What do you think about addiction? Canadian physician Gabor Mate believes that we need to rethink our approach to the treatment of addicts.
The addiction expert and successful author is known for his work on the mental health of substance abusers in downtown Vancouver, the most concentrated area of drug use in North America.
In 2018, he was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest civil decoration in the country, for his work.
The basis of his belief is that all addiction It is rooted in trauma: "If we know how to recognize what a trauma is," he says.
These are five phrases of Dr. Mate about how we have not managed to understand the problem.
one. We are not treating the real cause
If you want to investigate what causes an addiction, you should look at the benefits of addiction: what does it do to you?
People say, in general, "(addiction) relieves pain, makes me escape stress, gives me a sense of connection, a sense of control, a meaning, makes me feel alive, stimulates me, gives me vitality … "
In other words, addiction satisfies an essential human need that otherwise would not be present in that person's life.
All these states, of lack of connection, of feeling isolated or having a lot of stress in your life, They are states of emotional pain.
So my mantra about addiction is not "why addiction?" if not "Why the hurt?".
When you look at populations of addicts, what you find is that the more adversity during childhood, the greater the exponential risk of addiction.
Addiction is always rooted in trauma and childhood adversity, which does not mean that all traumatized people will become addicted, but yes it means that each addict was traumatized.
Addiction treatment requires a lot of compassion, a lot of help, a lot of understanding, and not severe consequences, punitive measures or ostracism.
You would think that with the absolute failure of most treatment modalities we should have already woken up and ask ourselves: "Do we really understand the disorder?"
But that does not happen often in the medical world.
We are not looking at your real nature as an answer tol human suffering.
We are not helping people work to solve their trauma. The average medical student (in the United States) does not receive any kind of emotional trauma.
We keep asking "what's wrong with you?", Instead of asking "what happened to you?"
2. Addiction is not a choice
The other myth about addiction is that it is a choice that people make.
The entire legal system is based on the idea that people are choosing to be addicted, so let's punish them for it, to deter others.
No one I know woke up one morning and said: "My ambition is to become addicted."
Addiction is not a choice that someone makes, It is a response to emotional pain.
And nobody chooses to suffer.
3. Addiction is not genetic
One of the biggest myths of addiction is that it is genetic.
Yes, it appears in families. But why does it appear in families?
If I am an alcoholic and I shout at my children and they grow up calming down with alcohol, did I inherit that genetically?
Or is it a behavior that they developed because I reI produced the same conditions that when I was growing up?
So something that appears in families says nothing about genetic causes.
There may be genetic predispositions, but a predisposition is not the same as a predetermination. It does not mean that you are genetically programmed to be an addict.
Four. Addiction is widespread
The other myth is that addiction is restricted to the user of substances or to a few losers in our society.
This is widespread and rampant in our culture.
When I look at this society at almost every level I see so many addictions, so many compulsions, and not only that, I also see an entire economy based on feeding those addictions.
5. You can be addicted to (virtually anything) … even classical music
In my opinion, addiction manifests itself in any behavior that a person finds temporarily pleasant or with which he feels relief, and therefore feels anxiety for him, but suffers negative consequences as a result of it and does not give up on it, or cannot give up, despite those negative consequences.
This may include drugs, tobacco, alcoholic substances of all kinds.
It can also be linked to sex, play, shopping, work, political power, internet games … virtually any activity that can be addictive, depending on your relationship to it.
As long as there is craving and relief, with long-term negative consequences, and difficulties in giving it up, There is an addiction.
I have had two great addictions. One went to work, which meant that I ignored my own needs and the needs of my family to pursue success and job satisfaction.
Workaholism was rooted in a deep unconscious feeling that I was not good enough, that I had to continue proving myself and also an unconscious belief that I was not loved and desired.
The world then reward you for being a workaholic what do you knowcrifica.
I also had a shopping addiction, in my case of classical music CDs. One day I spent $ 8,000 on compact discs.
My addiction was not to music, I did love music, but what I was addicted to was shopping.
No matter how many symphonies he had of a particular composer, he had to have another and another.
Being a prey to shopping fever, I once left one of my patients in labor and I went downtown to get a record and lost my birth. In that degree it had an impact on me.
Now I could laugh at you, how can I compare that addiction with that of a patient addicted to heroin?
But my own addicted patients, when I tell them about my addictions, don't laugh.
They affirm with the head and say: "yes doctor, we understand it, you are the same as the rest of us".
The point is, we are all equal to the rest.
Work artneistic Evan/ easyanimal
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