February 21, 2023

Gabor Maté on How Childhood Trauma Leads to Addiction.


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This video is so good.

It’s so clear, so concise.

Gabor Maté is also clear in this video to say that addiction isn’t just with drugs or alcohol, but it could be with any behavior, like work or eating or extreme sports or gambling or shopping or relationships or “any number of human activities.”

He says that addiction is not the primary problem but rather an attempt to solve the problem, and that the loss of self is the essence of trauma.

See the video here:

Here’s a brief transcript of part of the video. Watch the whole thing to see all he has to say, including how to transcend the manifestations we experience in the present.

“So, people often think that trauma is what happens to you. So, trauma is a divorce when you were small and your parents fighting. Trauma is your mother’s depression. Trauma is your father’s alcoholism. Trauma is your parents’ argumentation. Trauma is physical or sexual abuse or some loss. Those aren’t the traumas. Those are traumatic. But the trauma is not what happens to you. The trauma is what happens inside you.

And as a result of these traumatic events, what happens inside you is you get disconnected from your emotions and you get disconnected from your body and you have difficulty being in the present moment and you develop a negative view of your world and a negative view of yourself and a defensive view of other people. And these perspectives keep showing up in your life in the present.

So, in other words, the addiction is not the primary problem; it’s an attempt to solve a problem. And then the real question is: how did the problem arise? In other words, this is where my theory is, that it’s always rooted in childhood trauma and that the addiction is an attempt to deal with the effects of childhood trauma, which it does temporarily, while it creates even more problems in the long term. And so, the issue is not just to recognize what happened 10, 15, 30, however many years ago, but to actually recognize the manifestations in the present moment and to transcend them.”


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