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Is addiction a disease?

Is addiction a disease?
I met Deeeee's Homeopathic Practitioner who used Meth, Coke & weed from 14 -22 years old. He is now 49 years old and does not drink or use any drug at all.
This guy is a very spiritual person and we were all discussing addiction. He had some really deep thoughts about this issue.
He said that every human being is an addict. That we all are addicted to things that bring us pleasure no matter what it is. The problem comes when we take it to the extreme. like to continue using things (drugs, religion.. etc..) when they no longer bring us pleasure

Don't get me wrong this guy is totally against drugs. His sister died from a meth overdose and he & his mom have her 7 kids to raise.

He just didn't like the word disease because he has seen so many people walk away from drugs and become positive people who used there addictive personalities to become positive people with good energy.

He said think of the word disease...its a negative word that seems so hopeless and so permanent. While he agrees that people are addicts he disagrees that addiction is a disease.

I don't know what I believe about this all I know is that I am going to beat addiction and not be a slave to any drug including alcohol. I guess what I believe is that through you peeps and deeeee I have found a cure to the diseased thinking that I had. I just need to continue my medication until it goes away...hahahahhahahaha...
Re: Is addiction a disease?
I thought I would just chime in here too since he's my doctor. 

He's really changed my outlook on life and my sobriety - acupuncture has already really helped me. He also does some mental work which we are going to start next week. It's all Eastern medicine about balancing your chi- positive and negative energy within yourself.

When we become addicts to negative things (DRUGS/ALCOHOL) it throws off the balance in the body. I have 12 days clean now and I can already tell you how my life is coming back to me.

Personally (and people can yell at me here) that addiction is not a disease, but it's a habit. The bad habits we create can be changed and moved to positive things if we work on it. I truly don't believe that I am stuck with a disease that I can't get rid of.

Another example is my mom. She (and my grandmother too) were alcoholics. My mom stopped drinking when I was 5 because she didn't want me to see her as she saw her mother growing up. She didn't do any sort of program or anything, she just stopped and never took another drink for 30 years. She replaced her addiction with exercise and now is out there running marathon, doing Ironmans (that include a 3 1/2 mile swim, 120 mile bike and marathon) and eating healthy. She has been an amazing inspiration to me. but in talking with her recently, she decided that she wanted to have an occasional glass of wine again - good for the heart and she knew that she would never go back to where she was. An I truly believe this. So now (one time the alcoholic) has a glass of wine maybe once a week and enjoys it - good for her.

So maybe I went on rambling a bit but I really do think that addiction is not a disease. You can all jump on m for saying that but it's just my opinion.

jes78 Re: Is addiction a disease?
it has been labeled a disease because it is progressive and incurable. this is what the medical field has stated. this is a fact, not argument

jes78 Re: Is addiction a disease?
American medical association has classified addiction and alcoholism as a psychiatric and medical disease. this is the 2nd time i put this up, so if it shows twice later sorry.

Re: Is addiction a disease?
Then everyone has a disease right.. because I truly believe we all are addicted to something (computers, cigarettes, work, church, NA, and on and on)

Seriously I am not being a smart azz and I'm just curious how many people think that addiction is truly a disease...or do we use drugs to fill some void in our life or to numb the pain that we feel.

If it is a disease where we born with it?? Is it like SIN...we all sin and will never be perfect??? Or is addiction a choice??

jes78 Re: Is addiction a disease?
i only gave u a def, to show u that it is a disease, i have no idea about any of that other stuff. r we born w/ cancer, i don't know. etc...

Re: Is addiction a disease?
I never put too much thought into whether or not it is a disease. Your argument sounds very logical though.

My husband often tells me; Nothing changes it just rearranges.

And I do agree with that. So I do see how we can have addictive behaviors and just trade one addiction for another, and if we chose to find something healthy to be addicted to then all is well.

I personally don't like calling it a disease, so thanks for your insight.
Re: Is addiction a disease?
As for "term": I agree with Shane's phrasing of "dis-ease". I wasn't feeling complete within my own self when the opportunity for meth use presented itself to me. "Inner-Me" was sick with a dis-ease. I also believe my dis-ease is preventable and treatable therefore recovery is possible.
(my apologies for the easy-route of editing today)

Re: Is addiction a disease?
Note that Sfj always seems to clarify for those who don't like to call addiction "disease" that it is also thought that drug use (abuse) is often a symptom of other disorders or something like that. Hopefully he will post his exact words.

I call it a disease because after living my life with alternative medicine as my main form of healing, I believe that diseases can be cured or at least managed so it's not a depressing word for me-more of a challenge. dis-ease the word, isn't really such a depressing thing-here's a definition from WinikepediA.

