Blogs


Notices

Addiction a disease

Old 01-06-2011, 07:40 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
Member
 
Thumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,444
I believe the physical dependency and brain changes are part of a disease process. It happens to people (but only some people), they have no choice in that.

Recovery is a choice. A choice that *every* human being can make if they want to regardless of what kind of addiction or chemical dependency related disease they have. This is where personal responsibility and being held accountable for their own behavior comes in IMO.

I agree that from my point of view (as a non-alcoholic living with one) it really doesn't matter all that much. I still have to determine what I am going to live with.

I've never lived with someone in true healthy active recovery or tried to navigate that path but I'm going to speculate that believing the above would some how grant the person some special considerations. Special consideration meaning me accepting or understanding their needs may be different then someone without alcoholism - not abusive behaviors. Similar to how someone with some other chronic disease may need special considerations at times. They may need to spend more time then your regular joe on personal needs to stay healthy for example. Our shared activities may at times be dictated by what they need to stay healthy - things like that. Another example. One of my kids has ADHD. He needs more time and less nagging. His brain is not going to change overnight. He'll need more time and less nagging tomorrow too. That is his special consideration but it is a choice (or something he's responsible to learn) that he doesn't get to flip out and take it out on anyone within reach when he gets overwhelmed. He also doesn't get to shirk responsibility because of it. But i have to understand that he can't always help it that he has to go upstairs 6 times to get both socks on. I can't hold that against him and be mad about it. I'm a work in progress on that front. Of course, he's my son, a child, and I'm not going to kick him out of the house but I may make the decision to never marry another adult with ADHD - especially one that refuses to acknowledge or deal with it! See - again - the recovery is a choice!
Thumper is offline  
Old 01-06-2011, 08:54 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
I do accept that it's a disease..I don't accept it as an excuse for bad behavior.....Last night on Celebrity Rehab Drew got pretty pissy with leif garret and was like"DO you see all those diplomas on the wall..I'm an expert in the disease YOU have..if you had heart disease and I was a heart specialist would you be arguing with me about your treatment?"That's the difference between this disease and others...the unwillingness to do what it takes to heal.
Obviously lots of people are wiling..but many.many are not!
keepinon is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to keepinon For This Useful Post:
kiki5711 (01-06-2011), Thumper (01-06-2011)
Old 01-06-2011, 09:10 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 9
A disease. My sister sees it as she is allergic to alcohol. I know when she is drunk she says nasty stuff to me that she never would say sober. Responsible or not? Yes and no. forgiven? yes but gee it still hurts.
Difference with a sister to a partner .. you can't give up on them.
brocat is offline  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:15 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Miles from Nowhere
Posts: 396
"It's the behavior that matters, and a disease is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior. I would not accept abusive behavior from someone just because they had cancer, so why would alcoholism be any different?"

Amen to that!

It's always bugged me because most of the time it is, or comes across as, an excuse for unacceptable behavior.
kudzujean is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to kudzujean For This Useful Post:
keepinon (01-06-2011)
Old 01-06-2011, 09:27 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 120
Originally Posted by keepinon View Post
Last night on Celebrity Rehab Drew got pretty pissy with leif garret and was like"DO you see all those diplomas on the wall..I'm an expert in the disease YOU have..if you had heart disease and I was a heart specialist would you be arguing with me about your treatment?"
Actually, if I had heart disease and my heart specialist was telling me I needed to do things that were scientifically unproven, I'd be arguing my head off.

The problem is that while I'm sure in time history will show that our treatments for heart disease are still rudimentary, our medical professionals are clearly on the right track when it comes to causality and treatment. When it comes to addiction, the current most popular treatment methods don't stand up to scientific/psychological scrutiny, have appalling success rates and way too often fail to address the medical facts that have been confirmed.
KittyP is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to KittyP For This Useful Post:
Verbena (01-09-2011)
Old 01-06-2011, 10:24 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
Member
 
