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SMART says alcoholism is not a disease

Old 12-16-2009, 09:28 PM
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I wonder if it's a semantic argument. I think I've said it before but it's jut as true now as it was then: whether I'm an alcoholic, addicted to alcohol, a problem drinker, or someone who can't control their behavior when drunk, it all comes down to the same thing. Me + alcohol = bad choices.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:33 PM
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There are two models of addiction recovery, the disease model and the learned behaviour model.

The AA come at recovery from the disease model, the UK medical field, which is the only one i'm familiar with come at recovery from a learned behaviour model.

Really it's the old nature/nurture debate within psychology. Are we born to act a certain way or are we taught to act a certain way. Is it in the genes or is it in the way we have been brought up.

You speak Clay, that you feel that the gene has been passed down generations, but learned behaviour works that way too. We learn from our parents, who learn from their parents, etc, etc until somebody breaks the chain.

Now as regards alcoholism as a disease or alcohol dependency as learned behaviour, maybe it's an individual thing.

The model adopted by the medical field in my area is that alcohol dependency is learned behaviour which can be unlearned. Like SMART they do not use the word alcoholism and try to gear away from the disease.

As for my opinion, i'm in a dilemma. Sometimes i think it's a disease, other times i think it's learned behaviour.....maybe it's a bit of both and some people lean towards having a disease, whereas others lean towards learning the addiction from their environment. I guess it's all about what works for you!!

Paul
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:57 PM
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I would like to say my alcohol addiction is learned, but I never really watched alcoholic behavior. My dad rarely, if ever, got drunk. He drank a snifter of whiskey every night for many years, but I never saw him get outrageous with it, not like I did. I never really saw my brother get drunk and my mom rarely drinks and I never saw her drunk. But I know my dad's dad was an alcoholic because my dad would describe how he would drink, that he would pinch his nose so as not to taste the alcohol, just to get drunk. And apparently he'd go on drunken tirades and get abusive. Though my dad is sort of a mean drunk and my mom has suspected in the past he might have a problem. That's why I think it might be genetic, but the genetic theory was always suspect to me. Heck, it could just be I picked up what type of drinker to be from friends and TV and movies. Who knows? The important thing is that I stay sober.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by FanofJoeMcQ View Post
Three generations of alkies in our family. Sounds less like a behavior in our family.

a love of baseball or a fear of spiders can be passed down from generation to generation as well. My parents were drunks, so I learned that drinking was fun, needed, acceptable, and normal. I past all of that on to my children before I ever knew there were other ways to get through life.

sad: grab a drink
happy: celebrate with booze
stressed: a pill and a drink
mad: drink as fast as you can

its what I learned and what I taught.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Gypsy Feet View Post

sad: grab a drink
happy: celebrate with booze
stressed: a pill and a drink
mad: drink as fast as you can

its what I learned and what I taught.
Very true...
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:33 PM
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I think both. I have family that has alcoholic genes so thick that even those that never were around the drunk member are more likely to be a drunk than not. In fact, my little cousin is now drinking twice to three times a week to excess. His father was in full recovery before he hit four. His granddad was a drunk kicked out of the house by the time his oldest son was five, yet my cousin's aunt and uncle died of alcohol related incidents. This one family line is just so well known for their alcoholic gene that they are all now taught to be on the lookout for it and guess what? For the first time, they are starting to see some progress in breaking the patterns.

Clearly behavior-mod is doing something to help them stop but it is not enough. There are times where I do believe there is genetic predisposition to abuse of alcohol. In fact, I have always thought it was one of those things we all kinda want...just some of us have a funky gene that takes that too far...until we become beloved cousin L, who you loved even when he drunk dialed you because he such a wonderful man--until he died at 45 from falling down drunk.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:36 PM
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AA doesn't say it's disease either.

Wilson went to great lenghts not to use that word.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tomvlll View Post
AA doesn't say it's disease either.