A disease or medical condition is an abnormality of the body or mind that causes discomfort, dysfunction, distress, or death to the person afflicted or those in contact with the person. Sometimes the term is used broadly to include injuries, disabilities, disorders, syndromes, infections, symptoms, deviant behaviors, and atypical variations of structure and function, while in other contexts these may be considered distinguishable categories.

NA and AA-AlAnon and NarAnon use the word disease with hope. Certain treatment facilities-organizations don't call it disease because they think that people will only be bummed out and won't go to their treatment facility.

I certainly couldn't bring up my Alanonic disease or Naranonic disease at the bar with a group of my old friends...They'd think I was a lunatic (not that they don't already, but no need to stress them more )

Sfj Re: Is addiction a disease?
Using the disease model is fine for some circumstances but it can also be detrimental in others.

I don’t have any problem with the “disease” model, especially as it relates to a propensity for a behavior after an action.

That is, for some people, using once will send them into an all out, headlong, full-speed-ahead path into full blown misuse, abuse, chemical dependency and addiction.

Someone else will try the same exact drug in exactly the same amount under the same conditions and gasp, “EWWW, How Can you stand this crap? This is horrible.”

The idea that people react differently is quite well accepted. The people who are more likely to enjoy the drug, continue to use it, and get seriously hooked are the ones that I could see ascribing the label “addict” or “disease of addiction” to.

Another argument around the disease model is that it will not manifest itself unless one takes the first hit. Regardless of my disease, or propensity for disease, if I never take that first hit, my disease will lie dormant forever.

What I like a bout the disease model is that it gives the addict an opportunity to get clean, abstinent by stating, “You are not responsible for your disease, but you are responsible for your recovery.” That puts the responsibility on what is to come rather than what has been since the Past can’t be changed. It also free the addict from the shame and guilt and affords him the opportunity to heal and make amends.

What I don’t like about the disease model is that it provides convenient excuses for bad behavior. You’ve all seen me repeat my mantra, “Meth gets too much credit.”
I don’t like to absolve the human from accountability and responsibility. I think we need to own up to it. Mr. Foley and Mr. Gibson blamed the liquor for their behavior. I can’t go along with that at all.

Addiction is a maladaptive behavior. It is a biopsychosocial phenomenon that causes serious emotional damage. Some religious people refer to it as sin and even alchemy.
It is certainly stigmatized, and who knows, maybe it should be. Loraura has often stated that she feels it is a method of coping using chemical means rather than something better – or words to that effect. She may be right.

Is addiction a disease? Is obesity a disease? By some definitions – yes !
Does it matter? Yes. (maybe) (maybe not)
But I think what is more important is the solution. And that can come in many forms.

Re: Is addiction a disease?
I'm just curious how many people think that addiction is truly a disease...or do we use drugs to fill some void in our life or to numb the pain that we feel.

This is just my opinion and not mean to upset anyone. Isn't it easier to call it a disease then to say "I have poor coping mechanisms"?

Isn't it easier and more politically correct to say some one suffers from alcoholism then to say that they are just a drunk?

I think that the sad part is that people in general are so busy naming it this or that, that they fail to grasp the whole concept of addiction and all that goes with it.

Is it like SIN...we all sin and will never be perfect???

Maybe it is just sin. Doing what we think is best for us and disregarding anything that is contrary to what we want to do. We could get real philosophical here and call sin, sin and admit that we all sin and that makes none of us better then the other but that just might open a whole different can of worms. LOL.

Or is addiction a choice??

I do not think that any one willingly wants to become an addict. But, I think that we all know well enough things that we are not supposed to do and do them any way because we think that it will never happen to us. I'll never become an addict, I'll never become an alcoholic, I'll never get pregnant, yet we partake in the things that can lead us right to where we say we are never going to be. It seems to me that every time I have ever said it will never happen to me, I was proven wrong.  And it happened.

Re: Is addiction a disease?
If it is a disease where we born with it??

i would say yes to both....
i have no problem with the word disease. and you may notice in some of my posts i call it dis-ease....i was always ill at ease....dis-eased....

were we born with it? i think yes....there is indisputable evidence shown in family tree's that those with alcoholic fathers/mothers inevitably grow up with the disease...however, having said that I AM NOT SAY THAT ALL PEOPLE WITH ALCOHOLIC/ADDICT PARENTS GROW UP TO BE ALCOHOLICS/ADDICTS....

I just thought i'd clarify that before i got some comments...

however a lot of people who do become addicts/alcoholics, have addict/alcoholic parents...

i know people that can use drugs in total addict ways, compulsive for months at a time, and then just not touch anything, alcohol included for years...are they addicts? no i don't think so...they weren't born with it....

pcejp Re: Is addiction a disease?
When my 17 year old was in Hazelden for treatment, they treated her meth addiction as a disease with a cure. They could not stress enough that it was a disease and that is how she learned to look at her addiction.

