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Addiction vs. disease

Old 06-06-2009, 08:20 AM
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Addiction vs. disease

What does this mean to you? Gneiss' thread has inspired me to make this thread. I need something to think about today so I'll throw this out there.

I believe I have addictions, not diseases. I smoke cigarettes which is an addiction not a disease. I can choose to drink alcohol, which to me is another addiction and not a disease. Both will lead to disease for sure. Neither are good and to be avoided. Both of these substances will alter levels of neurotransmitters in my brain. Addiction, I guess, could be said to be a disease of the brain, although I am still fuzzy on this. No one ever says "I have the disease of smoking," and smoking will put holes in your brain too.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:23 AM
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The camps are pretty divided on the "disease" issue from what I can tell. Maybe it's easier for some to accept their addiction if they think of it as a disease...IDK. Anyway, I prefer to think of it as just an addiction and that I am 100% responsible for it.

Get ready for a wild ride on this one, Katie.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
The camps are pretty divided on the "disease" issue from what I can tell. Maybe it's easier for some to accept their addiction if they think of it as a disease...IDK. Anyway, I prefer to think of it as just an addiction and that I am 100% responsible for it.

Get ready for a wild ride on this one, Katie.
Thanks for the heads up, Suki. I just think it's important as to how we define what I just loosely refer to as my condition. That much I know for sure. BTW, I find it much easier to accept it as an addiction. After consuming too much alcohol over time, cellular adaptation occurs, hence the addiction. I too want to be responsible for my condition.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:37 AM
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Good points Katie. Its actually ironic that many people who believe that addiction is a disease are the first ones to say that relapse and recovery are choices. If all it takes to be sober is "wanting" it bad enough, then how does the disease come into play?
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Good points Katie. Its actually ironic that many people who believe that addiction is a disease are the first ones to say that relapse and recovery are choices. If all it takes to be sober is "wanting" it bad enough, then how does the disease come into play?
Tough question but good question. I'll let bigger brains answer this one
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:54 AM
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I don't know...i guess i can see both sides...i usually work within the diseaase concept...

bottom line is i really don't care what others call it, and i just have an idea in my mind of what i think i'm dealing with that makes since to me.

choice and responsibility are two different issues for me....I am responsible regardless of wether or not i have a choice...

focusing on the misapplications of how others use concepts and words is only helpful to me if it is done in order to understand what i believe.

i think it is really good to put some thought into how you see this aclhohoism/addiction stuff and sorting out how to find your path through it all
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
I don't know...i guess i can see both sides...i usually work within the diseaase concept...

bottom line is i really don't care what others call it, and i just have an idea in my mind of what i think i'm dealing with that makes since to me.

choice and responsibility are two different issues for me....I am responsible regardless of wether or not i have a choice...

focusing on the misapplications of how others use concepts and words is only helpful to me if it is done in order to understand what i believe.

i think it is really good to put some thought into how you see this aclhohoism/addiction stuff and sorting out how to find your path through it all
Thanks, ananda. I guess whatever works for someone is whatever works. But it really is important to recovery. If I believe I have something over which I make a choice, then I am not powerless. Ok, that eliminates one recovery path. So it is important to me. Also, I hate to think of myself as "diseased." Now, I do have asthma (and smoke - stupid!) and that is a chronic disease. I have to take medication for this in order to live. Disease. Not so with alcohol. All I have to do is to not drink it to live. Huge distinction. I guess I think all of this is an important distinction.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Katie09 View Post
I can choose to drink alcohol, which to me is another addiction and not a disease.
Yes, but can you choose to not drink alcohol? If so, then why are you still drinking? Why are you strugling with sobriety? Just choose not to.

I don't think it matters one bit whether you view addiction as a disease or not. What helps me recover is knowing the facts about my own experience with alcoholism. A real turning point for me was knowing for sure what unbearable consequences I faced if I drank, and knowing with absolute assurance that I was going to drink.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Katie09 View Post
Hey, thanks for weighing in. Again, welcome! But I must say so does smoking in what I bolded. And yet no one calls it a disease.
I don't believe alcoholism is a disease, I believe it's an addiction. I see what you're saying about smoking also.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweets79 View Post
I don't believe alcoholism is a disease, I believe it's an addiction.
Yup, we do agree
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:06 AM
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Katie...just so you know the AMA considers smoking and alcoholism the same "disease".

The adoption of the word "disease" by the AMA is quite controversial and has an interesting history if you want to google it.

