Addictions are widely discussed in modern society as people try to explore their minds to find out the root causes and reasons for their actions. Canadian physician Gabor Maté defined addiction as “behavior that gives a temporary relief, pleasure, but in a long turn causes harm, and a person can not give it up despite the severe consequences” (Maté, 2012). This essay aims to discuss how and why the human brain develops addictions like drug overuse, shopping, and power.
Drugs come to mind first when one thinks of addiction, but there are many other destructive attitudes. For example, Maté’s addiction to shopping and work severely affected one of his patient’s experiences and the relationship with his children (Maté, 2012). The human brain interacts with the environment since day one, and the conditions of a child’s life vastly impact its development. People who experience adverse treatment or abuse in their early years are more likely to have addictions because their bodies become unable to produce the dopamine and endorphin necessary for motivation to live (Atti et al., 2020). Modern medications can target the brain’s dopamine levels to manage addictive urges (Van Wormer & Davis, 2017). Maté was born when the Jewish experienced persecution in Austria, and he felt unwanted due to his mother’s depressive conditions and fear (Maté, 2012). His addictions to work and shopping appeared because he attempted to feel himself needed and loved, and now his children feel a lack of love because he prioritizes work (Maté, 2012). Painful experiences become intergenerational, and understanding brain development and the nature of addictive behavior can prevent it from happening.
People tend to judge drug addicts because the latter harm themselves to death, but it is necessary to understand that today almost every person has an addiction. Gabor Maté’s experience and his study about brain development and childhood traumas can change one’s perception of addiction. Humanity needs to look for peace inside themselves instead of making shortcut decisions to get a dose of dopamine and endorphins.
Atti, A. R., Speciani, M., Cerrato, F., Casadio, P., Olivoni, D., Valente, S., & Ronchi, D. D. (2020). Childhood adverse experiences and personality disorders in outpatients with addiction. International Journal of Psychiatry Research, 3(2), 1-7. Web.
Maté, G. (2012). The power of addiction and the addiction of power [Video]. TED. Web.
Van Wormer, K., & Davis, D. (2017). Addiction treatment a strengths perspective. Cengage Learning.