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Thread: Do you believe that alcoholism is a disease?

  1. #11
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    This month's National Geographic has a cover story on addiction including a promising new treatment where electromagnetic pulses target the areas of the brain that are affected. I believe this is a progressive illness with roots in genetics, (often undiagnosed) mental illness and PTSD. I sometimes watch the show "Intervention" and it has informed my perspective, as have personal relationships with addicts and attending Al Anon and Nar Anon.

  2. #12
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    I agree, Yppej. I also believe it's a progressive illness with roots in genetics.

    I had a middle-aged friend once who was a recovered [or recovering? I don't know the terminology] alcoholic and who related a story of her first alcohol drinking experience. As a young teen, she and her 2 friends were sitting around one summer and one of the friends had brought wine. The 2 friends tasted it and decided, Yuck, this tastes terrible and stopped. On the other hand, she said she wasn't crazy about the taste but absolutely loved the effects and right away wanted more. As a young adult she continued drinking and progressed into drugs and became a drug addict. She finally stopped cold turkey after an incident with her daughter, but to this day is terrified of even taking a mild pain killer for medical reasons because she fears falling back into addiction.
    Was her brain just wired differently? Since some adults are easily able to have an occasional beer or glass of wine while others can't stop until they drink themselves to death means there must be a physiological component. It would be a truly wonderful thing if addiction could be cured.

  3. #13
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    DH has an only-child cousin who since high school, has been in/out of alcohol, cocaine, tx for manic-depressive disorder, lived off the grid, got rid of material stuff then reaquired a high-end lifestyle personna (provided by others), heavy pot-consumption, 3 husbands, 2 kids w/#2 who she lost in divorce for obvious reasons.....

    Do I think she has a problem? Oh yes! She requires attention!! her parents paying for therapy and stuff and letting her move in/out. On her 3rd husband provider......I'll stop there.

  4. #14
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    Yes

  5. #15
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Not really, but that's just semantics. Addiction is certainly a scourge.

  6. #16
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    There are physical differences in the brain of addicts versus non-addicts. There are differences in initial brain responses to first time use of a substance between addicts and non-addicts.

    Quite comparable in fact to the pancreas differences in a diabetic. Or the inflammatory differences in an asthmatic.

    I find it particularly egregious that we don't recognize brain differences the same way that we recognize the differences in the rest of the body parts. Can anyone say stigma ???

  7. #17
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    Some people respond differently to alcohol than others, however those who don't respond positively to alcohol might find they just love opiates or cocaine etc. (less people try those drugs). So it doesn't meant they couldn't be addicts. It has to effect brain chemistry a certain way which alcohol doesn't for everyone, and then you have to want and maybe NEED that high. I mean definitely with drugs people self-medicate depression, and anxiety (anti-anxiety meds being widely abused), for some who need a lot of stimulation boredom etc. as well.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammy View Post
    There are physical differences in the brain of addicts versus non-addicts. There are differences in initial brain responses to first time use of a substance between addicts and non-addicts.

    Quite comparable in fact to the pancreas differences in a diabetic. Or the inflammatory differences in an asthmatic.

    I find it particularly egregious that we don't recognize brain differences the same way that we recognize the differences in the rest of the body parts. Can anyone say stigma ???
    I agree

  9. #19
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I was reading that one in five people have a natural immunity to hangovers. The feedback loop telling a person that alcohol is a poison is a good deterrent that some people apparently don't have. A large number of the alcoholics I've know have had alcoholism in older generations of their family. I think that there is a genetic component that makes a person more likely to abuse alcohol and that it may be hereditary. There are obviously many who have alcoholism in their family or have those genetic traits making them more likely to abuse alcohol, but make a choice not to follow that path. So I'd probably call it a disorder rather than a disease, but it depends on the definition of disease.

  10. #20
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    Diabetics choose to eat sugar. Asthmatics choose to keep their cat eve n though a cat allergy is the cause of the asthma.

    I see little difference between those choices and the choice of an alcoholic to drink alcohol. That's why I think it's a disease.

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