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SMART says alcoholism is not a disease

Old 01-29-2010, 10:57 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Is alcoholism a disease?

Well it helps to know what a disease is first:

# An abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort or dysfunction; distinct from injury insofar as the latter is usually instantaneously acquired
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/disease

# dis-ease - Lack of a feeling of ease; uneasiness
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dis-ease

# a state in which a function or part of the body is no longer in a healthy condition.
www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/microbes/glossary.htm

# an illness
Walden University - TeacherVision.com

# A process that is a hazard to health and/or longevity.

Morbid Obesity and Bariatric Surgery Glossary - BariatricEdge.com

# a pathological condition that is cross-culturally defined and recognized.
oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth370/gloss.html

dis·ease (d-zz)
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.


dis⋅ease
  /dɪˈziz/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [di-zeez] Show IPA noun, verb, -eased, -eas⋅ing.
Use disease in a Sentence
See images of disease
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–noun
1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.
2. any abnormal condition in a plant that interferes with its vital physiological processes, caused by pathogenic microorganisms, parasites, unfavorable environmental, genetic, or nutritional factors, etc.
3. any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society: His fascination with executions is a disease.

Word Origin & History

disease
c.1330, "discomfort," from O.Fr. desaise, from des- "without, away" + aise "ease" (see ease). Sense of "sickness, illness" first recorded 1393; the word still sometimes was used in its lit. sense early 17c.
Would you characterize alcoholism as an unhealthy condition of mind or body characterized by certain signs and symptoms

If so, it's a disease

Is alcoholism an unhealthy condition of mind or body?

check

Is alcoholism characterized by certain signs and symptoms?

check

However, for example I can discuss diabetes and whether it is a disease or not until I am blue in the face and it won't help me in the slightest, or I can take the necessary action to put my diabetes in remission. My opinion on whether diabetes is a disease or not is a moot point and unimportant to it's cure.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:22 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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I think Ago puts it best. Maybe we should let that stand and put this thread to rest since nothing new is coming from this discussion. It doesn't matter whether alcoholism, or depression, is a disease or not, we simply have to treat it. Now how to treat it is a whole other topic.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:17 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
Is alcoholism a disease?

Well it helps to know what a disease is first:



Would you characterize alcoholism as an unhealthy condition of mind or body characterized by certain signs and symptoms

If so, it's a disease

Is alcoholism an unhealthy condition of mind or body?

check

Is alcoholism characterized by certain signs and symptoms?

check

However, for example I can discuss diabetes and whether it is a disease or not until I am blue in the face and it won't help me in the slightest, or I can take the necessary action to put my diabetes in remission. My opinion on whether diabetes is a disease or not is a moot point and unimportant to it's cure.
Is Tourette Syndrome a disease?

Well it helps to know what a disease is first:



Would you characterize Tourette Syndrome as an unhealthy condition of mind or body characterized by certain signs and symptoms

If so, it's NOT a disease

Is Tourette Syndrome an unhealthy condition of mind or body?

check

Is Tourette Syndrome characterized by certain signs and symptoms?

check

However, for example I can discuss Tourette Syndrome and whether it is a disease or not until I am blue in the face and it won't help me in the slightest, or I can take the necessary action to put my Tourette Syndrome in remission. My opinion on whether Tourette Syndrome is a disease is not a moot point and is important to it's cure.

It is a syndrome and syndromes are made up of different symptoms. You have to treat it very differently than a disease.

Do we know if alcoholism is a syndrome OR a disease? Medically, no we don't.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:52 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Alera View Post

It is a syndrome and syndromes are made up of different symptoms. You have to treat it very differently than a disease.

Do we know if alcoholism is a syndrome OR a disease? Medically, no we don't.
So what is Tourettes?

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.
What is a disorder?

disorder /dis·or·der/ (dis-or´der) a derangement or abnormality of function; a morbid physical or mental state.

disorder
noun
1. illness, disease, complaint, condition, sickness, ailment, affliction, malady, infirmity, indisposition a rare nerve disorder that can cause paralysis of the arms
SMART saying alcoholism isn't a disease is equivalent to The Bible saying the world is only 6000 years old or whatever, with about as much peer reviewed evidence I might add. Just because SMART says it's not a disease doesn't make it true.

How do Doctors treat Tourettes?

Pills
effective medications are available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. Neuroleptics are the most consistently useful medications for tic suppression; a number are available but some are more effective than others (for example, haloperidol and pimozide).
How do Doctors treat Diabetes?

shots

How do Doctors treat Depression?

Pills

Doctors seem to like to treat things with drugs whatever it is, however since we are using the medical community as our benchmark what do they classify alcoholism as?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Medical Association both maintain extensive policy regarding alcoholism. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes the existence of "alcoholism" as the equivalent of alcohol dependence. The American Hospital Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American College of Physicians classify "alcoholism" as a disease.

In the US, the National Institutes of Health has a specific institute, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), concerned with the support and conduct of biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. It funds approximately 90 percent of all such research in the United States. The official NIAAA position is that "alcoholism is a disease. The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems. Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person's lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms. The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced both by a person's genes and by his or her lifestyle.
I use Occams razor with the disease model of alcoholism, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck......
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:20 PM
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Ago, the medications treat the symptoms not the disorder. Tics are only one of many symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. "Pills" don't touch the other parts of TS.

