Addiction Survivors

Notices

Reply
Unread 09-26-2007, 01:59 PM   #1
LeeRoy
Junior Member
 
Posts: 12
Default Addiction a disease?

From what I've read it is clear that addiction changes the brain and these changes affect behavior. Why do some people not consider this a disease? I am amazed with all of the science that anyone could still have the position that addiction is only poor willpower. Depression and epilepsy results from brain changes and those are accepted disease.

I think people misunderstand what is meant by calling addiction a disease of the brain. Maybe they think it is something you can catch or are born with?

The way I see it chronic alcohol consumption changes parts of the brain and these changes make the person want more. At some point wanting more isn't up to the person but the result of diseased brain. I'm amazed this is still ignored by some.

Lee
LeeRoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-26-2007, 10:48 PM   #2
CASEY
Senior Member
 
Posts: 378
Default

Lee,
I agree w/you, some people say just stop . Alcohol has a very ugly stigma,
which I think is unfair.
Alcohol disease is just like overeating,shopping addition's and herion/coke.
But for some reason Alcohol is overlooked by many, they say just get over what ever is bothering you.
Well that is easier said than done, most people use alcohol as a way of dealing either with their past or thing's in the present.
I happen to think alcohol is worse, now that Liquor store's are open on Sunday, it make's it all the harder for people to stop. Alcohol is Legal, herion & Coke are not, they can't be bought in your local store.
People really need to understand the disease and start helping people instead of labeling them.
Casey

CASEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-27-2007, 02:06 PM   #3
Harry
Junior Member
 
Posts: 9
Default

I agree,
there are many triggers with alcohol that people with other addictions don't have to deal with. the fact that it is socially acceptable makes it and smoking very difficult addictions to break.

I don't understand why some people don't see it as a disease. For me it is clear, addiction changes the brain, and these changes influence behavior. I think because the brain can be changed with both chemicals and with behavior, people get confused. It is easier not to educate ourselves and take the easy answer and just disagree without supporting it.

Harry
Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 10-02-2007, 01:01 PM   #4
JaneDoe
Senior Member
 
Posts: 100
Default

I never really thought too deeply about the disease of addiction until recently. After doing a lot of reading and going on my own experience, I too believe it is a disease. I didn't wake up one day and say Gee JaneDoe, why don't you just start drinking every day. It was a compulsion I could not stop. But I am finally getting control and treatment for it just like I would if I had diabetes or the like.
JaneDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 10-03-2007, 01:00 AM   #5
Stacey
Senior Member
 
Stacey's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,850
Default

It is very surprising, isn't it? Alcohol dependency is no different than any other disease of the brain. So many still consider it a social weakness or character flaw, it's just amazing. Knowledge is power, as they say, and this site will help to spread the word.

Stacey
Stacey is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-11-2009, 08:55 AM   #6
tagyourit
Junior Member
 
Posts: 6
Default

i disagree with addiction being a disease. in my opinion i believe calling the fact that i am addicted to alcohol a disease is a cop out, it gives me a way to ignore my part in why i screwed my life up and just blame it on a disease. its like walking around in freezing tempature with shorts and a tee shirt and wondering why you got sick. i chose to take that first drink and then the drinks took over and they kept coming untill i got sick. like i chose to walk around in the snow with a tee shirt and shorts , then the cold took over and i got sick. anyways i just think it is a cop out to not take responsibility for your own actions.
tagyourit is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-11-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
SLynn
Moderator
 
SLynn's Avatar
 
Posts: 866
Default

tagyourit

What is the definition of 'disease'? You said you chose to take the first drink but why did the drinks take over?? What took place for you to lose control?

What happened was the alcohol, over time, changed the wiring and needs of your brain causing you to crave or be 'addicted'. Any changes to a normal organ or system is considered a disease. It's not a cop out. It doesn't change what's happening in your body. It doesn't reduce responsibility. It helps reduce stigma because it IS a disease......it also solidifies it in the medical community so that insurance benefits cover treatment, even though it's not as covered as diabetes (for example) by most plans.

With diabetes as our example, don't most (not all) people cause their diabetes due to improper diet and exercise plans? Their pancreas is affected, alters it's production of insulin and now it's considered a disease. What's the difference?

