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Old 09-01-2006, 12:05 AM
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Discussing the disease concept of alcoholism

A summary of arguments about the disease concept (DC) of alcoholism

DC Advocates:
  • The addiction disease concept should be embraced for both its social and
    personal utilities.
  • It conveys the seriousness of alcoholism/addiction to those suffering from it and to the public at large.
  • It designates public health authorities as the agents responsible for the prevention and treatment of the condition and encourages the development of local facilities for the treatment of addiction.
  • The DC replaces moral censure and criminal punishment of the alcoholic/addict with unprejudiced access to health care institutions. It relieves guilt and increases help-seeking behavior.
  • The DC provides an organizing construct through which the addicted client, his or her care providers, and those in the wider family and social environment can understand the nature of his or her problem (disease), the manifestations of that problem (symptoms), the potential causes of that problem (etiology), the natural evolution of that problem (course), interventions that are available to diminish or eliminate this problem (treatment options), and the likely outcome of such interventions (prognosis).
  • The addiction disease concept is true and it works as an organizing construct for both the individual and society.

DC Critics:
  • The addiction disease concept has survived only because of its historically
    brief social utility and the interconnected organizational empire that continue to profit from it.
  • It should be abandoned because it is scientifically indefensible, fails to provide an adequate framework for prevention, strips the alcoholic/addict of freedom and responsibility, and is misapplied to types of alcohol/drug problems for which it is ill-suited.
  • Labeling alcohol/drug problems as incurable diseases is stigmatizing and dissuades many heavy drinkers from seeking help.
  • By restricting its definition of vulnerability for alcohol problems to a small group of alcoholic drinkers, the disease concept has allowed the alcohol/drug industries to escape culpability for their product and promotional practices.
  • The DC has led to the misdirection of public resources in the areas of research, prevention and the management of alcohol/drug problems.
  • The addiction disease concept is not true, does not work and is harmful to individuals and communities.
http:// www. bhrm.org/papers/Counselor3.pdf.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:19 AM
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I'm not sure what the 'concept' includes but the above list doesn't have much to do with what disease means or is.

For info here's the dictionary meaning from google:
dis·ease (dĭ-zēz')
n.
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.
I've skipped the obsolete meaning because it's obsolete!! Pathological means 'of the body' rather than inherent from birth or used in the negative setting of 'pathological liar'.

I have never yet seen a debate, discussion or dialogue that discusses the issues in reference to what disease actually means, well not on forums or from those against the disease concept, or from those pushing a 'concept' attached to the word disease.

I have however noted that research is busy simply doing what it does with any disease, investigation, theory, test, revisions, conclusions, questions, theories.....

The above is why I will no longer get involved with the concept others attach or the dignity given to that concept by arguing back as though it's in any way related to what disease is or means.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:54 AM
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I agree, actually. I think the summary I posted may be helpful in that it frames the viewpoints. But as you can see it is more for counselors and professionals -- a discussion of whether the disease concept is useful; i.e., what the end result of declaring addiction to be a 'disease' is.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:14 AM
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what the end result of declaring addiction to be a 'disease' is.
For the answer to that question I'd suggest the contents page of a journal!! It doesn't bare much resemblence to this debate and centres on the process of science. In fact I tried search terms of 'disease concept' and couldn't even find them discussed in journals for years.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Don S
I agree, actually. I think the summary I posted may be helpful in that it frames the viewpoints. But as you can see it is more for counselors and professionals -- a discussion of whether the disease concept is useful; i.e., what the end result of declaring addiction to be a 'disease' is.
It must be terribly frustrating to try and determine the "end result" of treatment for a condition you may not have.

Ultimately the end result needs be something the individual can accept as satisfactory for themselves and the realization of their own goals.

I appreciate the fodder you bring for discussion Don.
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Old 09-03-2006, 07:34 AM
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Stanton Peele kicks major @ss. God bless him....LOL
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Old 09-03-2006, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by windysan
Stanton Peele kicks major @ss.
So does Don S.
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Old 09-04-2006, 10:26 AM
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It's like a ghost town here...
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Old 09-04-2006, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob
It's like a ghost town here...
Hi Doorknob. I know. I'm still loitering around, thinking, figuring, processing, and all, because I've still got a drug problem. Still trying to work it through. Turning over new information all the time, wherever I can find it. There is notable progress. I'm not there yet. So I'm still here. It's good to hear your voice. Hope you are well...
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Don S View Post
People change when they want it badly enough and when they feel strong enough to face the challenge, not when they’re humiliated or coerced. An approach that empowers and offers positive reinforcement is preferable to one that strips the individual of agency.
I have found this to be true for me.
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:16 PM
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DK....the problem I'm having with that is that I am reading it to say if I cant stop it is because I don't really want it "bad enough" and I'm weak.

Surely that isn't the case?????
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:27 PM
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I see your point... but what might be another plausible explanation? And I wouldn't say that it is because of weakness, but definitely insufficient desire (for me anyway). The reason why I'm staying sober now is because I want to more than I want to use. Part of me wants to smoke pot, but more of me wants better...
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:20 PM
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Hmmm. Interesting read. I don't believe that all alcoholics and drug users necessarily binge after just one use-although one use DOES usually provoke further cravings.

I guess the cravings and the obsession and romanticizing about the drug is the "disease". But that does not excuse the individual from any harmful behavior he engages in while he's using, especially when they know the legal and financial consequences. Its up to the individual to make sure that they maintain priorities in life, and to see drug use as selfish and self-defeating. If they can still use occasionally, more power to them. But if they're plagued with cravings and withdrawal, it makes it hard to not eventually begin binging again, which makes the condition disease-like.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:23 AM
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I really miss Don S. Does he still go to SV? Lots of his posts were so thoughtful and insightful. Shame about his irrational hatred of AA.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for this thread. I am on day 38 without a formal group but with lots of support from this forum and some friends, and after lots of reading in non-AA types of writings.

It is very helpful for me to read through substantive discussion on the self propelled type of recovery/sobriety.

I have gained a lot from the written materials from Smart Recovery and LifeRing.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:11 AM
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Hi, Kindbird.

You many like reading the Keepers thread if you haven't already.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-recovery.html
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