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Thread: Do you believe that alcoholism is a disease?

  1. #1
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    Do you believe that alcoholism is a disease?

    Just thought I'd ask this as when I was at the Mexican deli at Food City early this morning for discounted menudo, some of my neighbors were discussing this and it was a refreshing change of pace as it did not involve politics or the police or Trump or the 85006. Interestingly enough, this topic brought up some heated debate both pro and con in the deli - so heated that a manager came over and asked the crowd to respectfully keep it down for the early morning shoppers in the store.

    I myself have been brushed with alcoholism through my father having rage issues when drunk, which was often. Disease though? I've always accepted this without thinking it through - but this morning's discussion at the deli really is making me think. I know we have some medical folks here so I'm hoping a few might chime in with their thoughts. I'm no scientist or doctor (LOL - this is meant as humor, ok? And I don't play a scientist or doctor in the 85006 LOL) so I'm not going to claim I have the answer here - I'm just curious what other people think. And this is what I consider a cool topic, too - cool in the sense that issues with alcohol transcend anything artificially created by humans such as social class - this one doesn't care what your zip is or what you make or what you do for a living or what you believe or don't believe - some people just seem afflicted by this and some are not. Thoughts? Rob

  2. #2
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    What is the definition of "disease" to be used in this determination?

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    There certainly is a physiological element to how our individual bodies process alcohol. People who dont accept that seem ignorant of basic human biology. But if they dont want to call problems with alcohol a " disease" I suppose that is ok with me.

    People seem very hung up on definitions. Like the thread where we talk about " wedding" and what that means. There are some purists who want it to mean legal-marriage-first-time-saying-vows. Others are open to looser definitions.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    There is a lot of debate about that question for sure. I personally feel it is a disease, based on experience living with five alcoholics for my entire life and having gone to family programs for alcoholism and also attending about 9 years of Al-Anon. I see the craving, the disease progression, the sadness and guilt over the inability to make life-affirming choices rather than the self-destructive choice--or rather, compulsion--to drink. I think it's almost like an "allergy of the brain." There are heavy drinkers, and there are alcoholics. Alcohol manifests itself completely differently in one vs the other.

    I think it was Chicken Lady who just recently talked about one relative who is alcoholic and another relative who drinks 4-5 alcoholic drinks a day, but who was able to easily control it when controlling it was necessary. An alcoholic would not be able to do that.

    I am not a social worker, or doctor, so I can't give you an opinion based on academia or clinical experience. I can only give you my thoughts based on my own "ethnographic research" after having lived in the thick of alcoholism for 65 years.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    I think people can twist it however they wish for their preferred spin. Does it really matter what the drug of choice is? pharmaceutical grade Opiods, alcohol, heroin, crack, meth, pot......Does there come a point where the body MUST have the drug rather than choosing to have some? Can each person control and say no?

    The NIAAA defines an alcohol use disorder, or AUD, as a diagnosable medical condition in which an individual’s alcohol consumption causes harm or distress. The AUD most are familiar with is alcoholism. Symptoms of alcoholism include:



    An addict’s life is often centered around their drug of choice, which in the case of an alcoholic is alcohol. They spend much of their time figuring out how to obtain it, drinking it, and recovering from its effects. They also do this at the expense of pretty much everything and everyone around them. Jobs suffer as do relationships friends and family members, and often alcoholics are in trouble with the law. The National Institutes of Health estimated that 17 million adults in the United States in 2012 had an alcohol use disorder.

    Regardless, if one MUST have the drug of choice, then there is a problem no matter whether one calls it a disease or not.

  6. #6
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Is any addiction a disease? If yes, then yes. If not, where does one draw the line between a strong attraction and an inability to choose to avoid?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    After working in the human services field for many years and having 3 graduate degrees yes it is a disease. It also tends to run in families and at one point they wanted to see if they could actually do blood tests to see if someone is more likely to be an alcoholic then someone else. It does not mean someone will be one but just more likely. There have been numerous studies about this. I actually just tried to look this up but could not find anything so maybe the studies concluded that this was not possible. The thought was that if you could educate people young enough maybe they would choose to never drink versus having to figure out how to quit later. Many people lose their lives to this disease.

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    Personally, I don't think it's a disease per se but that certain individuals have a particular brain biology or psychological makeup that makes them prone to addictive behavior. I think in some, it's nothing more than a habit and habits are very hard to undo. As a teenager, I watched both of my parents (even though divorced and in separate households) go down that road. I know that I have a similar tendency towards addictive behavior and habits, whether learned or genetic.

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    I believe that all addiction is a disease that requires treatment - that's why I believe all drug problems should be treated rather than punished.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Is any addiction a disease? If yes, then yes. If not, where does one draw the line between a strong attraction and an inability to choose to avoid?
    Well, as they say about pornography, you know it when you see it. I have compassion for the alcoholics in my life because they are their own worst enemies.

    A "strong attraction" WIFE: "I'm divorcing you unless you stop drinking" NON-ALCOHOLIC: "I don't want to lose you--it sucks, but I'll stop drinking." ALCOHOLIC: [any number of inane diversions, projections and accusations all designed to preserve his/her ability to drink]. And if the marriage ends, the achoholic will say it's the other person's fault for any number of inane diversions, projections and accusations. Or they'll just quietly go away and drink themselves to death.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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