Root causes of addictions examined

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addiction More than 300 health-care professionals heard Friday how strengthening families can help battle addictions before they happen.

The participants, who came from as far away as Mississauga took part in the fourth annual Chatham-Kent Addictions Awareness Conference, held at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre.

Guest speaker Dr. Gabor Maté, making his second trip to the podium over the years, addressed the gathering with his speech on the Biology of Loss: What happens When Attachments are Impaired and How to Foster Resiliance.

Maté believes early childhood development and how negative – or the lack of sufficient positive – childhood experiences can ultimately lead to future development disorders. Those could include Attendion Deficit Disorder, Opositional Defiant Disorder, or other mental health issues.
Maté told the gathering to help a child, one has to help the parent or guardian.

“If you want to help the child, you have to help the parents. A child depends on the parent to regulate emotions. You help the child by helping to take stressors away from the parents,” he said.
Kristen Williams with the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres (CKCHC), said Maté’s speech was engaging.

“He’s a great speaker. Last time we had him, people came up and said for us to bring him back,” she said.
Mike Hannon of the Westover Treatment Centre, said Maté illustrates how society tends to treat the wrong end of addiction.

“Dr. Maté is saying that a supportive family can help prevent future addiction,” he said.
Williams said the goal is to shift that focus. Help the family and you essentially pre-treat a possible addiction.

“The stigma is they’re bad people,” Hannon said about addicts. “Dr. Maté is saying they’ve acquired bad strategies.”

Westover offers a two-stage co-dependency program, Hannon said, where the addiction is treated, and clients also receive support in terms of family relationships and issues.

Williams described the program as “amazing.”

Friday’s conference – which is put on my the CKCHC as well as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Mental Health & Addictions Program, Canadian Mental Health Association and Westover Treatment Centre – was essentially a sell out, something Williams said seems to happen each year.

The conference’s purpose is to provide ongoing education to service providers, as well as community members, in regards to addiction. The conference addresses the root causes of addiction, one of which – a dysfunctional upbringing – was addressed by Maté.

This year’s conference theme was family restoration for the next generation.

 

Friday’s conference – which is put on my the CKCHC as well as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Mental Health & Addictions Program, Canadian Mental Health Association and Westover Treatment Centre – was essentially a sell out, something Williams said seems to happen each year.

The conference’s purpose is to provide ongoing education to service providers, as well as community members, in regards to addiction. The conference addresses the root causes of addiction, one of which – a dysfunctional upbringing – was addressed by Maté.

This year’s conference theme was family restoration for the next generation.

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