It is clear that you and I have different opinions on alcoholism, and that is fine. Let's just accept that and move on.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:30 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
How do Doctors treat Depression?

Pills
In some cases they do, but many doctors and other practioners also treat depression with changes to diet, exercise, sleep patterns, talk therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture and other approaches.

And of course, doctors are going to be more likely to look for disease, because that's more or less what they 'do'. From another perspective, we might look at alcohol abouse through other lenses, but still arrive at approaches that help the individual without labeling it a disease. I don't see what's so horrible in not seeing it as a disease, so long as we are working towards a solution that works for the person in question. Why should it bother anyone that somebody else chooses not to see it as a disease?
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:00 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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Its interesting that our own government has conflicting views on the disease vs. behavior issue. For example, we put drug offenders in treatment centers, but if they fail to stay sober or don't meet their parole requirements, we put them in jail. So in effect the courts are saying, "its a disease until we say it becomes a moral issue".

Its not that I want to debate, but calling alcoholism or addiction a disease has consequences, at least for me. If its a disease, then whatever I do under the influence I'm really not responsbile for and I feel like I may be beyond help. If its a *really* bad lifestyle then I am to blame for whatever consequences I incur as a result of drug abuse and that guilt may help prevent me from making those same choices again. If its a behavior I can modify-like learning a new skill-then I'm still responsible for all the bad choices I made-albeit they were complicated by my physical dependence (which is a real disease). But I'm still on the fence about what "addiction" is,
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:25 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Its interesting that our own government has conflicting views on the disease vs. behavior issue. For example, we put drug offenders in treatment centers, but if they fail to stay sober or don't meet their parole requirements, we put them in jail. So in effect the courts are saying, "its a disease until we say it becomes a moral issue".

Its not that I want to debate, but calling alcoholism or addiction a disease has consequences, at least for me. If its a disease, then whatever I do under the influence I'm really not responsbile for and I feel like I may be beyond help. If its a *really* bad lifestyle then I am to blame for whatever consequences I incur as a result of drug abuse and that guilt may help prevent me from making those same choices again. If its a behavior I can modify-like learning a new skill-then I'm still responsible for all the bad choices I made-albeit they were complicated by my physical dependence (which is a real disease). But I'm still on the fence about what "addiction" is,
Great post, and glad to see the thread back on topic!

I personally believe there is simply something in the brain that tells us addicts to use/drink more than the average person. Do I think its a disease? After seeing so many people with different sets of symptoms (binge drinkers, "social" drinkers, functional alcoholics) I've come to the belief that its probably not a single disease. If it was, why don't I abuse all my prescription medications? Why don't I just want to get stoned on whatever is out there? Why won't I touch a crack pipe with a ten foot pole, even though I've never tried the stuff and might get high?

Yet on the other hand, I've seen entire sides of my family effected by alcohol. I'm talking about people that never even met each other. Clearly there is a genetic component to me.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:07 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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The truth is I think I call it a disease for two reasons:

One is I don't think it's simply "will power" or morals, like Alera said I think there is a either a genetic component or a genetic predisposition, but alcohol has never affected me like it does a "normal" person, and I have seen countless alcoholics drink themselves into homelessness, lose their jobs, family, children, even freedom and lives and be unable to stop.

That to me tells me it is outside the purview of simple decision making, that there is an unseen component, that one is either born with, or can drink themself into, I can't "think myself better" from alcoholism any more then I can think myself better from Diabetes

two is I think the definition fits, ie an unhealthy condition of mind or body with recognizable signs and symptoms

So I don't think it is identical to all other diseases, and Eroica makes a good point about societies "laws" where it's a disease until we decide it is a crime, but the truth of the matter is I probably view it that way myself. Ex: If someone was staying on my couch for the express purpose of staying sober and they continued to drink I'd toss them out even if it was snowing outside, or walk away from a family member, or break up with a girlfriend.

I view the insanity of active alcoholism quite frankly as not just a disease, but an infectious one, live with a practicing alcoholic, be raised by one, have a relationship with one, and people get "sick" right alongside them.

It's just I think I get frustrated by this topic because it's so frequently brought up by people who are totally ignorant about alcoholism and quite frequently can't get sober themselves anyway, and for some reason like to use the whole disease model of alcoholism not being true as a way to justify their own continued drinking in some weird perverse way, either that or they are just offended that they think someone is calling them "sick", I don't know, it just appears to be one of those pointless debates that goes round and round and frankly is pointless anyway to me, hence in my first post when I said I don't care whether you call it strawberry jam, just address it ya know?
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:27 PM
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...and we're back onto AA and some wholesale flaming.

I'm closing this down because Alera's not here to adjudicate and it annoys me you guys just can't play nice.
.
She may decide to reopen it.

D
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
...and we're back onto AA and some wholesale flaming.

I'm closing this down because Alera's not here to adjudicate and it annoys me you guys just can't play nice.
.
She may decide to reopen it.

D

Thank you Dee. I'm keeping this locked. Offending posts have been removed. We all know the drill here in Secular Connections.

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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