On Wednesday, November 17th,
Dr. Gabor Maté will discuss his work in addictions with the UBC Learning Circle.
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 behavioural 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.
- What is the source of addictions?
- What happens chemically and physiologically in the brains of people with substance dependency or behaviour addiction?
- The false “blessings” of addiction as experienced by the addict (e.g., as emotional anaesthetic, as personality booster, as social lubricant, and so on;)
- The development of the addicted mind: how early childhood experiences shape the brain;
- The social basis of addiction in economic, cultural and political dislocation and disempowerment;
- How much choice does the addict really have, and how much responsibility?
- Developing a therapeutic relationship in which healing is possible
- How to encourage the addict to take responsibility;
- The prevention of addiction, both in adolescence and before
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, Gabor Maté emigrated to Canada with his family in 1957. After graduating with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and a few years as a high school English and literature teacher, he returned to school to pursue his childhood dream of being a doctor.
Dr. Maté ran a private family practice in East Vancouver for over twenty years. He was also the Medical Coordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital for seven years.
Currently he is the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and resource centre for the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Many of his patients suffer from mental illness, drug addiction and HIV, or all three.
Dr. Maté has had regular medical columns in The Vancouver Sun and the national Globe and Mail.
Widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder, and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health, he is a sought-after speaker and seminar leader on these topics.
He is the author of four books — When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, and Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder. The third book, Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, he co-authored with developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld. Most recently published is In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.
Download Presentation Handout: Nov 17th Dr. Gabor Mate – GHOSTS Handout