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PsychEd: educational psychiatry podcast

Jul 31, 2023

Welcome to PsychEd, the psychiatry podcast for medical learners, by medical learners. This episode covers trauma and addictions with Dr. Gabor Maté, a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of five books published in thirty languages, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Dr. Maté is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His fifth book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture was released on September 13, 2022.


The learning objectives for this episode are as follows:


By the end of this episode, you should be able to…

  1. Understand the connection between trauma and the development of addictions and other mental illnesses

  2. Critically reflect on current diagnostic and treatment paradigms

  3. Apply principles of trauma-informed care to psychiatric assessment and the provision of mental health services


Guest: Dr Gabor Maté


Hosts: Sena Gok, Rhys Linthorst, Angad Singh, Nikhita Singhal, and Alex Raben


Audio editing by: Sena Gok


Show notes by: Nikhita Singhal


Interview Content:

  • Introduction - 0:00

  • Learning objectives - 01:43

  • Defining trauma - 02:14

  • Current dominant views of addiction - 07:27

  • Defining addiction - 11:05

  • Relationship between trauma and addiction - 16:15

  • Neurobiology of addiction - 17:20

  • Brain development - 25:48

  • Genetic susceptibility - 36:10

  • Trauma-informed approach to treatment - 39:45

  • Importance of therapeutic relationships - 44:10

  • Societal barriers - 48:15

  • Harm reduction - 54:32

  • Closing comments - 01:00:14





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  • Volkow, N. D., & Li, T. K. (2004). Drug addiction: the neurobiology of behaviour gone awry. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 5(12), 963–970.


CPA Note: The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.


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