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Here's one article I read. . .

Old 08-06-2007, 08:25 PM
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Here's one article I read. . .

Addictions Are About Behavior, Not Disease





When it comes to thinking about addiction, opinions converge. Having bought into the addiction industry's mantra, so-called social progressives and conservatives alike share the same ideological hangover from the Prohibition era, with a twist of AA sadism: all are religious about abstinence, and all accept as bible from Sinai the wisdom of coercing addicts into treatment regimens. But perhaps the greatest error made in the attempt at humane formulations about addiction is to cast as a disease what is essentially a problem of behavior.



The dangers of gathering more and more behaviors under the disease label is not something pharmacology moguls, politicians or health care professionals ruminate about, despite the ramifications for a society already committed to a morality lite and to diminished personal responsibility. In his book Diseasing of America, addiction researcher Stanton Peele breaks with this tradition. Disease conceptions of misbehavior are bad science and morally and intellectually sloppy, argues Peele. "Once we treat alcoholism and addiction as diseases, we cannot rule out that anything people do but shouldn't is a disease, from crime to excessive sexuality to procrastination."



While the application of the medical disease model to addictions was developed to "remove the stigma from these behaviors", there is no genetic marker for alcoholism or drug addiction. Still, the misconception that these behaviors are linked to a genetic vulnerability is aired repeatedly by the media, in the absence of evidence. The rationale for using the disease model to describe addiction even though it is intellectually dishonest is that medical treatment is effective.



Yet another deception. An overview of controlled studies indicates that "treated patients do not fare better than untreated people with the same problems." Of note is a 4500-subject-strong 1996 US epidemiological study conducted by the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiological Survey. Treated alcoholics, it was found, were more heavily alcohol dependent on average than untreated alcoholics. Clearly a behavioral problem cannot be remedied by medical intervention. Addicts are cured when they decide to give up the habit.



The disease conception of addiction acts to isolate the noxious behavior from the person. Thus when we claim that drugs, much like the flu, "get a hold" of you, we conveniently deflect from that which mediates behavior: personality, values, character or lack thereof. Once someone becomes involved with drugs, we explain everything they do by saying it was due to the drugs, forgetting, in the process of this circular argument, that the source of the addiction is the person and not the drug. An honest look at drug-use means we cannot separate it from the person.



Heroin addicts are thus highly disposed to having social problems even before they become addicted, and truancy and smoking behavior serve as good predictors of future drug use.



With the disease label as a protective rampart, addicts have taken to comparing their "disease" with having, let's say, diabetes or cancer. How opting to shoot up for the first time, then doing it again, then stealing to get some, even breaking and entering mimic the organic disease process in cancer or diabetes is unclear.



As Peele explains, addictive disorders are known only by the behaviors they describe. In the absence of the ongoing behavior there is no way of telling whether the person is, or will be addicted. "By claiming that alcoholics are alcoholics even if they haven't drunk for fifteen years, alcoholism is made to seem less tied to drinking behavior and more like cancer." But "a person does not get over cancer by stopping a … behavior"…while "the sole and essential indicator of successful remission of alcoholism is that a person ceases to drink".



It is unfortunate that the various preventive programs school kids are exposed to are delivered by equivocating addicts-***-activists who conveniently convey that "It" can happen to anyone, that kids have little control and that once diagnosed as an addict, always an addict. This sets in motion--where there is already some drug use--a self-defeating cycle of abstinence and relapse, not to mention an overall rise in drug related involvement.



Most youngsters outgrow their occasional binges and turn into responsible adults. For doing what they do as a rite of passage, teens and college students do not deserve to be labeled diseased. What they do need is to be held accountable for their behavior. Failure to hold the person who strays responsible for his actions means that you cannot credit the person who doesn't. That's the logic of diminished responsibilities all round.



For the rest, the lingering paranoia of the temperance and prohibition era, which has culminated in AA disease dogma, should be consigned to the historical dustbin.





