anhedonia was only seen in clients with major
depression or other severe mental illnesses it is more and more common
to see it as the illness and not just a symptom.

Dr. Hart shows in several simple diagrams how the feeling of pleasure
is lost as anhedonia develops due to over stimulation and a flooding
of dopamines which raises the threshold barrier that enjoyment must
cross in order to reach the pleasure center of the brain, requiring
major pleasures which are commonly found in drugs and other addicting
behaviors to cross the high threshold. This brings to mind an often
quoted "law" stated in my family home the "law of diminishing returns"
which in simple terms is the fact that the first candy bar always
taste far better than the 2nd, 5th, 10th... I wonder if this could be
attributed to the pleasure center's threshold being raised by each
successive candy bar eaten. As more is learned about our brains and
how they work is discovered and researched it is becoming apparent
that the ability to feel pleasure and feelings of happiness with your
life are closely intertwined.

I found it useful and insightful that Dr. Hart included many self
tests: stress level, internet addiction, test for anhedonia, laughter,
anhedonia in children, multitasking addiction, emotional eating... To
help the reader gauge where they fall in needing to put the second
half of the book to use in their life where Dr. Hart gives seven steps
in the recovery process of being able to experience pleasure even in
life's smallest pleasure giving moments.

The seven steps are: 1. Seek the right form of pleasure 2. Recapture
the joy of little things 3. Control your adrenaline 4. Use humor to
enhance your happiness 5. Develop appreciation and gratitude 6. Master
relaxation and meditation 7. Make space for things that matter.

If you or someone you love has been experiencing a lack of feelings
towards things that used to give you pleasure or you find in general
you feel numb much of the time this is the book you are looking for
although you might not have known it. I especially think it would be a
helpful read for parents as they evaluate what is important in their
children's lives to keep and what to opt out of for the health of
their children and themselves.

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