Gabor Mate on Trauma: It’s Not What Happens to You

In this video, Gabor Mate talks about how trauma is not what happens to you, but how you deal with what happens to you.

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Trauma Basics

Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It is natural to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected after a traumatic experience. A traumatic event can disrupt our sense of safety and cause lasting physical, emotional, and spiritual damage. Trauma can be caused by many different events, such as car accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, workplace violence, and childhood abuse.

What is trauma?

According to Dr. Gabor Maté, trauma is “any experience that’s too much for us to process, digest, and integrate.” In other words, it’s an overwhelming experience that overwhelzes the concept of trauma and how it can be addressed through various methods.

The three types of trauma

In his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts:Close Encounters with Addiction, Dr. Gabor Maté divides trauma into three different types:

Shock trauma: This is the type of trauma most people think of when they think of the word trauma. It is a single event that is so overwhelming that it shatters our whole sense of self and the world. 9/11 would be an example of shock trauma.

Development trauma: This is repeated or prolonged exposure to adversity during development, such as abuse, neglect, or being raised in a chaotic or unpredictable environment. Developmental trauma often results in complex PTSD (c-PTSD).

Attachment trauma: This is early separation from caregivers, such as through orphanage, institutions, or war. This type of trauma often results in attachment disorders.

The Impact of Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It can be caused by physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as by witnessing violence or experiencing a natural disaster. Trauma can have a profound impact on a person’s mental and physical health, and it can lead to long-term problems.

The physical impact of trauma

Trauma-related illness often manifests itself in physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, immune system dysregulation, chronic pain and fatigue.

These physical symptoms can be traced back to the impact of trauma on the nervous system. When a person experiences a traumatic event, the body automatically goes into “fight or flight” mode. This is a survival mechanism that is designed to help us deal with immediate threats to our safety.

However, when this mechanism is constantly activated, it can lead to long-term changes in the way the nervous system functions. This can result in physical symptoms that can be difficult to cope with on a day-to-day basis.

The psychological impact of trauma

Trauma is often narrowly understood as an event, such as a natural disaster, rape, or combat experience. While these events can certainly trigger trauma, it is not the event itself that causes long-term damage. Rather, it is our reaction to the event—particularly when that reaction is characterized by feelings of powerlessness, isolation, and shame—that does the real damage.

When we bottle up our emotions and do not process our experiences, we are more likely to develop mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, research has shown that unresolved trauma can lead to physical health problems such as chronic pain, heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, andsleep disorders.

It is important to understand that trauma is not just something that happens to us; it is also how we respond to what happens to us. In other words, we can be traumatized by our own reactions to an event. This is why it is so important to seek help after a traumatic experience; without proper support, we may end up causing more harm than good.

The social impact of trauma

In addition to the immediate physical effects of trauma, there can also be long-term social consequences. This is particularly true for children who have experienced traumatic events.

Children who have been through a traumatic experience may have difficulty trusting people, and may be afraid to form close relationships. They may also have trouble regulating their emotions, and may act out in aggressive or harmful ways.

The social effects of trauma can be just as debilitating as the physical effects, and can often last a lifetime. If you or someone you know has experienced a traumatic event, it is important to get help from a mental health professional who can provide support and guidance through the healing process.

Trauma Treatment

Gabor Mate is a world-renowned doctor who has dedicated his life to understanding addiction and trauma. In this video, he discusses how trauma is not simply what happens to you, but how you react to it. He goes on to say that trauma is not something that can be cured, but it can be treated.

The three stages of trauma treatment

There are three primary stages of trauma treatment: safety, stabilization, and integration. Each stage is vital to the healing process, and it is important to complete each stage before moving on to the next.

The first stage of trauma treatment is safety. This is the process of ensuring that the survivor has a physical and emotional space in which they feel safe. This may involve creating a safe home environment, removing oneself from harmful situations, or seeking professional help.

The second stage of trauma treatment is stabilization. This is the process of dealing with the immediate aftermath of the trauma and begin to address any short-term needs. This may involve seeking medical attention, getting support from friends and family, or taking time off from work or school.

The third stage of trauma treatment is integration. This is the process of putting the pieces of one’s life back together and rebuilding a sense of self. This may involve going back to work or school, reconnecting with friends and family, or starting new relationships.

The importance of self-care

The importance of self-care can not be overstated, especially when it comes to trauma. Trauma is a very real and serious issue that can have lasting effects on a person’s mental and emotional health. It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event. However, there are also many things you can do on your own to begin the healing process.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to develop a self-care routine. This may include things like exercise, journaling, spending time outside in nature, or meditating. It is important to find what works for you and to make self-care a priority in your life. It may seem like a lot of work, but taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.

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