Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dr. Gabor Maté: Healing and Addiction

I knew going into this interview that in some ways, Dr. Gabor Maté viewed all Western medical systems as failures. In preparing for my conversation with Dr. Maté, I found other interviews with him online that clued me in to his perspectives on healing, ADHD, addiction, and chronic disease. And they didn't have to do with whether a government insurer or a private insurer provided benefits or whether a certain high tech procedure was covered.

I arrived at his house at the appointed hour and Dr. Maté invited me to sit down in his kitchen while he fixed some tea. A physician and best-selling author in Canada, I was honored he was taking the time to talk to me.

The major problem with the approach to healing in both Canada and the US, in Dr. Maté's view, is the insistence on separating the mind from the body when considering an individual's health status. He says that if we don't look at the relationship between stress and the immune system, many diseases will never be cured, no matter what the health care system. That doesn't mean Dr. Maté entirely negates the value of Western medicine. He explained that we need to "...get that the medical profession only knows what it knows. When it comes to chronic illness, they really don't know what to do."

Until recently, Dr. Maté was on the staff at the Portland Hotel Society, a Downtown Eastside Vancouver facility that provides housing and professional support for adults suffering from addiction, mental illness, and related problems, and at InSite, a supervised injection site affiliated with the PHS. He treated patients for drug addiction, HIV, and other health problems.

While both the Portland Hotel Society and InSite encourage addicts to seek detoxification and addiction treatment, they do not make abstinence a requirement for obtaining housing and services. They are principally harm reduction oriented. This approach is much more common in Europe, with the United States lagging behind both Europe and Canada. Studies documenting the success of the Portland Hotel Society and InSite have cited benefits including a reduction in the sharing of syringes and an increased use of detoxification services and addiction treatment.

As I steered my conversation with Dr. Maté back toward the subject of Canada's health care system he said, "I know I'm much freer to practice medicine the way I want to in Canada." He emphasized the need to spend as much time as it takes with addicts. This was made more feasible because the Medical Services Plan paid him for the amount of time he spent with his patients and not a set fee per service.

Dr. Maté informed me that the MSP covers all the doctors visits associated with the treatment of addiction. The coverage for residential rehab care is a different matter. Very low-income patients are covered through Social Services. People with private extended health insurance may be covered through their private plan. Some wealthy Canadians pay out-of-pocket for the very pricey Paradise Valley Wellness Centre and similar rehab facilities. Dr. Maté says that although it's a patchwork, "if somebody wants rehab, they'll be able to get in."

Dr. Maté is a fascinating and passionate healer. If you'd like to learn more and take a look at his books, check out his website: .


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I always like to read a quality content about the New York Healthcare Lawyer having accurate information regarding the subject and the same thing I found in this post. Nice work.

  3. The coverage for residential rehab care is a different matter. Very low-income patients are covered through Social Services.

    Buy Generic Viagra Online

  4. Be that as it may, the level of influence enormously relies on how the ads are completed and here is the point at which the viability of the publicizing organization or office is tried. ayahuasca retreat reviews

  5. Healthcare practices are good when it comes to different cases. Criminal Health Attorney

  6. Hello
    We can definetly cure your problem by ayurvedic medicines. use ayurvedic medicines instead of allopathic medicines or tadalafil

  7. Thank you so much for such wonderful information. These tips are very effective & helpful. Great work.. Payday Loans

  8. wow this thread is very useful for me somewhere i have posted also visit cool story

  9. Chiropractic Association defines chiropractic as a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects of these disorders to general health. Check this link right here now

  10. Along these lines, rather than stressing to breakdown over the top sugars, fats and poisons the body shifts into a resting mode by totally evading such nourishments and beverages.
    Opioid and heroin addiction treatment

  11. Healthcare centers can be the best place to cure mental health related problems. Many times medication does not work when the problem is related to mental health. The article gives a perfect idea how rehabs work for their patients.
    Online Generic Viagra Soft Tabs