Dr. Gabor Mate: Radical Addiction Treatment
True to being a product of the Cultural Revolution, the renowned Dr. Gabor Mate is also a radical in the area of addiction treatment. The Hungarian who immigrated to Canada in post-World War Two, following the Holocaust, pursued his dream of becoming a physician and is more known for the work that he carried out with inner city adolescents at the Palliative Care Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia. In more recent years, he has followed the path of many holistic practitioners by studying the plant medicine known as ayahuasca which was a spiritual medicine among the indigenous in that area that was made into a brew.
Like many other psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin cubenis (magic mushrooms), ayahuasca was first used outside of the Amazon indigenous communities back in the 1950’s. The plant brew could even be mixed with the leaves of plants which contained DMT. It was following the Cultural Revolution when some radical young hippies lost the ability to control themselves and were getting ahold of these psychedelic drugs illegally and taking too much that the United States government intervened and passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which made psychedelics illegal to the public.
Dr. Gabor Mate also lost faith in the West’s methods of dealing with sicknesses, more particularly those that were classified as mental illnesses, since he was a specialist in addictions. In his book, When the body says no: exploring the stress-disease connection, Dr. Mate draws on his experience working with inner city addicts as well as from his private practice in Vancouver. He explores links between illnesses ranging from diabetes, cancer to arthritis, and even multiple sclerosis. In addition to this, he also goes on to promote the principles of healing known as the Seven A’s of Healing. This also includes preventing illness that is brought about by hidden stress.
Dr. Mate’s book based on his research merely confirms all of that age-old wisdom that our emotions are tied to our infirmities and may even lead to addictions as ways of self-medicating. Because his theories goes against the profit-making system of capitalism, he has become a controversial figure in recent years. So controversial in fact that the Canadian government made an attempt to shut down the clinic that he worked at with the inner city addicts. It was the Supreme Court that intervened by citing that shutting the facility down would infringe the youth’s civil liberties. It would also do them more harm than good because Gabor Mate’s compassionate methods of dealing with their addictions was actually helping them overcome the root cause of their addictions.
In Dr. Mate’s best-selling book, in the realm of hungry ghosts, he discusses addictions more in detail since that is his primary specialty. Gabor Mate’s belief is that addictions are the core of our existence as human beings. He literally believes the average human can become addicted to anything, even those activities which can be good for us such as eating, exercising, working, or simply abusing drugs that were intended to aid in the healing process.
The core of our suffering has emotional roots and it is merely human nature to find various ways to self-medicate our problems. This impairs our thinking and makes us more dependent on whatever our drug of choice is. The only way to properly deal with the issue at hand is to revisit it and deal with it. Just like it was states in Dr. Mate’s other book about saying no, the same body we have that becomes sick when under excess emotional pressure is the same body that has the tendency to heal itself when we go back to the original cause of the sickness and do what we should have done all along.
Dr. Mate also has a third book entitled Scattered: How ADHD originates and what you can do about it. This is more of a personal account of his journey with the disorder. He even has extended experience since he is the father of three children who all have the same disorder. This book has been labeled a life-saver for millions of young people who were diagnosed with ADHD throughout North American.
Dr. Mate also blames society for the way we exploit each other’s emptiness and inadequacy, usually for the sake of profit under a Capitalist economic system. The book features wisdom from the Buddhist Wheel of Life since much of the spiritual wisdom originated in that part of the world. Even Hindu philosophy teaches that humans have the ability to become easily disillusioned. It also teaches they have the power to rise above it if they choose to; that is once they realize it.
- E Bishop Wooten
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