Gabor Mate on the root causes of drug abuse and how to fight it

Well-known in Canada and abroad Dr. Gabor Mate (Gabor Maté) works with people suffering from severe addiction. In this speech, he talks about the root causes of drug abuse and on how to deal with it.

What is addiction? Part 1

"Hazardous substances, whether opiates or cocaine, or other type of drug, when used in fact act as a painkiller.

For physical pain and emotional suffering meets the same part of the brain.

When people suffer from emotional inconsistencies, it reacts the same area of ​​the brain that and stab wounds.

Eckhart Tolle very accurately said that addiction starts with pain and ends with pain.

All addictions - it attempts to suppress the pain

. When I work with addicted people, the first question that I have always been concerned, not about where it came from habit, and about where the pain came from. And it turns out that this is an emotional loss or injury. Every drug addict with a heavy dependence of the eastern part of the city has experienced a trauma. no chance to find a woman who would not have survived the violence ... In these streets.

Any kind of addiction, whether it is a passion for ... or to the Internet, or shopping, or to work - it's trying to avoid suffering

. The guitarist of the Rolling Stones Keith Richards (as we know, suffered deep heroin addicts) said that we "break" themselves in different ways, so that at least a few hours of escape from the presence of himself.

But why someone might not want to be with yourself? Because of their grief too deep and too much pain.

So I do not care what they say about the genetics or choice, or any other nonsense. The answer is - always a pain

. The "Tibetan Book of Life and Death" has a wonderful line. Whatever you do, do not try to get away from the pain, but stay with it. Because any attempt to escape from the pain causes more suffering. And so it happens with drug addicts.

But the question is - how to be people with their grief

? Answer: The only feeling compassion / mercy of another person

. In the words of another teacher only when people feel compassion, they will be able to see the truth. Thus, people with addiction need compassionate environment that will allow them to survive the pain without the need to run away from it.

All attempts to escape, the other teacher said, is likely to lead to even greater suffering, it is an attempt to escape from himself.

So you just need to remain with the pain, and to be with her, need support.

But we live in a society, which always selects the fastest methods of relaxation, immediate gratification or the possibility of escape.

In other words, we live in a culture that is economically and psychologically able to support the people.

As a result, this society is very difficult to deal with drug addiction ...

It comes down to the fact that at some point you have to find a way to be with his pain and eventually be able to understand what it all really means. »

What is addiction? Part 2

"I came to talk to you about addiction, about the power of addiction as well as addiction to power.

As a physician, I have been practicing in Vancouver, Canada. I worked by people experiencing a very, very strong dependence. With people who use heroin, cocaine, alcohol, crystal meth or any other drug known to man. These people are suffering.

If success is measured by a doctor of its life expectancy of patients, then I'm a failure. Because my patients die very young. They die from HIV, hepatitis C infections on heart valves, from a brain infection from blood poisoning. They die from suicide, an overdose, from violence, owing to accidents.

And if you look at them, remember the words of the great Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz: "Nothing captures the effects of a sad life, the human body»

. Because these people lose everything.

They lose their health, lose their beauty, teeth, wealth, they lose human relations and as a result, they often lose their lives.

But nothing could keep them from addiction. Nothing can get her to give up. Dependence remains strong. And then the question arises: why

? One of my patients told me: "I am not afraid to die. I am more afraid to live. »

The question that we must answer why people are afraid of life

? If you want to understand the relationship, we do not consider that to which it led; you need to find out what caused it. In other words, to understand that a person receives from their addiction? What he gets, which otherwise would not have had?

Addicts get relief from pain, a feeling of tranquility, a sense of control, a sense of calm ... a very temporary.

The question arises: why all of the above is missing in their lives, what happened

with them? Drugs such as heroin, morphine, codeine, cocaine, alcohol - it's a pain reliever. Anyway, they appeased the pain. And then the question is not "why addiction?" But "why the pain?».

I just finished reading a biography of Keith Richards, guitarist of Rolling Stones. Many will be surprised, but he is still alive, despite the fact that for a long time suffered from severe heroin addiction. In his biography of the musician he writes that according to he sought oblivion, it was an attempt to forget. Keith said, "We go to these convulsions that at least a few hours to stop being themselves»

. And I am very aware that for the discomfort can be tested by itself, being in my own skin. I know the desire to escape from his own mind.

Great British psychiatrist RD Laing said that there are three things that people fear. They are afraid of death, other people and your own mind.

For a long period of my life, I wanted to escape from his own mind, he was afraid to be alone with him. And how am I distracted?

Well, I've never used drugs, but I was distracted by work, completely immersed in it. And after the purchase. In my case it was a CD with classical music.