Wilson went to great lenghts not to use that word.
Why do so many AAers and so much AA literature refer to it as a disease then?
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:39 PM
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Just a reminder that in Secular Connections:

Originally Posted by SoberRecovery.com
12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:34 AM
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if it is a disease, and you need to quit drinking, you quit drinking.
if it is not a disease, and you need to quit drinking, you quit drinking.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:39 PM
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I hope it's an actual disease so then there can one day be some kind of genetic treatment for it-like take a pill or shot and boom you're cured of the desire forever. I mean, if that were the case, who wouldnt want to be able to enjoy a beer now and then without going overboard, just by taking a shot once when you realize you have a problem.

But addiction/alcoholism is presented not as a biological disease, but as a mental disorder-like a type of insanity. Is being insane a disease? Are sociopaths diseased? The trouble with psychology is that its so hard to prove symptoms that everyone must suffer from, and then you can only speculate at the causes (and arbitrarily make up a name for the "symptoms"-like "schizophrenia"). I'm not a doctor, but to be a diabetic, you must have some kind of insulin abnormality (sorry for my ignorance about diabetes) that applies to everyone. You either have diabetes or you don't.

I think psychology is valuable, but some things about it bother me-like how is depression a disease? Yes, its bad to be depressed and if you are then you should get treatment for it but again there is no way to establish a cause or symptoms that can be measured. A scientist measures things-a psychiatrist gives a "professional opinion".
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:44 AM
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I believe that this is relevent to both the original post and to the previous comment.

YouTube - Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture)
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:10 PM
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Depression is not a disease. It's not like all scientists have a consenus that it is a disease. You can't diagnose someone as depressed until you witness their behavior and hear what they have to say. But if it was a real disease, there would be some biological marker-like a pink spot in the brain that all depressed people have. But that is not true. We have no idea if someone is depressed or not until they tell us. There are no tests to run for it.

Depression is a natural reaction to our surroundings. An extreme example would be Holocaust survivors. We would expect them to be depressed. Its absolutely ludicrous to say that they're suffering from a disease. Anyone would be depressed in those circumstamces.

Who decides when someone is "too" depressed? "Too" anxious? Don't people understand these are value judgments-the psychiatrist in essence has taken the role of the priest in the 21st century-telling us how to live.

Can I say I'm chronically lazy and be considered "diseased"? lol Then I can call into work and say, I'm sory, can't come in today, I'm suffering from procrastinz ( a disease characterized by laziness and procrastination).
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Depression is not a disease. It's not like all scientists have a consenus that it is a disease. You can't diagnose someone as depressed until you witness their behavior and hear what they have to say. But if it was a real disease, there would be some biological marker-like a pink spot in the brain that all depressed people have. But that is not true. We have no idea if someone is depressed or not until they tell us. There are no tests to run for it.

Depression is a natural reaction to our surroundings. An extreme example would be Holocaust survivors. We would expect them to be depressed. Its absolutely ludicrous to say that they're suffering from a disease. Anyone would be depressed in those circumstamces.

Who decides when someone is "too" depressed? "Too" anxious? Don't people understand these are value judgments-the psychiatrist in essence has taken the role of the priest in the 21st century-telling us how to live.

Can I say I'm chronically lazy and be considered "diseased"? lol Then I can call into work and say, I'm sory, can't come in today, I'm suffering from procrastinz ( a disease characterized by laziness and procrastination).
And I suppose it's just coincidence that 6 people on one side of my family have experienced major depression, or are still experiencing it? No, it's a disease and you would see that if you watched the lecture. They have located genes that indicate the propensity for depression. Look into epigenetics if you don't believe me. Depression is one of the reasons I doubt I will have kids because I don't want to take the chance that I pass it on to them. I know other families in which depression runs in the family, and it's not a learned thing like alcoholism, though I wouldn't doubt that's a genetic disease too.

