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What makes a person addicted to alcohol?

Old 02-13-2011, 02:58 PM
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What makes a person addicted to alcohol?

What makes certain people addicted to alcohol and others not? Is it genetics or is it something that develops over a period of time? What does everyone think?
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:04 PM
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It's some of both. Some are predisposed to have an addictive personality and some become addicted over time. There is no question that alcohol is an addictive substance, and the longer one drinks, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. Some moreso than others.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:09 PM
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Nobody knows.

Based on my reading of what experts say, and my own observation, different people have different susceptibilities to alcoholism from the beginning. But not everyone who is susceptible is as easily susceptible. I know many people who report an extreme abnormal reaction to alcohol the first time they drank it. So that piece of it seems to be genetic.

For those who don't react in an extreme fashion from the beginning, it seems to take greater exposure to it before the addiction kicks in. For those people, obviously if they seldom had occasion to drink much, they wouldn't become addicted. So there might be cultural or environmental factors that lead people to drink enough that they do get addicted. (I'm one of those who always sort of had a tendency to overdo it, but it wasn't until I drank a lot for a long time that I think I truly became an alcoholic). In those instances, it can be very sneaky--you don't realize you're addicted until it's too late.

I think every alcoholic has some combination of genetics plus environment that adds up to alcoholism. It's just that the combination is different for different people.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:37 PM
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Mental illness, plain and simple!
If an addict were on a desert island with no booze or drugs, they would find something else to quash their pain.
It's not what they are addicted to, it's why they are addicted!
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:37 PM
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This is just my opinion based on a few alcoholics in my life. I think some people find that they like who they are and how they feel when they are drunk. I think it is why they drink. Because they don't like who they are when they are sober. I think that there is an underlying anxiety and strong compulsive tendencies. The alcohol medicates that. Eventually it becomes a physical addiction. I do also think there might be a physiological reaction to alcohol that not everyone has.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Summerpeach View Post
Mental illness, plain and simple!
If an addict were on a desert island with no booze or drugs, they would find something else to quash their pain.
It's not what they are addicted to, it's why they are addicted!
What tests are available to test for any mental illness?




Addiction to alcohol is caused by alcohol taking over the role of GABA at GABA complexes, the GABA that should be acting as the CNS's "brakes" stops functioning properly (the GABA receptor becomes down regulated) so a chemical dependency is formed.

Suddenly stopping alcohol leaves the CNS without "brakes" and causes a whole slew of physical (and consequently mental) symptoms we know and love as WITHDRAWALS.

Taking more alcohol staves off the withdrawals and often leads to a pleasurable "over sedated" state. We come to associate, both consciously and unconsciously, this "pleasure" and "removing of withdrawals" with alcohol use, why would anyone stop doing what gives them pleasure and removes pain (withdrawal)?





Before anyone jumps in with "you're not a doctor comments" study up on GABA alcohol interaction and pleasure reward models. It's fact, not idle speculation.



MHH
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:36 PM
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The Evil Alcohol Fairy

When the little baby is left alone in the crib, the EVIL ALCOHOL FAIRY comes in the window and casts a spell!
She then leaves and goes to the next child. This is why it can run in families.
Unlike Santa, she cannot visit each child on the one night, hence the unpredictability of where the EVIL ALCOHOL FAIRY will strike next.
Really.:rotfxko
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:18 PM
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duq...

...what Holly is saying in a somewhat jaded fashion, is that nobody knows and it doesn't matter. The theories around it are many but, again, nobody knows and it doesn't matter.

It is what it is, they are what they are, we don't cause it, we can't control it, and we can't cure it.

I'd suggest to you that you stop trying to understand alcoholism, and start working on understanding yourself in the context of the alcoholic(s) you find in your life. There are people out there who won't, for even a second, enable an alcoholic or stay with one for even a second as a significant other. They know something we don't know.

What that something is? That's what you might consider trying to understand. Alanon, ACOA, and getting counseling for codependency issues is a good place to start.

Take care, take what you want, and keep the rest.

Cyranoak
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
...what Holly is saying in a somewhat jaded fashion, is that nobody knows and it doesn't matter. The theories around it are many but, again, nobody knows and it doesn't matter.

It is what it is, they are what they are, we don't cause it, we can't control it, and we can't cure it.

I'd suggest to you that you stop trying to understand alcoholism, and start working on understanding yourself in the context of the alcoholic(s) you find in your life. There are people out there who won't, for even a second, enable an alcoholic or stay with one for even a second as a significant other. They know something we don't know.

What that something is? That's what you might consider trying to understand. Alanon, ACOA, and getting counseling for codependency issues is a good place to start.

Take care, take what you want, and keep the rest.

Cyranoak
They know nothing more than we do! Healthy people fall in love with sick people all the time.
It's human nature to try to understand something. Freud made a career in trying to understand the human mind.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by myheadhurts View Post
What tests are available to test for any mental illness?




MHH
There is no test, but because you can see it on a test, doesn't mean it isn't there.
Most addicts suffer some form of mental illness. Anxiety, depression, bi polar, sociopath, narc etc.......
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:42 PM
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Fair enough Summer. Let me rephrase it from they know something we don't know-- rather, they are capable of not enmeshing themselves with alcoholic addicts. That's what I am trying to learn, and what I think would help anybody else like me. The understanding of that concept and trying to solve for it.

I don't mean they don't fall in love with alcoholic addicts, I mean they don't continue the relationships in a codependent, controlling, enabling fashion.

Also, my need to understand everything ruined my life until I recovered from my need to understand everything. Human condition or not, I consider my former need to understand everything a character defect, and I'm thankful it's been lifted from me.

