Addiction and identity

“A leading expert on addictions says there still remains a ‘tremendous misunderstanding’ about the problem in our society,” reports the Chatham Daily News in a story about psychiatrist Gabor Mate.

“People see addictions as some lifestyle choice that somebody makes,” but  “Nobody wakes up and says, ‘My ambition is to become an addict,'” say Mate. A keynote speaker this week at the Chatham-Kent Addictions Awareness Conference, Mate said “addiction is a response to suffering and most people who are severely addicted were traumatized as children. As a result, he said, people in this situation have pain they try to soothe with drugs.”

“People who are sufferers of early adversity tend to have brains that are more prone to be attuned to the addictive substance,” he added.

The Chatham Daily News further states, ”He said many people don’t understand addiction and are frightened of it. Addictions are rife in society, because a lot of people are using food, gambling, Internet, work, shopping or sex, to soothe their pain and distress, he added. To Mate, “We just don’t like to recognize how common this problem is, so we single out the drug addict as being somehow different than the rest of us.” Looking at addiction as a disease is valid, Mate said, but noted, “at the same time, it has to be seen as more than a disease, it has to be seen as a social, economic and childhood developmental problem.

For full story, see “Tremendous misunderstanding about addiction,” http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/2012/11/13/tremendous-misunderstanding-about-addictions

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