Hungry Ghosts? Listen to my interview with Dr. Gabor Maté on addiction!

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.  As a writer and speaker, he is widely known for the power, insight, clarity, candor, compassion, humor, and warmth of his presentations.

Common to all of Dr. Maté’s work is a focus on understanding the broader context in which human disease and disorders arise, from cancer to autoimmune conditions like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, or fibromyalgia;  childhood behavioral disorders like ADD, oppositionality, or bullying;  or addiction, from substance abuse to obsessive gambling, shopping, or even workaholism.

Rather than offering facile, quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.  His approach is holistic and kaleidoscopic – linking everything from neurophysiology, immunology, and developmental psychology to economic and social policy – and even touches on the spiritual dimensions of disease and healing.

His books, all Canadian best-sellers, include:

Scattered Minds:  A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder*(1999)

When the Body Says No:  The Cost of Hidden Stress** (2004)

Hold On to Your Kids:  Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers (2005), co-written with Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D

In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts:  Close Encounters With Addiction (2009).  Recipient of the 2009 Hubert Evans Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Click here to go to interview!

David Van Nuys PhD


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I have In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts--great book. My dad is an alcoholic and that book helped me sort-of stop blaming him for his issues. He was beaten a lot as a child--by parents, by teachers, by kids in his neighborhood etc. He never hit me, he refused to reenact that traumatizing problem. But he takes out his pain and alienation on himself, which harms his family relationships anyway. My mom's father was an alcoholic--she repeated these family problems by marrying one. It's quite interesting how we repeat these cycles of violence that we learn in our formative years. On a larger scale, I guess we could cite the phenomena of "history repeats itself." I like how Mate connects individual problems to the need for widespread social reform. 

A childhood friend's father (also an alcoholic) died a few days ago. He was found drowned in a creek with a bottle of booze. I've known him for 15+ years. What a way to go... I've been trying to comfort my friend. We go way back, but also understand each others' family problems on a deep level most people can't really understand. I'll show him this interview, but maybe not for awhile--I'll let him work through his grief for a bit first.

Great interview. Thanks for posting!


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