Gabor Mate Underscores Stress as Contributing Factors to Many Diseases, But Science Doesn't Always Influence Policy

By Sam Sabzehzar  |  September 9, 2011

Throughout artistic expression and celebrity, many factors can be seen on the surface as influential. However, the root cause began much earlier for the addict, according to Mate. Elvis, who died of an accidental drug overdose, with Lennon in Germany.

The medical community is in agreement that one of the biggest drivers of addictive behavior is stress.

Knowing this, why would legislators want to criminally prosecute those that are stressed, upping the probability that an addict will relapse if they are clean or drive them to addictive behaviors if their addictions are not drug related?

In analyzing John Lennon, Dr. Gabor Mate explains how the musician and poet expresses his pain through his lyrics, and how his addiction to heroine in Cold Turkey may have been born from his youth, which he tells us in another song, Mother.

Lennon lets us in, and shares with the world his own experiences, but unlike many addicts, he recognizes that early childhood development is an atmosphere that eclipses most others throughout ones life, as those formative years plant the seeds of stress and how we deal with it.

Just how important the role of stress in early childhood development plays out in one’s life, according to the addiction specialist, is ultimately up the individual, but stress and addiction are two sides of the same coin.

In his book, Why Parents Matter More Than Peers, Mate suggests how significant that role is and recognizes that early adult development is where an addictive personality will be cultivated, usually, based on stress felt a decade earlier, and pushed forward through a peer-base that is not as important as the relationship a parent has with their teen.

Society certainly has a market in mislabeling the root causes of addiction but science, not profit margins, must lead society through sensible policy making. This means understanding stress, when the body says no, and what that all means.


About Gabor Mate

Gabor Maté M.D. is a physician and bestselling author whose books have been published in nearly twenty languages worldwide. Dr. Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, from addiction and attention deficit disorder (ADD) to mind-body wellness, adolescent mental health, and parenting. A renowned thinker and public speaker, he addresses audiences all over North America, including professional and academic groups like nurses’ organizations, psychiatry departments, and corporate conventions, as well as presentations and seminars for local community groups and the general public.


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