Alcoholism is a disease. Denial is an attitude.

SLynn
__________________
Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
SLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Users Say Thank You to SLynn For This Useful Post:
Thank You (01-11-2009), Thank You (01-27-2009)
Unread 01-11-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
CarlyO
Moderator
 
CarlyO's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,566
Default

Hi Tag,
Imo Calling it a disease is not a cop out , we are still responsible for our recovery.

Welcome to the new members Harry, Tag, and Leeroy.
__________________
Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
CarlyO is offline   Reply With Quote
One User Says Thank You to CarlyO For This Useful Post:
Thank You (01-27-2009)
Unread 01-11-2009, 03:41 PM   #9
jerryg
Moderator
 
Posts: 525
Default

In my clinical experience an important insight offered to me was that addiction must be treated as a disease. In my human/ social experience it is all about the behaviors.
So somewhere in between is where we struggle.
It is a disease of behaviors and beliefs. Addiction is unique in that to "recover" from this disease one must transform their thinking. It is paradoxical in that strictly physical disease may be treated by giving a medication/ chemical to reduce the stress of the symptoms and allow the body to heal, with addiction it involves the removal of a chemical, so to speak, to allow the body to heal (I am not including medications that help to cope with urges and cravings and other early recovery side effects).

Drug and alcohol use clearly affects the brain as any other organ, but we don't engage life using a direct awareness of brain chemistry. We engage life through relationships beliefs and metaphor. Perceptions, meaning and values.
Keep in mind, none of this is of hard and fast rules and must be taken in a case by case basis.

Any treatment must be undertaken with clear eyed compassion in our efforts, with the right mix of detachment and dignity.
We must avoid brutalizing the addict, and yet, not put up with the destructive behaviors.
The pain of early recovery is that the person has changed behavior, staying sober, without sufficiently changing their belief system. That change comes as life issues are resolved, in therapy and reestablishing relationships. And when was the last any of us have had our belief system challenged at any level, not just around addiction? It's pretty upsetting isn't it? And not readily done.
When you make that connection you begin to develop empathy.

That's my two cents on this eternally on going debate. And it should always be ongoing. Life and being human is way too complex.

Jerry
__________________
Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
jerryg is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Users Say Thank You to jerryg For This Useful Post:
Thank You (01-12-2009), Thank You (01-27-2009)
Unread 01-24-2009, 02:42 AM   #10
HMC
Junior Member
 
Posts: 2
Default Volition intact?

Here's my question- where in the disease lies the will? I ask this because
I have to believe that volition remains intact within the alcoholic person at all times.
Otherwise, how could I have hope? What place would the goal of recovery have? For it is not in a random response to chemotherapy or some other drug that the healing takes place, but in the catalyst of the person's will. If I didn't believe in the individual's power to choose to overcome (an excruciatingly difficult process, but a choice nevertheless), I would be left with the belief that my alcoholic sister is left to the indiscriminate will of the disease itself.
But this same reality tells me that it is her will, not mine, that will save her. It is her love of herself, not mine, that will signal the troops of her soul in this, the war for her very life.
So what do you do when a person you love is self-destructing before your very eyes? When nothing you do or say seems to matter? Where do love and boundaries meet when death and loss loom close? Can a person hell-bent on their own demise be stopped? It seems silly, but I wish I had this answer for my sister- how do you infuse another person with your own desire to live?
So many questions, and none with an answer.
HMC is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-24-2009, 12:00 PM   #11
dave53190
Member
 
Posts: 97
Default

Dear HMC,

I am sharing with you my experience as a former drug addict/alcoholic. You obviously are a very intelligent person. The more intelligent a person is , the more baffled they usually are re: alcoholism/drug addiction.

You stated that , "you have to believe that volition remains intact within the alcoholic at all times". That is the curious thing about this disease. Will power (volition) remains normal regarding everything, except alcoholism. It seems that in every alcoholic's life there is a point where an alcoholic recognizes that their ability to control their drinking is becoming less and less. At this point some may decide to drink less or stop altogether. (I am paraphrasing from a book that saved my life, "Alcoholics Anonymous").

