The Myth of Normal

Trauma, Illness, and Healing in
a Toxic Culture

In this encompassing book, Gabor Maté eloquently, with laser sharp insights and in a broad context outlines how in Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare, advances in science and technology, mental wellbeing is on sharp decline while chronic illness and general ill health are on the rise. Two thirds of population are on prescription drugs; adolescent mental illness is on the rise. So what is really “normal” when it comes to health? Over four decades of clinical experience, Gabor Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as abnormal, 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, mental wellbeing, emotional balance and spiritual freedom.


For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses the body and the immune system, overburdens the mind and undermines our emotional balance. Body-mind unity approaches have been surviving on the fringe at the offices of side-lined, alternative practitioners. Gabor 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.

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