Dr. Gabor Maté is a physician, addiction expert and well known author. His background is originally in family practice, which over the course of his working life, gave him the opportunity to understand the role & alignment between childhood trauma and the impact of the resultant stresses on the physical symptoms presented by the community he served.

He believes that addictive behaviours are not a choice but a response to absent care, attention or love in childhood. Whether it is at one end of the scale with destructive addictions like drugs or alcohol, or at the other end of the scale with ‘socially acceptable’ addictions like social media or shopping, he firmly believes that our personalities can become maladjusted and insists we should try to become conscious of how we have been affected by our developmental environment. This may manifest itself as mental or emotional health issues, but equally it may well fuel physical health issues, as chronic mental stress contributes to inflammation which can exacerbate high blood pressure, colitis and many other persistent and painful physical issues.

Dr. Maté’s definition of addictive behaviours may help you understand your own behavioural patterns. Is there something you feel compelled to do? Is it difficult to take a break from doing it? Does it offer some brief respite but then leave you feeling somewhat empty? Do you crave something without really fully understanding your compulsion for that ‘want’?

Becoming conscious of your desires and the reasons that they manifest is the first step to addressing them proactively. It may not be an easy conversation to have with yourself, but it is a valuable one that could lead to the reduction of stress and the physical symptoms that are supported by your emotional ‘baggage’.