For twelve years Dr. Maté was the staff physician at a clinic for drug-addicted people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he worked with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site. This 90-minute recording draws on cutting-edge science to illuminate where and how addictions originate and what they have in common.
In his most recent bestselling book In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, he shows that their addictions do not represent a discrete set of medical disorders; rather, they merely reflect the extreme end of a continuum of addiction, mostly hidden, that runs throughout our society.
Contrary to what is often claimed, the source of addictions is not to be found in genes, but in the early childhood environment where the neurobiology of the brain’s reward pathways develops and the where the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, creates the predisposition for addictions, whether to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or to behavioral addictions such as shopping or sex.
Helping the addicted individual requires that we appreciate the function of the addiction in his or her life. More than a disease, the addiction is a response to a distressing life history and life situation. Once we recognize the roots of addiction and the lack it strives (in vain) to fill, we can develop a compassionate approach toward the addict, one that stands the best chance of restoring him or her to wholeness and health.
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Gabor Maté, MD, is a renowned speaker and bestselling author. Dr. Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development.
His Compassionate Inquiry approach draws from his professional work as a physician as well as his personal experience, having suffered trauma as an infant in Nazi-occupied Hungary, and his adult struggles with behavioral addictions, depression, and an ADHD diagnosis.
As an author, Dr. Maté has written several bestselling books published in more than 20 languages on five continents, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction; When the Body Says No: Exploring The Stress/Disease Connection; and his newest book, The Myth of Normal.
Among other honors, Dr. Maté has received the Hubert Evans Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University, and the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction.
"Trauma is not what happens to us. It’s what happens inside of us as a result of what happens to us.”
The source of addictions
The development of the addicted mind
Developing a therapeutic relationship in which healing occurs
The prevention of addiction, both in adolescence and earlier
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