Depression is marked by certain symptoms that persist past the normal extent they do in non-depressed people. I had a good childhood, there's no reason that when I'm 13 out of nowhere I start to have thoughts of suicide and hurting myself. Depression is a disease when people are depressed despite otherwise good circumstances. And comparing depression to chronic laziness is just anti-intellectual and wrong. Laziness is a choice made to not act or do anything, depression is not a choice, and if you suffered from it, you'd know what I was talking about.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:14 AM
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People come in all shapes and sizes. I choose to be positive and not label people who are deeply depressed as having some flaw which causes them to be depressed, (as oppossed to "normal" people having a certain temperment??) In fact, I think depressed people are often more in-tune to their surroundings and more sensitive-causing them perhaps to be more depressed despite their circumstances. To help someone "overcome" their depression is telling them the way they feel about something is wrong, which used to be the job of a clergyman. And this job has now been transferred to the "psychiatrist" and BigPharm.

This is a humanist forum.. aren't we supposed to celebrate humanity, instead of constantly putting ourselves down?
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
People come in all shapes and sizes. I choose to be positive and not label people who are deeply depressed as having some flaw which causes them to be depressed, (as oppossed to "normal" people having a certain temperment??) In fact, I think depressed people are often more in-tune to their surroundings and more sensitive-causing them perhaps to be more depressed despite their circumstances. To help someone "overcome" their depression is telling them the way they feel about something is wrong, which used to be the job of a clergyman. And this job has now been transferred to the "psychiatrist" and BigPharm.

This is a humanist forum.. aren't we supposed to celebrate humanity, instead of constantly putting ourselves down?
Saying someone has an illness is not saying that person is flawed anymore than telling someone who has cancer that they are flawed. I agree depressed people are often more sensitive, but having depression myself I know that comes at a cost, to the person and to the people around them who have to see them suffer. Depression is not just a state of mind, it is a sickness and is not pleasant or desirable. Helping someone overcome their depression is helping them overcome a debilitating illness that often results in self-injury and suicide. There's nothing right about that, nor should we be endorsing it. If a person wants to stay miserable that's fine, but don't make assumptions about an illness you clearly don't understand.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:00 AM
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Clay, if something is a disease, then one does not need to suffer from it to talk about itn or study it. A psychiatrist does not have to suffer from it, does he, to treat it? Does a doctor have to suffer from cancer to talk about it? Don't make it about me just because you can't explain how it's a disease. But if you think depression is a disease like cancer, than that opens the floodgates for calling anything undesirable a disease. A real disease has an identifable cause of action, depression doesn't. A genetic predisposition doesn't make something a disease either, as many traits can be passed down. But psychiatrists sure make a lot of money making up illnesses. Wish you the best with your so-called disease.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Clay, if something is a disease, then one does not need to suffer from it to talk about itn or study it. A psychiatrist does not have to suffer from it, does he, to treat it? Does a doctor have to suffer from cancer to talk about it? Don't make it about me just because you can't explain how it's a disease. But if you think depression is a disease like cancer, than that opens the floodgates for calling anything undesirable a disease. A real disease has an identifable cause of action, depression doesn't. A genetic predisposition doesn't make something a disease either, as many traits can be passed down. But psychiatrists sure make a lot of money making up illnesses. Wish you the best with your so-called disease.
Regardless of whether it is a disease or an illness, can't we agree depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental disorders are a problem? I've never met anyone with a mental disorder who enjoys being that way. So why not try treating it? I agree Big Pharma has us all hooked on drugs, but some of these drugs help people with these mental disorders immensely.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:59 AM
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disease, ilness..whatever....

I know that I cannot sucessfully drink

And I know that the pills I am perscribed from my peresonal mental issues work well without clouding my judgement and feelings....

We aren't always gonna agree on the word to use....

I simply agree to disagree and move on to more productive work on my problems....
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:36 PM
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If this thread doesn't get back on topic then I will have to lock it. Secular Connections is not the forum to discuss Clinical vs Environmental Depression.
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