The following is a letter submitted to the AMA and their reply...

> The following information was submitted:
>
> Comment: By what criteria does the AMA base their
> "endorsement" of
> alcoholism/drug addiction as being a "disease" in? I
> would like to know
> HOW "addiction" meets the criteria for
> classification as a "disease".

Subject: RE: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other
> Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 12:26:22 -0500
> From: "USC-AmerMedAssn"
> To: "John
>
> Linda Rashid, Communications Coordinator for the
> American Medical
> Association Unified Service Center, is responding to
> your email inquiry.
>
> Thank you for contacting the American Medical
> Association regarding
> alcoholism as a disease.
>
> We do consider alcoholism to be a disease. Chain
> smoking is a behavior
> resulting from nicotine addiction which we also
> consider to be a
> disease, as is other drug dependence — more properly
> called substance
> use disorders. There are a wide array of levels of
> problems related to
> use of alcohol and other drugs, some of which are
> primarily behavioral,
> others involve physical and psychological
> dependence.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:12 AM
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Well, I will be damned Bugsworth. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I still disagree though. I think it's a choice when I ingest poisons. It's an addiction, to be sure, but a choice. I did quit smoking for 15 years - a choice. I picked it up again - a choice. Much like drinking. I do hold myself responsible.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:14 AM
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I agree with you Katie...I don't believe I have a disease in the true sense of the word...addiction yes...disease no.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:32 AM
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I don't believe I am addicted or diseased. I believe I learned ways of dealing with or adjusting emotions when I was young that at some point became destructive towards my well being. Now I am learning new coping strategies that will be more beneficial to my emotional, physical and spiritual well being and growth.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by uglyeyes View Post
I don't believe I am addicted or diseased. I believe I learned ways of dealing with or adjusting emotions when I was young that at some point became destructive towards my well being. Now I am learning new coping strategies that will be more beneficial to my emotional, physical and spiritual well being and growth.
Wow! I like this. I wish I could say I was in your position. Unfortunately, I have been doing all for so many years now that I believe myself to be addicted. But good for you at your experience! Should make it easier to get past.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Katie09 View Post
Because both are addictions and my body is used to them.
If the problem were as simple as a physical addiction, then a detox would be sufficient for recovery. Just get your body 'unused' to those things, and we'd all recover. Time spent without ingesting alcohol would be a cure.

My alcoholism centers in my mind. I have an obsession that I can't think my way out of.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
If the problem were as simple as a physical addiction, then a detox would be sufficient for recovery. Just get your body 'unused' to those things, and we'd all recover. Time spent without ingesting alcohol would be a cure.

My alcoholism centers in my mind. I have an obsession that I can't think my way out of.
I disagree. I quit both smoking and drinking for six weeks a while ago and then two months on different occasions. I was out of the detox phase on both. What led me back to both was my inability to deal with reality in a positive way - a lack of coping skills to be exact. Again, a choice. I could have made another choice but didn't know what other choice to make.

As a sidenote, I had a bottle of wine in my fridge for a month and FORGOT about it - yes forgot. I was on a maximum dosage of mood stabilizer when this happened - my miracle drug. It is not about an "alcoholic mind." FOR ME. It's about neurochemistry and coping skills or lack thereof.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Katie09 View Post
I disagree. I quit both smoking and drinking for six weeks a while ago and then two months on different occasions. I was out of the detox phase on both. What led me back to both was my inability to deal with reality in a positive way - a lack of coping skills to be exact. Again, a choice. I could have made another choice but didn't know what other choice to make.

As a sidenote, I had a bottle of wine in my fridge for a month and FORGOT about it - yes forgot. I was on a maximum dosage of mood stabilizer when this happened - my miracle drug. It is not about an "alcoholic mind." FOR ME. It's about neurochemistry and coping skills or lack thereof.
???? i guess i dont feel we hae a choice if we don't know we have one or are totaly unable to make the choice.....choice is a very slippery thing
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:11 AM
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Choice is what separates us from the animals. During active addiction the choice is much harder to see...even impossible at times but it still exists. Some choose to recover some don't.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bugsworth View Post
Choice is what separates us from the animals. During active addiction the choice is much harder to see...even impossible at times but it still exists. Some choose to recover some don't.
True. But as an owner of two Shih Tzus and a cat, let me tell you they make better choices. They stay away from toxins. Ok, so an animal lover here.
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