But there are others who go beyond this point and lose all ability to choose whether to drink or not. I believe there was a time in my life where I could have said, "enough is enough". But I continued to drink until I passed the point where I then lost all choice regarding alcohol.

Another myth about alcoholism (as I see it) is that most people feel that if the alcoholic would just stop drinking their life would become one worth living. But, remember the alcoholic has lost the ability to NOT DRINK. I believe that the active alcoholic, deep down, knows that alcohol is ruining their life, but they also realize, deep down, that they are powerless over whether they drink or not. I believe that the previous sentence explains why this disease is so baffling to most people who are not afflicted with it.

I believe it is important for you to realize that YOU are also powerless over your sister's disease (May I suggest AlAnon for you). And only a power greater than the both of you can and will remove the obsession to drink from your sister. That power I am referring to is God, may she find Him now.

I am not religious nor a Bible thumper. Some people say there are different ways to achieve sobriety. I know of only one, and that is Alcoholics Anonymous. And believe me, I have sought other ways to achieve sobriety. In AA I not only found a power that relieved me of the obsession to drink, I was given a life today that I wouldn't jeopardize by drinking, even if I could drink.
dave53190 is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Users Say Thank You to dave53190 For This Useful Post:
Thank You (01-25-2009), Thank You (01-27-2009)
Unread 01-24-2009, 04:57 PM   #12
CarlyO
Moderator
 
CarlyO's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,566
Default Welcome to the forum HMC and thank you Dave

Hello HMC and welcome to the forum ,

Dave has been so kind as to share part of his story, I hope that having insight from people here and other family members will help you in dealing with your sister's struggle.
You ask the question about will and the disease - Dave sums it up very well.

I can only add for me - will power to stop was non existent. I also knew what I was doing was killing me, physically, emotionally, spiritually, but the compulsion was deeply rooted in every fiber of my being, I could not stop. Not until, I faced dire consequences. That was my wake up call, it was harsh but it also got my attention. Today , I am grateful for what happened.
Then and only then did I earnestly seek out help, reluctantly at first ,but then in time, it became a way of living for me that I had never known. My foundation is in AA, I found many answers in the big book, meetings, counseling, it was not simply putting the substance down for me, I had no coping skills . I did not know how to live, I learned how to with lots of help/support.

But I also recognize that people get better in many different manners, there are medications that help with cravings, various support groups, if it works - then that is what matters in the end.

I hope you will read the information on this site, the other posts from members and families, loved ones. Dave is right, you are powerless over her disease. It is very frustrating and I am sure it saddens you, angers you at times.
IMO keep the door of support open to her, seek help for yourself through Al Anon , and/or a professional and do not lose hope,no matter how far down the scale they have gone- people do get better everyday, I wish the same for your sister.

I hope this helps, we are here if you need us, take care, Carly
__________________
Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
CarlyO is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Users Say Thank You to CarlyO For This Useful Post:
Thank You (01-25-2009), Thank You (01-27-2009)
Unread 01-25-2009, 02:01 AM   #13
HMC
Junior Member
 
Posts: 2
Default

Dave- You encourage me, thank you. You re-route me to the truth, which is God. You are right- only God is more powerful than all these things we struggle with on earth, even when we face the "Valley of the Shadow of Death", He is with us. And thank you Carly, for your story and encouragement to hold on to my hope. My sister is at the end of the proverbial rope- after two inpatient stays and being kicked out of an outpatient program she is facing a back to back felony and DUI charge. She has lost her friends, job, husband, car- not to mention dignity, self-worth and hope. As her family we have just now realized (it was a delayed electrical current that reached our lightbulbs!) that no words we say, no advice we give, holds any sway over her desire to drink. So helpless we stand. She says she doesn't like AA- doesn't like hearing "other people's problems", says it doesn't help her. She talks about suicide at her most helpless of times, so we hold our hands at bay, afraid to make delivery on our verbal boundries. We feel afraid and she feels lost.
I should start going to some AlAnon meetings, but between running my own business, two kids and a husband, it's hard to find the time. So I started here. Thank you for your input, insight and encouragement.
HMC is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-25-2009, 01:00 PM   #14
paulmaury
Member
 
Posts: 32
Default

Dear HMC,
FAITH is the most powerful surviving tool we all have......period! May you use it well against your sister's dreaded illness to restore the sanity in your lives!
~Paulmaury~
paulmaury is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-25-2009, 01:51 PM   #15
dave53190
Member
 
Posts: 97
Default

Hi HMC,

Dave again. By telling me how I encourage you and sharing with us your sister's troubles it reminds me of how precious is this gift of sobriety I have. You are doing me more good than I could ever do you or your sister.

