Contrary to what is often claimed, the source of addictions is not to be found in genes, but in the early childhood environment where the neurobiology of the brain’s reward pathways develops and the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, creates the predisposition for addictions. Helping the addicted individual requires that we appreciate the function of the addiction in his or her life.
In his most recent best-selling book, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Dr. Gabor Maté shows that addictions do not represent a discrete set of medical disorders. Rather, they reflect the extreme end of a continuum of addictions, most of which are hidden, that runs throughout our society.
Based on the book, this weekend draws on cutting-edge science to address many illuminating topics, including:
For those suffering from addiction and their loved ones, as well as mental-health professionals and others interested in the topic of addiction, this important weekend provides a transformative opportunity. Once we recognize the roots of addiction and the lack it strives (in vain) to fill, we can develop a compassionate approach toward the addict, one that stands the best chance of restoring him or her to wholeness and health.