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OMG It IS a Disease

Old 05-10-2012, 06:56 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by djayr View Post
A's have this genetic, flawed alcohol processing system that makes them different physiologically than the other 90%+ of us.
I appreciate you pointing that out.

I had read an article a few years back where it had been discovered that alcoholics do indeed process alcohol differently than non-alcoholics.

It certainly made sense to me as a long-term recovering alcoholic, and as a recovering codependent.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:21 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Those are some of the most sensible posts I have seen here in a long time. IMHO Alcohol is an addictive drug, you drink too much, you get addicted.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:25 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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The fundamental problem lies in the definition of the various terms. Depending on what definition of "disease" is used you will get different answers from the medical research community.

The re-wiring of neural pathways is the way researches explain the behaviors shown by alcoholics. However, some people require those pathways to remain re-wired _permanently_ in order to call it a "disease", other people don't care if the pathways change after time.

A long time ago a philosopher by the name of William James figured out that people can have fundamental changes in personality. He also discovered two ways of causing those changes to happen, one is by abusing chemicals ( alcohol, mushrooms, etc. ) and the other is by a deep spiritual experience. Today they have figured out that abusing chemicals can cause re-wiring of the neural pathways, which leads to fundamental changes in personality. Science now has a more detailed explanation of those changes, but still no way to _cause_ those changes in a controlled manner across large segments of the population.

The comparison of alcohlism to cancer, diabetes, etc. is the same as comparing apples to oranges.
People who have alcoholism lie, cheat, steal and end up living on the street. Well, that's just a generalization, if you want to be scientific about it then you have to remove the "living on the street" part because alcoholics who have wealthy family members to support them do _not_ end up living on the street. There is also the problem that people without medical insurance who have a chronic disease, and no family, end up living on the streets.

Another problem is the "lie, cheat, steal" part. People with any of the various brain disorders will do exactly those behaviors. Anything from syphillis to brain tumors to dementia can cause weird behaviors in people, such as lying, cheating and stealing.

To complicate matters even more, it's not just _which_ kind of brain disorder that needs to be considered, it's what part of the brain is affected and how much. A brain tumor in one part of the brain may only cause problems with vision, but the same tumor in a different part ( like the frontal lobes ) will cause huge changes in personality. Even more complication is added by how long the damage has been present.

One easy way to get a grasp on the complexity of the problem is to go interview the families of people with late-stage alzheimers, or frontal lobe cancer. Ask them the same questions: Does your loved one steal? Lie? Cheat? You will get much the same answers as you do the families of alcoholics. People with alzheimers will physically beat a child, so do alcoholics.

Hiding underneath all the scientific research is a more fundamental question. The one that SoberRecovery attempts to address: Does the behavior of your loved one cause you harm?

The fact that there are changes in the brain when a person abuses chemicals does _not_ eliminate the pain felt by the family. Figuring out that people with alzheimers, or alcoholism, have changes in their brain does _not_ relieve the fear in children, or protect them from harm.

The objective behind pointing out that alcoholism is a "disease", much like alzheimers, or frontal lobe cancer, is to get familiy members to put physical distance between themselves and the person with dangerous brain damage. It is not physically safe, never mind emotionally safer, to try and reason with a person that has a brain disease of this type. People with this particular type of brain damage are dangerous and you need to get away from them.

After you are at a safe distance you can then see what medical resources are available.

To summarize: Before you invest in studying the medical literature, before you sink into a pit of denial disguised as intellectual investigation, protect the lives of your children and your own. Worry about the "disease" later, first get yourself and your children safe.

Here on SoberRecovery we have very few members who are medical professionals investigating chemical disorders of the brain. We do have about 80 thousand members who are in immediate danger of death, extreme physical harm, permanent disability, or if they are lucky only life-long emotional trauma. As you are reading this thread, right now, there are women being physically beaten, children texting us from the closet as they hear that, people writing to us from underneath the bed covers while the abuser sleeps beside them.

If you have immediate experience that will help these people survive then kindly share them. As far as technical discussions on the minutiae of brain disorders this thread has served it's purpose and has no further merit in the matter of protecting lives on this forum. Kindly take that discussion elsewhere.

This thread is now closed.

Mike
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