By the acclaimed author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a groundbreaking investigation into the causes of illness, a bracing critique of how our society breeds disease, and a pathway to health and healing.
In this revolutionary book, renowned physician Gabor Maté eloquently dissects how in Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare systems, chronic illness and general ill health are on the rise. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug; more than half take two. In Canada, every fifth person has high blood pressure. In Europe, hypertension is diagnosed in more than 30 percent of the population. And everywhere, adolescent mental illness is on the rise. So what is really “normal” when it comes to health?
Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance. Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society—and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Co-written with his son Daniel, The Myth of Normal is Maté’s most ambitious and urgent book yet.
Dr Gabor Maté (CM) is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health.
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, he is a survivor of the Nazi genocide. His maternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz when he was five months old, his aunt disappeared during the war, and his father endured forced labour at the hands of the Nazis.
He emigrated to Canada with his family in 1957. After graduating with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a few years as a high school English and literature teacher, he returned to school to pursue his childhood dream of being a physician.
Maté ran a private family practice in East Vancouver for over twenty years. He was also the medical co-ordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital for seven years. Currently he is the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and resource centre for the people of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Many of his patients suffer from mental illness, drug addiction and HIV, or all three.
Most recently, he has written about his experiences working with addicts in In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
He made national headlines in defense of the physicians working at Insite (a legal supervised safe injection site) after the federal Minister of Health, Tony Clement, attacked them as unethical.