BuffaloGal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wild West, USA
Posts: 407
I believe it's a disease b/c alcohol clearly does something for my aexh that it does not do for me. It makes me feel a little good, but more than 2 drinks and I start to feel rapidly less good and have no desire to imbibe any further. And I am 90% sure that I have that blasted alpha hydroxy whatnot enzyme deficiency. As little as 1/2 a glass of red wine makes my face look like a smiling tomato. But altered alcohol processing doesn't make me an alcoholic, so there must be something else.
BuffaloGal is offline  
Old 01-06-2011, 10:37 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
Member
 
Sean718's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
It's the behavior that matters, and a disease is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior. L
IMAO-It is a disease. I feel sorry for those that suffer. However, I agree w LTD, that it is not an excuse for bad behavior.
Sean718 is offline  
Old 01-08-2011, 11:52 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: ACT
Posts: 17
Addictive substances create long-lasting neural changes, this is why they are considered diseases. Particularly in the neural reward system and frontal lobes, affecting decision making, planning, focus, compulsive behaviours, memory, self-regulation etc.

Research suggests addictions have the same relapse rates and time-frames as other diseases. Some researchers suggest that chronic alcoholism 'tends' to have an 'average' 10-year life span. Of course nothing relates to every alcoholic.

Some people are more susceptible than others for various reasons, such as genetics, mental disorders. Teenagers for instance, are more susceptible as their brains are still growing - particularly the frontal lobes - meaning they are more likely to engage in risky behaviours and their brains may be more affected by addictive substances.

There is a lot of evidence to support the disease model. Pity it's not put out there more strongly.
Scooter77 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Scooter77 For This Useful Post:
bluebelle (01-09-2011), escape artist (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 12:33 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
Member
 
Taking5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LA - Lower Alabama
Posts: 5,069
Originally Posted by Scooter77 View Post
There is a lot of evidence to support the disease model. Pity it's not put out there more strongly.
Both the AMA and WHO recognize alcoholism as a disease. I don't know how much more strongly you can put it out there than that.
Taking5 is offline  
Old 01-09-2011, 06:47 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 120
Originally Posted by dgillz View Post
Both the AMA and WHO recognize alcoholism as a disease. I don't know how much more strongly you can put it out there than that.
Maybe due to the fact that that's an erroneous assumption. Neither of them list "alcoholism" as anything at all, in fact, and haven't for quite a long time. They have both removed the existence of such from the DSM-IV and the ICD-10.

AMA, lists alcohol abuse and dependence, the WHO describe "alcohol-harmful use" and "alcohol dependence syndrome." Both are listed in such a way that they are seen as far, far more akin to a self-inflicted injury, than what most people refer to, when they refer to a disease.

It's only when people start looking at the actual physical problems which alcohol causes to the brain that there can be genuinely effective treatments, most likely GABA(b) Agonists, alongside Thiamine and other necessary supplements. Once the physical damage has been effectively addressed, the cause which was at the root of the alcohol abuse can be addressed. And there has been no definitive proof whatsoever to show genetic predisposition. As it currently stands every study that shows genetic predisposition is countered by another that shows psycho-social reasons.

As I've mentioned it may well be that there may well be a genetic reasons which mean the GABA(b) receptors in some people can sustain less pressure than others. But there is absolutely no such things whatsoever as someone who is genetically predestined to alcoholism.
KittyP is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to KittyP For This Useful Post:
escape artist (01-09-2011), flutter (01-09-2011), Jackedjohn (01-09-2011), Jazzman (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 08:17 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
Member
 
coffeedrinker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,762
i did not buy into the "disease" thing when my xah did rehab many years ago. i thought it was a way of him feeling like he got dealt this hand and it wasn't really his fault -- based in a sense of shame.

then i came around to this notion. this is what started me on that path of thinking:

1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or
system of an organism resulting from
various causes,
such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental
stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.
2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal
and harmful
.
3. Obsolete. Lack of ease; trouble.

well, all of those apply.

why do some have a problem living with this idea? maybe they are angry.

if i have a disease, such as depression or diabetes, and i do not take responsibility for my treatment, then i have a disease, but am not doing the right thing, and causing trouble for those around me.
coffeedrinker is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to coffeedrinker For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 08:50 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
Member
 
Jackedjohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 97
Blog Entries: 1
I have a hard time with calling alcoholism a disease. When I was new and started doing step work (I have since slammed my foot on the brake with that) I was pointed out by the "long timer" that I used the word weak or personal weakness over and over. He told me that I wasn't weak that I was powerless. To him this seemed like a good thing. He compared alcoholism to diarrhea. Saying that the person who has it cannot stop it from coming... so its powerlessness not a weakness because no matter how hard you try... you can't stop it. I had so many objections to this analogy, but as a new guy just played along. As for blaming actions and words on alcohol... I've done and said things that were completely out of character. I didn't mean what I said or did, but the action of consuming the alcohol willingly puts the blame right back on myself. I take responsibility for what I did when I was drinking because I put the booze into me... not a disease. Alcohol is more like a horrible relationship than a disease. I was infatuated with "her" and "she" wasn't worth my time, but it took her taking advantage of me, stealing all my money, and making me act irrationally before I got out. Powerless over a disease is scary. A weakness that you can strengthen... much more positive for me. Best wishes.
Jackedjohn is offline  
Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
Starting over
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
Okay gang, kindly get back to the original question from the original poster.

Arguing with each other about which statistics are right and which are wrong belongs in a scientific journal, not here.

If you have personal experience on the subject, share it. Otherwise go find some other thread where you _do_ have experience.

Mike
Moderator, SoberRecovery
DesertEyes is offline  
Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: over the rainbow
Posts: 487
i don't know if anyone has ever witnessed a diabetic go into their diabetic seizure, but i will tell you the first time i witnessed it i likened it to the girl being POSSESSED. it was very scary and made me think that way back when in the dark ages, we probably were burning witches or saying they were possessed when we saw such things happen but didnt' know it was the disease of diabetes.

i think there has got to be a huge link though between alcohol, being a highly refined sugar and how it affects us. lots of recovering alcoholics Crave sugar. my mom who was a vitamin freak when i was a child would tell me if i was craving sweets i needed my b vitamins. thiamine is a b vitamin. i would like to advocate more research into this link, cause i know it has to be something there. diabetes and sugar, seizures and drunkeness. jmho.
escape artist is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to escape artist For This Useful Post:
wicked (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 09:47 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
Starting over
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
So here is _my_ experience, as a member of both al-anon and AA

Some people will use whatever excuse they came up with to justify their behavior. My father drank booze like a fish, was violent, abusive, irresponsible and ended up dying from complication of excessive alcohol consumption. Over the years he used the world "disease", "allergy", "compulsion" and many others to avoid being responsible for his actions. Those words never improved his life. Listening to those words never improved mine.

Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
.... I'd love to hear from anyone who is convinced it is a disease and why. ....
That's a trick question. What _exactly_ is the definition of "disease"? It's like asking "Is the sky blue?". Depends, at noon in the desert? At midnight? In Los Angeles under a blanket of smog?

Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
.... Did either of you watch the latest intervention?....
Breaking a little anonymity here, I used to do interventions for a living. Over the years I worked as a counselor at a number of hospitals, rehab units, methadone clinics and such. I am now retired from that profession. What you see in a few minutes of "intervention" on the TV is _worlds_ away from what happens in real life.

Here's a couple analogies that work for me.

I have a good friend who is allergic to peanuts. Very allergic. _One_ peanut, even a bit of peanut oil in a salad, and irreversible changes happen in his body. His throat swells to the point that it shuts off and he can't breathe. Once he's had the _first_ peanut, there is nothing he can do to stop the chemistry. Unless he gets paramedics to him in a big hurry he will die.

It's just chemistry.

Not that different from an alcoholic who takes the _first_ drink. There is nothing he can do to stop the chemistry.

I happen to have a heart condition. As long as I take my meds and follow docs orders my heart continues to pump. I can hold down a simple job at a desk, drive around town, and have an almost normal life.

However. I can choose to be arrogant. I can claim that I know more than my docs do about medications and heart conditions. I can claim that I am super-macho-man and _not_ take my medications. What will happen next is just chemistry. My blood pressure will swing from way high to way low and I will have a stroke, or maybe pass out, maybe even die.

What if I am driving a forklift at the shop when I have that stroke? I could hurt people, maybe even kill somebody.

