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Drug addiction: Nothing is addictive by itself

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Drug Prevention | ©: - Fotolia

When a person has embarked on a "drug career," the drug itself is often blamed. A Canadian doctor sees it differently and turns the typical image of drug addiction on its head. It is the temptation, the snake in paradise, but is that really so?

Gabor Maté, born in Hungary in 1944 and emigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of 12, first graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and completed a medical degree in general medicine at the same university in 1977. He then worked for more than 20 years in his own practice and in hospitals, primarily in East Vancouver and the Vancouver neighborhood with the highest crime rate. Over the years, Maté specialized in treating drug addicts, and his years of practice provided him with essential insights into how drug careers are formed.

Mate published four books, including: "When the Body Says No. How hidden stress makes you sick - and what you can do about it."

In this book, he describes, among other things, that negative childhood experiences (Adverse Childhood Experience) not only increase the risk of disease but also the risk of becoming addicted enormously. He highlights six such negative childhood experiences that increase the risk of disease or drug addiction later in life by about 4600%.

  1. Basic needs are not satisfied

    No, the latest iPhone is not a basic need. But security, love, protection and enough to eat and drink are.

  2. Love is linked with conditions

    When children feel that they are only loved when they obey and not for their own sake.

  3. Overprotective parents

    Taking away all personal responsibility from a child often means raising them to be a scaredy-cat who uses drugs to get courage.

  4. No room for fantasy

    If free play is suppressed and imagination is not allowed to run its course, what remains, in the end, is tedium and mental boredom, which is bridged with drugs.

  5. Constantly subject children to the performance principle

    A study shows that among good students, the regular use of drugs is expected. Childhood is dominated by market value and competitiveness.

  6. Parents' fear of failure

    Quite a few parents are afraid that their child will fail and be seen as a failure in the child’s upbringing. This results in excessive control of the child, with the focus on performance. This narrow focus leads to dependent, often meaningless behavior, which is countered with drugs and its colorful and exciting world.

    Consequently, it is not alcohol, cigarettes, narcotics or playing cards that make a person addicted. They are only a means to an end. This does not negate the classic model for the development of addiction, the TRIAS model. Addiction develops through the triangle of person, social environment, and an addictive substance in the TRIAS model. The first two vertices of TRIAS, person and social environment, contain adverse childhood experiences. All that remains is choosing the addictive substance, usually alcohol, since it is legal, cheap, and available everywhere.

    The precursors of addiction are usually found in a well-intentioned but wrong upbringing.

2 (Podcast) Videos with Gabor Maté

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