I believe, in her mind, it made her more accepting of what had happened to her life. She accepted that she was not a meth addict because she was a bad person, but that she had been born with a curable disease.

Granted, as a mom, I couldn't help but thinking if she hadn't turned to drugs that this addiction would have laid dormant forever.

But she now has 14 months of sobriety. If her believing that it is a disease and not her fault has brought her to this wonderful chapter in her life, I'm going to stick with thinking this is a disease.

Re: Is addiction a disease?
Good point Cathy and SFJ- I liked your post a lot. It really comes down to whatever we call it that makes us stop using.... Haha. It's true though.

I would HIGHLY recommend this amazing book that I am reading now... "The Natural Medicine Guide To Addiction" by Stephanie Marohn. In the first chapter on the first page, they point out that:

"Conventional psychiatry and 12 step programs describe it as a disease model while the natural medicine approach regards addiction as the consequence of physical, energetic, psychological and or spiritual imbalances that can be corrected. "

You could put your faith into either concept but everyone still agrees that untreated addiction affects every aspect of life and has bad consequences. I bet everyone would say yes to that (obviously or none of us would be here on KCI right now).

Check out the book though, it's pretty cool. SFJ- I know you love to read and may look into it.  I would also love if you could PM me any other good books you've read lately.

lily Re: Is addiction a disease?
Born with what?? U weren't born with booze in your baby bottle.

I see it like this.......rather than blame our genetic make-up for our fk-ups......I think this makes more sense.

If alcohol/drug use was in your family, and u as a child lived in that environment, then chances are, you're going to think that alcohol and drugs are a way of life, and kids will often do as their parents did.

If your parents dealt with stress and frustration with a glass of whiskey or a bowl of weed rather than taking a healthier option, then u as a child is most likely going to do the same, cause it's what you've seen the very people u idolize as a child, do.

Even if alcohol/drug abuse is in your "family tree" it is still your choice to pick up, not because its in your genetic make-up, but because u may have lived in a house where booze and drugs surrounded u on a day to day basis.

Having said that, there are heaps of addicts who lived in clean, alcohol/drug free homes but still chose to use through sheer curiosity and are now full-blown addicts.
There's no family history of drug abuse for some of these people, so who is responsible for their addiction?

I'll tell u, themselves, just like people with family history, cause the choice to pick up was always your own.

It really doesn't matter who qualifies to be called diseased and who doesn't, and who had it in their "family tree" and who didn't.

If u want to call it a disease, it's a disease of choice, unlike Cancer or Leukemia.

My opinion only, but I'm preparing for the stampede.   
Re: Is addiction a disease?
If u want to call it a disease, it's a disease of choice,

i sure remember the day i woke up and CHOSE to become a rancid putrid junkie...it was my goal for the day....

disease of addiction google search

Re: Is addiction a disease?
Or you could go this way eyesopen....

Addiction is a Choice

Re: Is addiction a disease?
thanks for the link dee,  there were some good points in there...
however i know for a fact that i didn't CHOOSE to become a junkie....

lily Re: Is addiction a disease?
You didn't choose to become a "rancid putrid junkie". You wanted an escape for your pain and u chose to do it with drugs, like a lot of other young kids did, including me.

The addicted junkie part happens later.

I'm not underestimating your situation by any means, just sayin there's no shame in admitting it was an unhealthy, unwise, unfortunate CHOICE at the time, one of which you've made amends for by finding recovery and CHOOSING to now live a clean, healthy life.

All the best to u for doing just that.

Re: Is addiction a disease?
That is a good point Lily - none of us (as we go over so many times on this board) "choose" to be addicts. But we found a way to deal with our emotional pains, our minds, our past, our present, etc. with substances.

lax2 Re: Is addiction a disease?
I just wanted to have fun...

but I can tell you that the first time I drank more than a couple of sips, I was already an alcoholic. It changed me in a way I don't think it changes the non-alcoholic. I distinctly remember going from hating it when my parents got drunk & obnoxious, to partying with peers-drinking tom collins the first time, and feeling "Where have you been all my life" for the first time in my life I enjoyed and was comfortable in a group of more than 1 of my peers.

I have the disease of alcoholism, I always will. I am an alcoholic. I haven't had a drink in 10 years this December, so I am not currently suffering from it. But If I were to drink today, I know that charge/flush would come over me in an instant. It changes my whole personality.

That said I don't care much for labels. Too much thinking
can get ya drinkin
' I think.

Genetics play a part as well as perhaps environment does. But not all children of alcys get the gene.

See also:

Addiction - Can it be cured?

For those who believe addiction is a disease

Are addicts made or born?

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