‘Willingness To Be Puzzled’ by Gabor Maté

Dr. Gabor Maté talks about how important it is to be puzzled and to ask the question “what’s really going on here?” rather than assuming that we know all the answers.

Gabor Maté: When The Body Says No – Mind/Body Unity and the Stress-Disease Connection

‘Stress is ubiquitous these days – it plays a role in the workplace, in the home, and virtually everywhere that people interact. It can take a heavy toll unless it is recognized and managed effectively and insightfully.

Western medicine, in theory and practice, tends to treat mind and body as separate entities. This separation, which has always gone against ancient human wisdom, has now been demonstrated by modern science to be not only artificial, but false. The brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal apparatus, the nervous system, and in particular the immune system.

Emotional stress, especially of the hidden kind that people are not aware of, undermines immunity, disrupts the body’s physiological milieu and can prepare the ground for disease. There is strong evidence to suggest that in nearly all chronic conditions, from cancer, ALS, or multiple sclerosis to autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or Alzheimer’s, hidden stress is a major predisposing factor.

Read More ➔

‘Addictions & Corrections’ with Gabor Maté (Part 1of 2)

JUST REALISED – this is my 500th blog on the website!

“What is it that the correctional service actually corrects? In my view very little…and…the justice system is completely criminal and it should be studied…” So begins a provocative presentation by trauma and addiction treatment expert, Gabor Maté, M.D.

You can find Part 2 here.

‘Mental illness, addiction & most chronic physical illness is the result of childhood loss & trauma’ by Monica Cassani

UnknownI love Gabor Maté. He’s one of my favourite people working in the recovery field and you can find a number of blogs referring to his work on this website. And I’m not the only person who loves his work. Here’s the latest blog (slightly modified) from Monica at Beyond Meds.

Here, Gabor Mate tells us the medical profession are the most difficult to speak to about what he’s learned in his work because they don’t recognize that so-called mental illness and most physical chronic illness is the result of childhood loss and trauma.

We don’t need anymore research he says. We know the cause of these issues.

He points out that the barrier to the health professionals is that they’ve not cared for their own trauma. This is clearly true. Many professionals are afraid of their own darkness. This makes it impossible for them to correctly recognize issues in their patients and clients.

Read More ➔

The Roots of Addiction – Dr. Gabor Maté

‘It is critical to understand that although addiction is a problem it is also an attempt to solve a graver problem, that is, unbearable psychic pain. To understand addiction, we need to understand human pain and that takes us to focus on childhood experiences.

One of the outcomes of childhood distress is addiction and the more adversity an individual experiences in his or her childhood the higher their risk of resorting to addictive behaviour to sooth their pain, even temporarily. In other words addiction (alcohol, drugs, shopping, Internet, etc.) is an attempt to seek something from the outside that the individual is not able to generate from within.

What makes childhood experience significant is that the circuitry that modulates the brain’s reward chemicals is underdeveloped in traumatized children thus making them more susceptible to addictive behaviours and conduct disorders.

Read More ➔

‘Our Strange Indifference To Aboriginal Addiction’ by Gabor Maté

imagesHere’s an important blog from one of my favourite writers, Gabor Maté.

‘Marlene, a 46-year old native woman, sat in my office last week, slumped on her chair, blinking away her tears. I’d just shared the news that her most recent blood test confirmed she had “seroconverted” to HIV, become infected with the AIDS virus.

Although an injection drug user, Marlene had always been careful to use clean needles. Her route of infection was sexual contact – with the resigned naiveté characteristic of so many aboriginal women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, she had trusted a man, himself a drug addict, who assured her that he was a safe partner.

Read More ➔

Historical Trauma & the Addiction Reaction: Janet King, Part 1

There is a lot to reflect on in this film clip of the first part of Janet King’s presentation. For those of you who have not heard of  historical trauma, which will probably be the majority of you, I include the following:

“Historical trauma is something that goes from generation to generation as opposed to a personal trauma of a shock, or a breakup, or physical illness, or something else that happens in our lives. This historical trauma is very much steeped in a history of people, and a pattern of demoralization, a pattern of disempowerment that is carried out against a people or one group by another.

…the history of the people or our people, whether it’s the Cherokee Trail of Tears (all the tribes have their Trails of Tears, as we know), boarding school experience, or being taken away from parents, or being beaten regularly because that’s what the school or the religious experience for some might have entailed…

Read More ➔

‘A Celebrity Death, Addiction, and the Media’ by Gabor Mate

rsz_1gabormateabout-330x330One of my favourite people in this field is Gabor Mate from Vancouver, whose book In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts is a classic. Here is the first posting on Gabor’s new blog, well worth a look.

‘It is always big news when a celebrity is stricken dead by a substance overdose. What never makes the news is why such tragedies happen.

The roster of drug- and alcohol-related show-business deaths is ever expanding: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Keith Moon, Kurt Cobain; in the recent past, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston; and, most recently of all, Cory Monteith. A complete list would, of course, include many others.

Read More ➔

Stress, trauma and addiction: the role of society

410dgJSNaQL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_“Addicts are locked into their addiction not only by their painful past and distressing present but equally by their bleak view of the future as well. They cannot envision the real possibility of sobriety, of a life governed by values rather than by immediate survival needs and by desperation to escape physical and mental suffering.

They are unable to develop compassion to wards themselves and their bodies while they are regarded as outcasts, hunted as enemies, and treated like human refuse.

As we have seen, a major factor in addiction that medical and social policies must take into account is stress. If we want to support people’s potential for healthy transformation, we must cease to impose debilitating stress on their already-burdened existence.

Read More ➔

The Power of Addiction and The Addiction of Power: Gabor Maté at TEDxRio+20

“I am not afraid of dying, I am more afraid of living” patient of Gabor Maté in Vancouver.

‘The question we must ask is, ‘Why are people afraid of life?’ If you want to understand addiction, you cannot ask what is wrong with the addiction, you have to look at what is right about it. In other words, what is the person getting from the addiction, what are they getting that they don’t otherwise have?

And what addicts get is relief from pain. What they get is a sense of peace, a sense of control, a sense of calmness. Very, very temporarily, and the question is, ‘Why are these qualities missing from their lives? What happened to them?’

Please check out Gabor Maté’s brilliant book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.