As for Freud? There's no question he was a genius. He was also a cocaine addict, had profound issues in his personal life, and committed suicide with morphine when he found out he had cancer.

Take care,

Cyranoak
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:56 PM
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I think I'm just trying to get a better understanding of why I didn't pick up on someone's alcoholism sooner and why I let things go so long. I understand it takes two to tango and I played a HUGE part in enabling someone and I made the choice to stay which is probably a big flaw within myself. I just never understood the disease, I was so ignorant and I still am somewhat. I am going to Al-Anon this week to uncover all of these things in a better light.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:56 PM
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Here ya go, you may find excerpts online or in SR, there is info about it there.

Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism by Ketcham and Milam

And there is no such thing as a bad question esp on a forum.

Sometimes asking a question, is just that.. quite a stretch to assume that asking a question is a sign of enabling and a path to emotional self destruction.

Like Freud said, 'sometimes a cigar is just a cigar'.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:01 PM
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No idea.....my sister is an RA, and I was never addicted and can drink half a glass of wine and leave the rest.

Maybe someday we'll have more answers........

Hugs, HG
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:05 PM
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Like Freud said, 'sometimes a cigar is just a cigar'.
and as a drunk (me) once said, "sometimes a drunk is just a drunk."

why I didn't pick up on someone's alcoholism sooner and why I let things go so long.
maybe this is what you seek. why didnt i see it? and if i did sense it somehow, why did i let it go on?

i know that i have no tolerance for it now. none.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
Fair enough Summer. Let me rephrase it from they know something we don't know-- rather, they are capable of not enmeshing themselves with alcoholic addicts. That's what I am trying to learn, and what I think would help anybody else like me. The understanding of that concept and trying to solve for it.

I don't mean they don't fall in love with alcoholic addicts, I mean they don't continue the relationships in a codependent, controlling, enabling fashion.

Also, my need to understand everything ruined my life until I recovered from my need to understand everything. Human condition or not, I consider my former need to understand everything a character defect, and I'm thankful it's been lifted from me.

As for Freud? There's no question he was a genius. He was also a cocaine addict, had profound issues in his personal life, and committed suicide with morphine when he found out he had cancer.

Take care,

Cyranoak
I'm a Natural Health Practitioner working with an ND in a private natural health clinic and many of our patients are psychologist and psychatrists heading the psych units of large hospitals.
These people are the most disturbed people I ever met. They come to the clinic cause they want a natural way to heal their addictions, depression and anxiety while they drug their patients up with pharm meds and treat them for mental illness.
I agree, the "Freud's" of the world are "mad"
Now having said that, the majority of people are not the "Freud's".

If anyone stays with a seriously abusive person (addict or not), they are also mentally not well.
Sure, we all have a "bottom", I look at women who stay with men who punch them in the face and cheat over and over and I judge and think they are crazy. Then my friends who see I stayed with a guy who verbally abused me twice, think I was nuts! My ex cheated ONCE and I left! Am I codie? According to Melody I am!
I think I just loved a guy who struggled.
I think we just get stuck!

Sometimes someone can go into a relationship mentally "ok" and not know what hit them, and by then, you love deeply and it's tough to get out.
Sure, we attract who we feel we deserve, but it doesn't mean everyone with an addict is a codie. I am actually starting to resent that word since every human has "codie" behaviours

Love is messy, even though some say love does not hurt. HOGWASH, love hurts, feel good and is confusing.
Uncondional love doesn't hurt, but no one can love a human uncontionally, not even mother/child!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:25 PM
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I feel that it is especially easy to get stuck in a bad relationship when someone alters who they really are SO MUCH at the beginning. Basically fakes who they are so so bad that when their true self comes out months or years later, you are so blindsided and the damage has already been done. Or at least that was the case with me. I didnt even have time to blink, it happened so fast and here I am now. I got out, but my head is still spinning.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:42 PM
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My ex didn't trick me, but I certainly had no idea he was an alcoholic. He wasn't mean, or crazy or did anything strange. There were red flags, but heck, we are both over 40, who the heck doesn't have some red flags after this age?!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:58 PM
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I second summer's post. I never like to lable someone codie for lots of reasons. Loving someone who drinks in and of itself doesn't make someone co-dependent.

I think dysfunction is often mistakenly seen as co-dependency but it isn't. People get into relationships not wanting to see faults or 'red flags' and then pay the price. I probably am guilty of that and have been (as have most people).

I fell for the RABF long before he had drinking issues. Got together while he was doing great in recovery then saw how challenging things were going to be when he relapsed but he got back up again. I am willing to see if he can turn his life around. I do take care of myself AND I stay supportive of his recovery work. That to me isn't co-dependency.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:01 PM
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i don't mean to label people, and if i did i apologize. i was labeling behaviors in the context of my experience with alcoholics, with myself, and from duq's other posts. nor do I mean that everybody here is codependent, enabling, or controlling.

I would argue that, at any given time, many (but not all) of the people on this board are exhibiting one or more of these behaviors in their personal lives. I would also argue that, rarely, do these behaviors improve our lives and situations.

i will also front that i, personally, am codependent and controlling and in recovery for that. i also used to be an enabler, but have completely recovered from that. in fact, i may have over-corrected, but only because when in doubt i don't help.

so, to summer who I respect a great deal but am pretty certain i've pissed off at least twice, and also the rest of you, please note that when I use these terms I don't mean to offend and i don't mean to label specific people. again, i apologize if i offended or hurt anybody here.

cyranoak

p.s. i, of all people, have no business labeling other people.
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