Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the psychology addiction. What motivates people into becoming addicts to to particular substances and/or behaviours?

  • “Addicts just want to be normal human beings.”

  • “Social and emotional environment that shapes the biology of the brain.”

  • “Addiction should not be seen as the problem but as the addicts attempt to solve a problem, through substance abuse.”

He refers tot he Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, indicating 10 types of childhood trauma that had been identified as leading emotional distresses and root causes to adult addiction disorders. These include.

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Household mental illness
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Incarcerated household member

So to understand your addiction psychologists you will need to focus on understanding what created the initial “pain” in the first place and unpack the root issues that cause that addictions in individuals and not specifically the addiction itself.


He closes off with a very interesting statement on the war on drugs.

Addicts are effectively incarcerated for the traumatising situations of their youth. Imprisonment for addictions is effectively a double punishment and a further more destructive path than actually dealing with the key issues that would otherwise produce a perfectly normal person.

Maté is a sheer mountain of insights an certainly worth looking into some of this mans life work.

Here are a few more of his videos on psyc topics that you may want to dive right into.

So there are your next 6 months of introspective addiction psychology questions. Do your self a favour and search for Maté on Youtube. So prep yourself before, booking into your local quack :-)