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How Our Childhood Shapes Every Aspect of Our Health with Dr. Gabor Maté

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  November 21, 2018

This week, I talk to renowned addiction expert, physician and best-selling author, Dr. Gabor Maté. He calls for a compassionate approach toward addiction, whether in ourselves or in others. Dr Maté believes addiction is not a choice, neither is it all about drugs and illicit substances. Instead, he believes that addiction affects most of us – whether it be to alcohol, nicotine, sugar, work or exercise…the list is endless. According to Dr Maté, the source of addiction is not to be found in our genes but in our early childhood.

We also talk about how our emotional stress translates into physical chronic illnesses and how we now live in a culture that doesn’t meet our human needs. Indeed, the conditions necessary for healthy child development are increasingly under threat in today’s society. Loneliness and lack of meaningful connection are on the rise, as are the rates of autoimmune disease and addiction. We discuss how the way we live our modern lives is impacting us more than we realise.

It was a real honour to sit down and talk eye-to-eye with Gabor about his truly revolutionary work. This was a deep and powerful conversation and I hope it helps you in your lives.

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Episode Highlights:

  • Does Gabor think that addiction is a choice?
  • What is the difference between drug addiction, sex addiction or shopping addiction?
  • How does Gabor define addiction?
  • Where does Gabor think that addictions come from?
  • Hear Gabor talk about his childhood and the trauma he experiences in his early years.
  • Gabor explains how childhood trauma and experiences can manifest themselves as physical symptoms.
  • Rangan & Gabor discuss how blame is not the answer but that we should look to take responsibility for our wellbeing.
  • How are social stresses leading to increased rates of blood pressure and hypertension?
  • What are Gabor’s thoughts on our childcare system and societal set-up with regard to childhood development?
  • Gabor and Rangan discuss the parallels of disconnection with social media and addiction behaviours.
  • What was Gabor’s job before becoming a physician?
  • Does Gabor believe he can find childhood trauma in all addicts?
  • Hear some of the real life stories from Gabor’s books.
  • What can be done about childhood trauma?
  • Why should the legal system take on Gabor’s philosophy and how could this dramatically change society?
  • Rangan & Gabor discuss how the medical system could benefit of understanding the body in a more holistic way.
  • What are Gabor’s final thoughts?

Watch the video version of this interview in full below.

'The greater the childhood adversity, the greater the risk for addiction in adulthood.' Click To Tweet

Find out more about Gabor:

Website    Facebook    YouTube    Twitter

Gabor’s books:

Further learning:

Dr Chatterjee’s resources:


DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP