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Healing Trauma & Addiction for Individuals & Families

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  1. Welcome
    3 Topics
  2. Healing Trauma & Addiction Course Content
    Lesson One: The Power of Connection & The Myth of Normal
    5 Topics
  3. Lesson Two: A New Look at Addiction
    5 Topics
  4. Lesson Three: Exploring Our Trauma
    6 Topics
  5. Lesson Four: Understanding Generational Trauma
    5 Topics
  6. Lesson Five: Beyond Codependency & Victimhood
    5 Topics
  7. Lesson Six: Addiction: A Disease or a Developmental Condition?
    6 Topics
  8. Lesson Seven: Ending The Cycle of Addiction
    5 Topics
  9. Lesson Eight: The Cure to Addiction
    6 Topics
  10. A Closing Note
  11. Additional Resources
    Additional Resources
    3 Topics
Lesson Progress
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The last several decades have seen a stark increase in ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and auto-immune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and asthma, among other conditions. Anxiety is the fastest-growing diagnosis in North America amongst young people. Doctors tend to rely on genetic explanations for these diseases, but as Gabor explains, this fails to address the full picture. 

One of Gabor’s most foundational messages is this: The primary cause for the recent increased rates of disease is societal stress, not genetics. This explanation extends to addiction rates as well, which he will discuss at length in future lessons.

To elaborate a bit, Gabor’s findings indicate an inseparable link between the mind and the body (this phenomenon is aptly named the mind-body connection). Put simply, when we are stressed for long periods of time, our body is at much higher risk for disease; not just mental conditions, but physical ones as well. 

Evidence for the Mind-Body Connection

    • Multiple sclerosis, an auto-immune disease, was diagnosed equally for men and women in the 1930s. Now the gender ratio for multiple sclerosis is about three and half women for every one man. If genetics or dietary changes were the sole explanation for disease, then why would the rates of this disease increase so much more drastically for women than for men? What actually happens is that women have absorbed more stress than men in recent decades, because they still bear the responsibility of having and raising children, being caretakers, homemaking,but are now also expected, in many cases, to be wage-earners.

    • A 2018 U.S. study found that the more episodes of racism an African-American woman experiences, the greater her risk for asthma, regardless of how accessible quality medical treatment is for her. Additionally, doctors have known for a long time that the more stressed parents are, the more at-risk their child is of having asthma.

    • Rates of ADHD have drastically increased in just the last decade. Genes do not change in a population over 10 years. So, this indicates that there is something in the culture which is manifesting in dissociative disorders.

Why All the Stress?

The mind-body connection accounts for the increased rates of many diseases, because chronic stress levels throughout our society at large have been steadily increasing, and with them, mental and physical maladies as well.

What has caused our society to become increasingly stressed? There are numerous factors, so many in fact that they border on innumerable. Here are a few examples of factors that could be causing an increase in societal stress:

    • Technological advancement at an unprecedented rate, life moves too quickly.

    • Ease of access to harmful substances

    • Increasing income disparity in many parts of society, access to resources.

    • Doctors over-prescribing certain drugs

    • Steadily worsening environmental impact from humans

    • Social isolation due to technology replacing in-person interaction

The most impactful of these factors by far, Gabor explains, is an increased lack of meaningful interpersonal connection. Humans are wired for a certain type of connection, a type of connection that is being denied to more and more people as the years go on. Many people acknowledge this lack of connection, but few people realize just how detrimental it is to our society and the individuals in it.

Love and connection is not only beneficial for us, but necessary for our survival. Without a drive to connect with others, the human race could not have survived. With human infants being completely defenseless on their own, babies would have surely starved or been killed by predators if not for their inherent drive to connect with other people, and other people’s inherent drive to connect with them. Long before automobiles, space exploration, social media, or even spoken language, the human race spent millions of years evolving and adapting to a specific set of conditions. To put it simply, humans evolved to have certain needs, but because our world has changed so rapidly in so many ways, our society is now failing to meet those needs. Some people’s needs are met more than others’ of course, but in general, people are now forced to adapt to a society that they were not wired to live in, and that adaptation is causing inherent stress, illness, and unmet needs.

Gabor deeply believes that society is no longer meeting the inherent needs of humans, and genuine interpersonal connection is the most important unmet need for most people.

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher

How Today’s Society Fails to Meet Our Needs

So what are some of the ways in which today’s culture is different than the one humans evolved in? What conditions promote healthy human development, and which ones undermine it? 

Due to the competitive nature of capitalism and the increasing scarcity of resources relative to the population, people have become more and more individualistic, selfish, and aggressive. People are, for better or worse (and Gabor believes for worse), rewarded when they behave this way. Selfish and competitive behavior is rewarded with success in today’s society. Millionaires and billionaires are the ones who do not stop putting their needs and desires first, even at the expense of others and the environment.

But in societies of old, teamwork and connection was more rewarded. People lived in small hunter-gatherer groupings of 50-100 people. Babies were raised by many different able-bodied caretakers, providing them with an abundance of connection and attachment at the most crucial time in their brain’s development. People did not have 9-5 jobs, smartphones, and concrete walls in between them and the next group of people. Mothers and fathers walked around holding their babies on their chests and shoulders, giving them their full attention. When a baby would cry, they would be immediately soothed until they would stop.

Evolutionarily, humans are accustomed to an environment with an abundance of face-to face connection and socialization since day one. Teamwork, compassion, and a lack of individualism was necessary for survival.