Gabor Maté

“First, we need to take stock of ourselves and give up any hint of moral superiority and judgment toward the addict. Judging others clouds our eyes not only to their needs but to our own as well. We cannot help people when we put ourselves in a position of judgment.

Addicts, all but the very few completely sociopathic ones, are deeply self-critical and harsh with themselves. They are keenly sensitive to judgmental tones in others and respond with withdrawal or defensive denial. Second, any rational approach to the problem of addiction has to be grounded in an appreciation of the interactive psychology and brain physiology of addiction.

“An understanding of emotions should not be separated from neuroscience,” Dr. Jaak Panksepp told me. “If you don’t recognize that the brain creates psychological responses, then neuroscience becomes a highly impoverished discipline. And that’s where the battle is right now. Many neuroscientists believe that mental states are irrelevant for what the brain does. This is a Galileo-type battle and it will not be won very easily because you have generations and generations of scholars, even in psychology, who have swallowed hook, line and sinker the notion — the Skinnerian notion — that mentality is irrelevant in the control of behavior.”


Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté
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