©2000 by Ilana Mercer

The Calgary Herald

June 22
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:46 PM
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I sometimes go back and forth on the disease thing. One thing I know is the reason it's called a disease is because it only gets worse until treated!
It spreads to other family too. The family gets just as sick at the addict.

I's an addiction. It's a compulsion. I feel it's a disease, but a mental and spiritual disease. With addiction as the core, the body develops other problems like sirossis, heart disease, and such because the addict wears himself out with his compulsion.

That's my 2 cents!
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by newblue82 View Post
Addicts are cured when they decide to give up the habit.
Hm, my AD says she will never be cured. Well, not until she dies, she says.


Originally Posted by newblue82 View Post
Most youngsters outgrow their occasional binges and turn into responsible adults.
Yes, that's because they aren't addicts. Thank God MOST are not.

Originally Posted by newblue82 View Post
©2000 by Ilana Mercer
Wonder where Mercer gets his/her info? Wonder if he/she is addicted? I know I tend to believe the person who is experiencing the problem (in this case, I say "disease") instead of the person who just writes about it from other's viewpoints.

Can't wait for the addicts/alcoholics to chime in on this one.
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Old 08-07-2007, 03:31 AM
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The American Medical Association considers addiction a disease of the mind, spirit and body. That's good enough for me.

Disease or not, addiction kills and truly affects each person who loves an addict. That's why we are here.

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Old 08-07-2007, 05:04 AM
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Like anything else, our society tries to file addiction/alcoholism under one neat label. Even though the effects of addiction on family and friends and usually very similar, the reasons for the addiction, genetic predisposition, recovery or lack there of, are as different as people are. For example, years ago I had a girlfriend who was in the beginning stages of alcoholism. She had resigned herself to the fact that she was going to end up "sitting at a bar counting her pennies". This was 25 years ago, and from what I hear, she is doing just that, as well as now being into heroin. This was a woman with a good job, great husband, nice home, etc. She eventually lost her marriage because she refused to stop going to bars. I had another friend who also "had it all". She came from a great family and, again, had the job, marriage, home. She went from going out for a few after work to carrying vodka in her water bottle at work. She lost most of her liver and is living in borrowed time. She was the classic denial case, who never admitted her problem until she became physically ill. Now, take my XAH. He comes from an extremely dysfunctional family. (They are so bad, if they made a soap opera about them it would make Jerry Springer's guests seem like Ward and June Cleaver.) With or without drugs and alcohol, he and his siblings are for the most part socially and morally inept due to their awful upbringing.
Woman number one was totally different from number two. You could almost see her making the decision on where her life was headed, and she used everything and anything to get high as the mood struck her. Number two was, IMO, unable to stop drinking until her life depended on it. But she never used any other substances. My XAH absolutely, positively, made a choice to abuse alcohol and drugs ~ I know, I was there. Could he stop now? I doubt it. Not unless he hit bottom and decided he wanted to go up to the light again.
Finally, take me. I knew all these people because at one time, I was a party girl. I drank with the best of them, and drank quite a few under the table. But for whatever reason, I stopped. My body and mind had enough. I became too afraid of the consequences of my behavior. Now if I have a dozen drinks a year, thats going some.
So why can one person stop and others not? Why did my XAH make a choice to use? Why did it take girl number two a brush with death to stop drinking? How could girl number one actually predict her future and not try and change it? To me the answer lies in that grey area. Sure, there is choice involved. I think sometimes we do give our addicts a bit too much of a free pass by not acknowledging their free will. But on the other hand, what else but an uncontrollable disease would cause someone to almost lose their life in search of a drink? Or a drug?
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:16 AM
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"Heroin addicts are thus highly disposed to having social problems even before they become addicted, and truancy and smoking behavior serve as good predictors of future drug use."
Then my daughter must be the exception. Graduated 6th in her class from high school. Never missed a day of work until she started using. Never smoked a cigarette in her life. And there are many more kids like her who are addicts. Either they are the exception or his generalization is way off the mark.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:57 AM
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addiction a disease of the mind, spirit and body

This says it all: mind=behavior and/or mental illness, spirit=psychological, and body =physiological. It takes over all of a person. It is a disease in that it progresses, a mental illness in that their behavior's started them on the path and their behaviors continue them on that same path, and I've read it is an "allery" to some--that's why some can party and move on, other stay trapped.