Was it my "heart disease" that caused me to have a stroke and injure people with the forklift? No. It was not my "disease". It was my _arrogance_ and _selfishness_.

This is where the "disease concept" becomes important in my own life and recovery: Because of my heart condition I am not allowed to get in a hot tub, even if I take all my meds on schedule and do everything else the docs say. Yet I can get all arrogant and selfish and get in the hot tub _anyway_. I'll have a good time for a few minutes, but the people who love me will suffer the consequences.

The "disease concept" tells me that _I_ am responsible for my own health, and for the consequences of my actions. I _know_ what I need to do in order to maintain my health and life, and protect others around me. The "disease concept" tells me that a large number of medical experts have spent the last 70-some years determining what I need to do in order to protect myself and the people who love me.

If I choose to ignore those experts..... well then I am an arrogant fool and people are justified in staying away from me, maybe even locking me up so I don't hurt bystanders.

Oh, and yes, I am also an alcoholic

Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
....Suppose I was able to accept this as a disease. I can depersonalize even more and forgive everything that was done to me, further moving on. ....
Nah. You don't need to accept _anything_ to depersonalize. If I choose to be an arrogant, selfish fool I don't need to "accept" any disease to excuse being irresponsible. I'll just do what I please and poke around in your sensitive emotions to see whatever word or concept gets a rise out of you and then I'll use _that_ to manipulate you into feeling sorry for myself. You mentioned that you are an alkie, okay then, as one alkie to another, you know perfectly well that if you _wanted_ to manipulate something out of somebody you would find a way, any way. You wouldn't need any help from a "disease concept".

Mike
DesertEyes is offline  
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to DesertEyes For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (01-09-2011), Draciack (01-09-2011), flutter (01-09-2011), Freedom1990 (01-09-2011), jackien41 (01-10-2011), LexieCat (01-09-2011), theuncertainty (01-09-2011), wicked (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 09:50 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
i think there has got to be a huge link though between alcohol, being a highly refined sugar and how it affects us. lots of recovering alcoholics Crave sugar. my mom who was a vitamin freak when i was a child would tell me if i was craving sweets i needed my b vitamins. thiamine is a b vitamin. i would like to advocate more research into this link, cause i know it has to be something there. diabetes and sugar, seizures and drunkeness. jmho.
wow, this is very interesting escape artist. when i went to rehab, they gave us multis everyday (this was in an Army medical facility). And I went nowhere without a bag of Brachs Mix (chocolate covered goodies) in my cargo pocket of my uniform. Which was actually against regulations, but I put it down to keeping the natives quiet.
Cant have my booze? Gimme sugar!

Beth
wicked is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
escape artist (01-09-2011), theuncertainty (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 10:56 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
I like the way Mike explained it. It's true, in my experience and belief--the disease does not "excuse" what happens under the influence, and forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not for the person who has wronged us.

The one thing unique to addiction, of course, is that the brain changes interfere with the sufferer's ability to see the effect the addiction is having over him/her and his/her life and loved ones. Everything is skewed. That's where interventions do come into play in a useful way. If many people force you to consider something you cannot see for yourself, you may finally have to accept the possibility they are seeing a truth that you cannot.

I do believe alcoholism is a disease, an illness, a disorder or whatever. I don't believe people choose to become addicts or alcoholics. But some people are more willing than others to accept reality and the need to address the problem.
LexieCat is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
theuncertainty (01-09-2011), wicked (01-09-2011)
Old 01-09-2011, 11:05 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
Member
 
SoloMio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 1,114
Regarding the vitamin & sugar connection, I also think there can be a lot to that. Not the whole thing--but certainly a piece of the puzzle.

I personally feel that my AH has a type of craving that I have never experienced when it comes to alcohol. And that first drink sets off a biochemical (and behavioral) cascade.

But when armed with the knowledge of how he reacts in the presence of alcohol, he also has free will. One time he said "If I had cancer, you wouldn't judge me." And I said, "If you had cancer, you'd run for chemotherapy."

It's all about what we choose to do in the gap between knowledge and response.
SoloMio is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SoloMio For This Useful Post:
Jazzman (01-09-2011), wicked (01-09-2011)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:36 AM.