Dr Gabor Mate on the root cause of all addiction. ‘To understand addiction one must understand pain’

Dr Gabor Mate on the root cause of all addiction.


“All addiction is an escape from pain. All addictions come from emotional loss, and exist to soothe the pain resulting from that loss.”


Maté explains how early neglect or abuse affects a child’s brain development, in particular the system of self-soothing brain chemicals (such as endorphins and serotonin) that help make up a healthy human being.


The neurochemistry of the brain is affected by the environment in early childhood development, and Maté says, “We know that the majority of chronically hardcore substance-dependent adults lived, as infants and children, under conditions of severe adversity… Their predisposition to addiction was programmed in their early years. Their brains never had a chance.”




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