Whatever you want to call it is sucks, destroys lives and could easily become the downfall of our nation.

In my opinion for what it's worth! I still don't understand, but try!
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:32 AM
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Hey Blue,

Thanks for posting this. I may not agree with everything the author said, but until someone finds a "cure", I think it is essential to always have an open mind and explore all avenues. I'm glad we have this forum like this where we can all share our experiences and ideas in an open discussion.

One problem I have is that we commonly hear that addiction is a disease, yet we treat that disease as a behavioral problem that the addict must resolve him/herself. We say the disease is in control, but then we say that our addicts won't get better until they choose to change their behavior, whether they do it alone, with a support group, or a through professional treatment program. So I guess my question in all this is, what benefit is there in declaring addiction a "disease" if we don't treat it as one?

I personally feel that the commonly used comparisons to cancer or diabetes bring about more confusion rather than understanding of a complicated disorder. If comparison to a recognized disease is appropriate, I think Alzheimer's or autism may be a closer match. The person we know and love is lost to a disease that manifests itself in destructive, hurtful, unacceptable behaviors from someone that we don't even recognize anymore. Those who love them undergo the exhaustive, painful, and expensive task of caring for and trying to find treatment to reach their friends and family members who are lost in their disease. Obviously, the problem with this analogy is that people with Alzheimer's and autism can't choose to get better as addicts can, and do, everyday. So there again, we're back to a behavioral issue.

But if recovery involves nothing more than behavioral modification, then addicts like your gf, who really wanted to change, wouldn't relapse if given adequate tools to make better choices. But they do relapse.

So clearly, it is more complicated than that. There appears to be a genetic component for some, an environmental component for others, and certainly a psychological component for many... or perhaps a combination of all of these. Researchers are working everyday to try to understand addiction. They have identified physiological changes in the brain. They have found that it does not simply involve a conscious decision when they go back to drugs after getting clean, but that triggers bombard the subconscious before any conscience thought comes into play. Given these factors and other recent research that I've heard, I do believe it is a disease... but... if we just grab hold of the "disease" label and dismiss any advancements or new ideas on TREATING it as a disease, then that label becomes pretty meaningless... IMO

Hugs,
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by marle View Post
"Heroin addicts are thus highly disposed to having social problems even before they become addicted, and truancy and smoking behavior serve as good predictors of future drug use."
Then my daughter must be the exception. Graduated 6th in her class from high school. Never missed a day of work until she started using. Never smoked a cigarette in her life. And there are many more kids like her who are addicts. Either they are the exception or his generalization is way off the mark.
Marle

yup...another exception...Genius IQ; talented equestrian; well rounded; honors student; full scholarship to college; loving home and friends....Never even had detention...

I think articles like this with no scientific info just nonsense lead to loved ones of addicts developing hate and toxic feelings rather than getting well and healing. And it creates a horrible horrible stigma for people who don't deserve the terrible way society treats them. If this author has his/her way, I guess the next step is to say that mental illness is just weak people who are trying to get attention and abused women just "ask for it"

I have avoided responding because i know this is a trigger...But at the same time I just can't let an article that I believe encourages negative and toxic beliefs against addicts go unanswered.

Newblue, I am not reacting negatively to you...I do understand why you posted this and that is cool...I just find the article so scary since people who don't know addiction can come away with troubling misconceptions.