I hope and pray that she too can find this gift of sobriety. The best of everything to you and her!
dave53190 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-27-2009, 01:58 AM   #16
justdave
Junior Member
 
Posts: 7
Default

Before Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob started AA,alcoholism was usually considered a character defect. Jails, institutions, and death were generally all an alcoholic had to look forward to. The Oxford group developed a theory that alcoholism was a physical, mental, and spiritual sickness, and only god could cure it. That's where the idea of seeking a higher power came about. Now the American Medical Association classifies alcoholism as a disease. If you go to AA and read your big book, read bill and bob's story. One thing no one can deny is 12 step programs can work. Millions of people have been delivered from misery and death by the AA program. The coolest thing about AA is that where ever you are on planet earth you can probably find a meeting (were are international). And when you do you'll find living proof that "AA works if you work it". Non alcoholics can't understand the mind or feelings of an alcoholic, group meetings give us someone to talk to who knows how we feel. Sometimes alanon can help family members learn to live with a recovering addict. Do a google video search of AA or Bill Wilson they have some really good video clips of Bill Wilson and his wife talking about they're lives and the founding of the AA program. There is also a faith based 12 step program called celebrate recovery. You can find them on the internet and use the search tool to find a group in your area. www.celebraterecovery.com, Maybe your sister will like it better than AA.

Last edited by justdave; 01-27-2009 at 02:21 AM.. Reason: add address
justdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-27-2009, 02:35 AM   #17
Mystikchick
Junior Member
 
Posts: 10
Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by tagyourit View Post
i disagree with addiction being a disease. in my opinion i believe calling the fact that i am addicted to alcohol a disease is a cop out, it gives me a way to ignore my part in why i screwed my life up and just blame it on a disease. its like walking around in freezing tempature with shorts and a tee shirt and wondering why you got sick. i chose to take that first drink and then the drinks took over and they kept coming untill i got sick. like i chose to walk around in the snow with a tee shirt and shorts , then the cold took over and i got sick. anyways i just think it is a cop out to not take responsibility for your own actions.
There is alot more to it than that. As my shrink says, you may have control over the first drink, maybe the second, but after that the choice is gone. Alcohol changes the brain and bodily functions of an alcoholic. If you don't believe me go check into an inpatient facility and learn about it for 30 days straight. The American Medical Association considers it a disease, and my health insurance paid for it as one, that's good enough for me. All I know, is when I was drinking, it sure wasn't cause I liked the way that nasty bourbon tasted!
Mystikchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-27-2009, 12:48 PM   #18
theswan
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2,617
Default

Maybe the sixteenth drink? Who knows really.

In AA they speak about an " invisable line " that one cross's. This makes sense although not in a medical way.

Each is different but I believe somewhere in my drinking history, I could have stopped if I really understood the nature of alcoholism. Sadly the true nature of alcoholism takes years to manifest for many of us.

It may indeed be because of chemical or physical alterations in the brain. I know of studies where they measue THIQ ( a brain chemical ) and find it is lacking in chronic alcoholics. This may be one indicator of the "disease" process.

In any case, it is certainly not the "fault" of the alcoholic. Why would anyone drink after a DWI arrest? or worse, killing a person in a blackout accident? This is way beyound simple "willpower"

Same may be true with drug addicts. food addicts and most all addictions. Once a pattern is established, it sets into a process of brain alterations.

The other piece of the puzzle is genes and family history. My mom was diabetic my dad not. Of 4 brothers, two had diabetes ( me and my younger brother )
Many alcoholics also have diabetes as well as depression. All of these disease's have a common bond-Inbalance.

We may be able to debate the "Chicken or egg theory" of alcoholism but there is no point in debating whether or not alcoholism is a disease or not. It is clear that it is.

Glen
theswan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2014 Addiction Survivors