Addiction is one of the most perplexing and challenging of human habits. Why do some people become addicted to drugs, to alcohol, to gambling, to sexual activity, to tobacco, to overeating, to overspending? And why is it that we seek such destructive ways to comfort ourselves?
And why is it so difficult to stop these habits, even as they threaten our health, jeopardize our relationships and corrode our spirits?
For more than 10 years Gabor Mate, M.D., was been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver, British Columbia. His patients are challenged by life-threatening drug addictions, mental illness, Hepatitis C or HIV -- and in many cases all four together. He is gradually becoming well known as he shares his view of why addictive behaviors are so stimulating to the brain: they relieve emotional suffering.
In this video, he explains beautifully how addictions are related to how the brain develops and why and how the drugs of abuse offer so much vitality and excitement, even to our detriment.
Countering prevailing notions of addiction as a genetic disease or an individual moral failure, Maté presents an eloquent case that addiction – all addiction – is in fact a case of human development gone askew, the importance of a non-stressed nurturing parent and the reality of trans-generational trauma.
He is the author of the bestselling books Scattered Minds, When the Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress and now In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts - Close Encounters With Addiction.
Watch his long-but-fascinating lecture here as he shares the facts about drugs and how they kill emotional pain, his experiences of working with addicts through the years -- and his own unexpected addictions.