At that same time...the responses here are awesome...It is apparent that folks here do understandaddiction. As I said int he other thread...naranon says it is a physical allergy coupled with an obsession of the mind" I don't think we as loved ones of addicts look at the disease model as an excuse for what is done...rather it helps us to understand that yes, even knowing...knowing that tainted heroin will kill, an addict struggling will go back out and take that risk and die. The obsession is distorting the thinking...the drugs damamge the neurons and all the other things in the brain...the addict's brain is just not the same...it is so devasting, this cunning and baffling disease. Even the addict will tell you he or she does not understand why.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:26 AM
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I have seen recoverying addicts who just quit using. If it was or is a disease then the cure was inside them the whole time, the ability to say no and to stop using. Or would that be called free will and thier will power in action. I think it is a combination of both free will and a disease. Like other mental diseases people know that what they are doing is wrong, that they can stop and should but they are too weak to control thier desires or they don't want to deny thier wants. On a social level we could think of all the deviant, nasty, criminal/sexual or otherwise as a disease because the person could not help themselves though they knew what they were doing was wrong but they just don't care that it is wrong enough not to do it. I think the disease is having the ability to determine what is wrong and what is right and thier inability to care about doing the right thing. I think the drugs do this to the addict which makes quitting even harder but ultimatley it is thier choice and only thier choice to be drug free that will save them. JMHO.

Last edited by Noah812; 08-07-2007 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:44 AM
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Addict chimming in here!!! I did not intend to get addicted to my drug of choice infact I never thought in a million years that I would be a drug addict. I thought I wasnt like all the "other" addicts. I never touched street drugs well pot I guess. I hated coke, heroin, x, crack you name it I hated it.

Then I started having chronic pain and my Dr trying to help me gave me some pain killers. I often wonder if he would have told me how addicting and how these could "possibly" take over your life, would I have filled that prescription? Well I filled it and I knew I was hooked after taking my first pill, that high, that sensation, that euphoric feeling I loved it, I craved it, I wanted to feel it again and again. Yet some others can take pain killers and they dont get that feeling.

Research has been done that some addicts lack a certain chemical make-up so they dont get that natural high that others get. So once we take the drug it releases that feeling and we like it so much that we keep taking the drugs to keep getting that feeling. I dont know if this is why it fits in the disease catagory. People with diabetes need insulin cause their body doesnt produce it. Just like addicts whose bodies dont produce the chemical that others have.

There is recovery out there and people do get clean and stay clean its seen all over this board. Is there relapse yes there is but there is also a sober life out there too. We can never loose hope that one day addicts will see that there is life outside of that feel good feeling that in the end you need more and more to feel it just takes over your mind/body/soul.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:01 PM
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I had a dream about smoking cigarettes last night and it was not the first nicotene drug dream either mind you. I loved smoking but my lungs hated me for it and it is such a nasty habit but i do encouraged smoking in my house whenever possible. lol
I certainly understand the mental aspect of addiction. I won't compare smoking to hard drugs, but the only time I have ever quit smoking or started smoking I made a concious choice in my head to do it and then let my free will do the rest. Its terrible the power we give to such nasty little habits.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:05 PM
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Yes I did choose to take the pills my Dr gave me yet I didnt think I would become addicted. Just like when I started smoking I never thought it would turn into a daily habit. You know like I would smoke one cigarette a week then it progressed and now I hate yet dont really know how to walk away from it. You know all the people that I starting smoking with either never took it up as a habit or quit. I often wonder how can they do that? Is it they dont have that addictive personality that I have? I dont know guess I may never know.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:22 PM
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Kj - I guess i am going to have to put warning labels on my posts. I am not talking about you taking something , under doctors orders to ease your pain and suffering. the fact that you became an addict is even more terrible because your addiction was brought on by your own suffering not your need to experiment with drugs. Some blame could be pointed at the doctor who should have moral boundaries when passing out prescriptions based on addiction probability. What is worse a life in pain or no life in another form of pain, addiction. I don't know.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:24 PM
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Oh Noah I wasnt replying that to you. I was infact agreeing with you. Sorry.
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Old 08-07-2007, 03:47 PM
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Well, I feel that it's both a choice and a disease. I just never think it's a good idea to sit on one side of the fence or the other in cases like these because it can lead to close-mindedness and as many of you say these cases vary on the drug and the individual. So no two people are exactly alike nor can they fit under a single label. Getting off the "boat" is important but so is understanding why they get on the boat in the first place. This can bring about preventative actions that help our addict(s) stay in recovery.