In this I developed a real relationship. For one week I spent $ 8,000 on classical music CDs. Not because I wanted to, but because I could not go back to the store.

As a doctor, I often took delivery. And once I left the women giving birth in the hospital to get more classical music. I wanted to go back in time, but as soon as you find yourself in a shop, you already can not go so fast. These dealers of classical music in the aisles - the real evil, "Hey, buddy, you've listened to the last cycle of the symphonies of Mozart? Not yet? Well ... »

I missed the birth of a child. When I got home, and lied to his wife about it.

Like any addict, I lied about it and ignored his children because of his obsession with work and music. So I know what it's like to run away from you.

My definition of addiction: it is any behavior that gives you temporary relief, temporary pleasure, but in the long term harm, has a negative impact, and you can not refuse it, despite all the negative

. Based on this definition, you can understand that there are lots and lots of dependencies.

Yes, there are addicted to drugs, but also has a passion for consumerism, to ... Internet, for shopping, to eating.

The Buddhists have a concept - "hungry ghosts." This creature with large empty bellies, skinny little necks and tiny mouths, so they can never get enough to get enough, can never fill the inner emptiness.

And we're all in this society - "hungry ghosts." We all have such emptiness and many are trying to fill it from the outside. And addiction - an attempt to fill this void with the outside

. Now, if you do not mind, let's ask ourselves: why do people experience pain

? Do not look at their genetics, look at their lives. In the case of my patients who had the highest dependency, completely obvious, was taken from the pain.

Because they have been abused. As a child, they were ill-treated.

For 12 years I have worked with hundreds of women. All of them have gone through ... abuse in childhood. The men were also injured - ... violence, neglect, physical abuse, neglect and emotional pain again and again. That's where the pain.

And there is something else: the human brain

. The human brain, as you have already heard, developing interaction with the environment. This is not just a genetic pre-programming. Wednesday, surrounding the child, in fact, forms the development of the brain. Now I will tell you about the two experiments with mice.

Takes the mouse and puts food in his mouth. He eats it, enjoys swallowing. But if you put the food in a few inches from his nose, he will not move to eat it. In fact, he would die of hunger rather than to eat. Why? Because it has no genetically receptors for the brain chemical dopamine for naming.

Dopamine - a chemical stimulus and motivation. It is produced when we are driven by something, when we are happy, excited, energetic, curious, when we are in search of food or a mate. Without dopamine have no motivation.

Now, how do you think gets the addict?

When he uses cocaine, crystal meth or any other drug, there is a surge of dopamine in his brain. The question is that in the beginning there was the brain?

The fact that drugs are addictive - it's a myth. By themselves, the drugs do not cause addiction, because most people who try them, do not become addicted.

So why are some people prone to addiction?

Also, some people have a passion for food, but not all; all people are shopping, but some of them are dependent; TV is not at all addictive, but some people without it can not.

Therefore, the question arises: where does this susceptibility

? Here's another little experiment with mice. If neonatal mice separated from the mother, they will not cry over it. Why would it lead in the wild? They would have died, because only their mother protects upbringing.

But they did not develop receptors chemically connecting the parts of the brain for endorphins. Endorphin - is an endogenous morphine. This is our own natural painkillers. Morphine and endorphins also allow you to experience the love, feel the affection of children to parents and affection of parents to children. Thus, these small mice without endorphinergic receptors in the brain naturally not call his mother.

In other words, drug addiction and, of course, to heroin and morphine caused by their action in the endorphin system. That's why they work. The question is, what happens to people who need these chemicals from the outside?

If they were abused as children, these schemes do not develop. When you have no love and no relationship to life in the very, very early age, these important parts of the brain simply does not develop properly. They also develop in the wrong conditions of abuse. After that, the brain becomes susceptible to drugs.

But now they feel normal. There comes pain relief. They feel love. One patient told me: "When I first used the heroin, then felt how warm and tender embrace. Like a mother hugs her child. »

Now I had the same emptiness, but not to the same extent as in my patients. That's what happened to me:

I was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1944, into a Jewish family, before the Germans occupied Hungary. You know what happened to the Jewish people in Eastern Europe. I was 2 months old, when the German army marched into Budapest. The next day my mother called the pediatrician and said, "Please come and check Gabor, he was crying all the time." And the pediatrician answered: "Sure, I'll come to it, but I must tell you, all my Jewish babies cry»

. But why? Do children know about Hitler or genocide, or war?


What we were read, they were stress, depression and the horrors of our mothers. It influenced the formation of a child's brain. And, of course, so I received a message that the world does not want me, because if my mother next to me does not rejoice, I must have a child does not want to.

Why later I became a workaholic?

