The Psychological Link Between Trauma And Work Addiction

From Thrive Global authored by Drake Baer:

“Addiction is usually thought of in terms of substances: alcohol, cocaine, opioids. But according to Dr. Gabor Maté, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictionit can take less obvious—and more socially condoned—forms, like work, wealth and status.

To Maté, addiction has its roots in childhood trauma. Speaking at last weekend’s Summit conference in Los Angeles, he was careful to note that trauma is something that happens inside. Rather than a specific incidence of abuse or toxic dynamics within a family, trauma is the loss of some essential part of you, like a sense of peace, vitality or presence.

He would know: now 73 years old, Maté was an infant when the Nazis invaded Hungary, and his family’s flight from Budapest took what he considers to be a lifelong toll on him. In the light of the Holocaust, his mother couldn’t exactly be the nurturing, supportive, attuned presence that children need in order to grow up with a secure sense of self. “When a mother is unhappy, the child takes it personally,” Maté explained to the crowd. ‘If you’re not wanted, you make yourself needed. If you want to be needed, go to medical school.’”


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