I don't dare assume that I know how an addict feels or their motives or what their logic is or what their biological make-up is but as was previously mentioned, we can't be as quick to say it's a disease if we continue to say it's a matter of an addict "choosing" to stop the "behavior". True only a disease of the mind and spirit could drive someone to continue to use to the brink of death or to the point of dying but I think the label disease involves something "involuntary" to which you have absolutely "no control". And yet we all say an addict can and has to choose to end the disease though there is a constant struggle to remain in recovery, the "choice" is always there.

It wasn't my intent to hurt, anger or frustrate any of you but rather I'm just trying to educate myself. I'm trying to understand the unexplainable so that I CAN move on. And thank you all so much for your input because I find it truly useful.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:36 PM
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I don't believe that my daughter was experimenting when she became an addict. I know that she was clinically depressed and suffered from anxiety and wanted relief. Just recently I went through a bout with terrible anxiety. It got so bad that it was affecting my life. I went to the doctor and was put on medication for it. I don't like the feeling when I first take it because I feel high. I have always hated not feeling normal, but the anxiety was so great that I was not feeling normal anyway. My medication is not supposed to be addicting and I know that I won't abuse it. My daughter thought that she had found a solution to her problems when she snorted that first oxy. She told me it did not make her high, it just made her feel normal. Now she uses to not be sick and to not feel the destruction that she has caused. So there is something in her brain that is different from the something in my brain. I don't like the feeling of being high, she sees it as making her normal. The one thing I do know since this anxiety attack is I have so much more compassion for her. And now she has put herself into that vicious cycle where she uses to reduce the depression and anxiety and when she stops the depression and anxiety become overwhelming. I don't know the answer to her addiction but I know it was not a choice for her to become an addict. It was more self-preservation, self-medicating. So I believe in the chemical imbalance theory of addiction. And since we say that anxiety is a disease and I believe that chemical imbalances can cause that, then I say that people who are self-medicating have a disease. A disease called addiction. Multi-layered needing a multi-layered approach. Hugs, Marle
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:46 PM
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Just like any other organ in the body can become diseased, addiction causes a diseased brain with predictable symptoms and progression. It may be a choice to start using drugs + alcohol but if used to chronic levels the brain will become diseased and maladaptive.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:11 PM
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I look at it both ways. I think for some it is a disease, For some it is behavioral.
When I look back when I was a teen I started to smoke a little because it was the cool thing to do with all of my cool friends. Well, when I reached the ripe old age of 20 I decided not to smoke anymore, so I just quit. Did I have a problem doing that.......not even one. When I have had past surgeries the doctors gave me pain meds. I took a few here and there and I didn't like how they made me feel. Suffered through most of my pain with extra strength tylenol because I refused the pain meds. So, why do some people get addicted to the pain meds and I didn't like them and didn't even want to take them? My daughter tells me that some people can pick up heroin and use it and put it down without a problem. Others are hooked from the start. She has seen this first hand.
Some have a disease and for others it is behavioral.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:18 PM
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My daughter chose to self medicate for bi-polar. If she would stay under doctors care and take the prescribed meds for this maybe she wouldn't be in the place that she is in today.
I understand what Marle is saying about her daughter. Our daughters situations are similar. It makes me think how many others are self medicating.
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