If they do not want me, then at least they will need me. I will be an important doctor and they will need me. So I can make amends for a feeling of uselessness.

And what does it mean?

This means that I am working all the time. And when I do not work, then I buy the music.

What message subliminally get my children? Exactly the same - they are not wanted. That's the way we pass the injury peredaёm suffering, unconsciously, from one generation to another.

Obviously, there are many ways to fill the void, each person has his own method. But the emptiness is always returned to what we have received less, when they were very small.

And then we look at the drug addict and say, "How can you do this to yourself? How can you enter into your body that horrible substance that can kill you? "But look at what we do to the Earth. We are emitted into the atmosphere, the oceans and the environment all that is killing us and poisoning the planet.

Now answer, what relationship stronger? Dependence on oil? From consumerism? What does more harm?

And yet we judge addicts, because in fact we see that they are just like us. But we do not like it, and we say, "You are different from us, you are worse than we are»

. (Applause)

By plane from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro I read New York Times for June 9. There was an article about Brazil and about a man named Nishio Gomez, leader of the Guaraní People of the Amazon, who was killed in November last year, you probably heard about it.

Gomez was shot because he was defending his people from large farmers and companies, exciting and destroying rainforests, deplete the environment, which is considered the birthplace of the Indians in Brazil.

And I can tell you that it came from Canada. There was the same. Many of my patients - the Indians. Indigenous people in Canada suffer greatly dependent. They make up a small percentage of the population. But they make up a large percentage among inmates in prisons, among drug users, including the mentally ill and among people who commit suicide. Why?

Because they have taken away their native lands. Because they were killed and subjected to violence from generation to generation.

So the next question you may understand the suffering of indigenous peoples, and can understand that suffering push them to look for ways to ease the pain in drugs, but what about the people who make it? What is their relationship?

They are dependent on the government. Depending on the wealth. Depending on purchase. They want to get bigger.

When I tried to understand the addiction to power, I looked at some of the most influential people in history: Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, on Genghis Khan, Stalin. This is very interesting.

First of all, why do they need so much power?

A curious fact: physically they were very small people, somewhere in my height or even lower. They came from other nations, not from the local population. Stalin was Georgian, not Russian; Napoleon was Corsican, not French; Alexander the Great was not Greek, and Hitler was Austrian, not German.

Thus, they could be a feeling of insecurity and inferiority.

They needed the power to feel good, to exalt. And to get this power, they were willing to fight and kill many people, but to maintain that power.

I am not saying that only small people can be overbearing, but it is interesting to consider these examples, because, speaking of the power of the addiction to power, has always meant the emptiness that you are trying to fill in from the outside.

Even Napoleon in exile on St Helena, lost power, said: "I love power, love power." He could not imagine being without power. I do not imagine himself without external power.

It is interesting to compare it with the Buddha or Jesus. If you read their story, then you will find that both tempted by the devil, and one of the temptations that he offered them - is power, the power of the earth. And they both refused.

Why do they say "no"? Both have refused, because they had the inner strength, and there was no need to look for it outside.

More they refused because they did not want to control the people and wanted to teach them. They wanted to teach people by example, soft speech, wisdom, not by force. Therefore, the authorities have refused.

And another very interesting that they talked about it. Jesus said that the power and reality are not outside, but inside us. He said: "The kingdom of God is within you»

. И Будда перед своей смертью, когда монахи скорбели и плакали, сказал им: «Не оплакивайте меня, не поклоняйтесь мне. Найдите свет внутри себя, сами станьте светом».

Итак, мы смотрим на этот сложный мир с разрушающейся средой и глобальным потеплением, и опустошением океанов. Давайте не будем надеяться на людей, находящихся у власти, что они изменят положение вещей, потому что люди у власти – мне не хочется об этом говорить, – но очень часто это одни из самых пустых людей в мире и они не собираются изменять что-либо для нас.

Мы должны найти этот свет внутри себя, найти свет в сообществах и в своей собственной мудрости и в собственном творчестве.

Мы не можем ждать от людей, находящихся у власти, что они сделают для нас что-то лучшее, потому что они никогда этого не сделают, пока мы не сделаем.

Они говорят, что в человеческой природе лежит конкуренция, агрессия, эгоизм.

Всё как раз наоборот. Человеческая природа на самом деле в кооперации, человеческая природа в щедрости, в общности единомышленников.

То, что мы видим здесь на этой конференции – людей, обменивающихся информацией, людей, получающих информацию, людей, стремящихся к лучшему миру, – это и есть человеческая природа.

И когда вы обнаружите этот свет внутри, когда вы найдёте свою собственную сущность/природу, тогда мы будем добрее и к себе, и к природе.



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