Is Addiction Really A Disease?
Merrimack river boy
Posted: January 29, 2016, 5:32 PM







Addiction predates science , modern medical practice , modern psychiatric practice and all the vocabulary and terminology that those disciplines invent and discard when their usefulness has run its course. My experience has been, and is, with heroin and methadone beginning in 1967 and continuing to the present . The equation is the same as its been for at least 6,000 years since the first poor prick saw that goo oozing from the poppy pod and put it in his mouth. He and I could have a very substantive conversation and understand each other with perfect clarity and not once refer to addictive personalities, serotonin, receptors, synapses, agonists, antagonists etc. ad infinitum. If you use long enough, you're screwed, and if you want to get straight you suffer. Medicine, psychiatry and science don't exist on some elevated plateau where the light of truth is perpetually shining and where jealousy, hatred, laziness, stupidity, greed (the love of money),and ignorance don't exist. I don't really care about degrees or certifications or the various validations that these professionals display so prominently in their little offices. It's been in those places that I've met some of the most egregiously ignorant and nasty a******* on the planet. We have applied science (pharmaceutical corporations) to thank for heroin, methadone, oxys, benzos and all the other synthetic psychotropics that have caused such incredible misery in our Western world (not that the East has any immunity, or that medicine/science hasn't in other arenas made great and beneficial contributions). I don't believe that addiction is a disease. Addiction is addiction --- a category of it's own. I don't now what the solution is. There are some areas of human behavior for which there don't seem to be any solutions. I do know that methadone clinics ( courtesy of science, medicine, psychiatry ) are one of the horrors of recent human history. Being on methadone maintenance is like being embalmed. I do feel badly for those people who for reasons of severe physical pain were steered into methadone maintenance. On bad days I sincerely believe that there is a special corner of Hell reserved for drug counselor s, social workers and psychiatric and medical practitioners employed in these clinics and I hope that it's right beside the junkie section. No, not a disease. Last thing -- why are so many of us so willing to relinquish our personal autonomy, our ability to choose and act on those choices and cover behind a spurious disease construct. 65 years old. First bag of dope when I was 17. Last when I was 55. Dually addicted methadone /heroin 30 yrs. Now at .75 mgs. Looking forward to the Summer. Be running my mile tonight.
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Addiction is a disease.
Posted: February 7, 2016, 6:46 PM







Addiction is a disease. You have the definition and it fits. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of the movie Pleasure Unwoven. This will provide the education you need to understand the disease better. In general, society is very ignorant regarding the facts surrounding addiction.
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Lucy
Posted: February 22, 2016, 4:51 AM







I think your post is wrong. If it were the case that it is always a choice to be an addict, then those that aquire AIDS because of gay relationships made the choice to be gay so it's their own fault they get it. Those who get hooked on narcartics because they were given pain killers in the hospital too long or their doctor gave them too long and then they are cut off, but by then they have an addiction that they never asked for. Some are born addicted because of their addict mother and thus will always be, because they have a chemical imbalance due to no fault of their own. It doesn't mean they will continue to use but they are still addicts.
So no, addiction it's not always a choice, nor is it something that goes away just becausbecause they quit using, it simply ginto into remission. You obviously have never had to battle any kind of addiction or habit, it isn't easy. I have and although I no longer am using drugs, my addiction is still very much there. It never goes away and yes I am one of those people who did NOT become an addict by choice. So perhaps you should open your narrow mind and do a little more research before you make such bold statements about something you really don't haves facts about. It is not ALWAYS a choice my friend. Narrow mindedness IS. Its people like you that make it so difficult for addicts to get the help they sometimes desire. Some people want help but it cost so damn much there's no way they can pay for it so they don't stop because they don't know how to stop. And some thing's make you so sick, could even kill you if you don't quit them with proper meds and help.
So unless you've been there, please don't think you've got it all figured out what'it's like to be addicted, because you couldn't be more wrong.
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Posted: February 23, 2016, 11:45 PM


Posts: 10
Joined: February 23, 2016



I believe they call it a disease because it causes in most cases a non reversible chemical imbalance in the brain. Your brain is an evolving organ and adapts for survival,, when its overloaded it creates more receptor that never go away ,, they may become dormant post addiction after several months. But they will remain waiting to awaken at the first sign of overload.
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john k
Posted: February 27, 2016, 4:31 PM







For everyone who thinks addiction is not a disease, purchase the dvd "pleasure Unwoven". It is an excellent presentation presenting the arguments of choice v addiction. Why do some people
who experiment with alcohol,as do so many young people, become addicts and most drink
socially?
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MissL
Posted: March 3, 2016, 4:41 PM







It's a diease no two way about it. No body wants that kind of pain in their life. It affects every part of thier life and the brain is an organ just like the pancrease ect. Most addicts will have mental illness aswell that's why they are liked but can happen to anyone. Something like a trauma can damage the brain, The same as mental illness, it's not functioning 'normally' and it's not a virus or infetion. And addiction is in that catergry- mental illness so is just as much a diease.
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Margot
Posted: May 7, 2016, 6:12 AM







Why is a brain being programmed to want something a disease. You can program your brain to do anything. A brain suffering discomfort when its not getting what its programmed to have obviously feels discomfort, but it doesn't last forever, just like your brain not being use to this new thing doesn't last forever. Just as if you start running long distance and at first all you can think about is wanting to stop until after repeatedly putting yourself through how much it sucks that you can run a marathon and enjoy it. You can program and then you can un-program. YOU told IT what it wanted before IT ever told YOU. Maybe this is why there are so many addicts - to program your brain to do something that is good for you actually sucks before it becomes good - but with drugs and alcohol, its good before it sucks, and its good as long as you're high, and avoiding discomfort which is an aspect of life is what you are aviding. Avoiding heart break, problems at home, earning that masters degree you had to stay up every single night to study for, doing everything you can to be successful because you dont like the life you have now but instead of being strong and feeling stressed, tired, discouraged, you CHOOSE to numb it. This cannot be classified with someone who is suffering from AIDS, Alzheimers, tuberculosis, schizoprenia, a brain tumer, this is not a disease. If we are defining this brain signal which causes a release of dopamine a disease, than me running every single f***ing day and loving it so much and it is my passion in life is a disease as well. I exclude this from mothers who use while pregnant. Everything was your choice until it is wasn't and now you want a reason not to feel ashamed. A brain signaling you for something it wants, that before it ever wanted it, you told it to - does not a disease make. New research that they can see the signal for drugs from the brain and where it is located. So what. Our brain has a signal for everything - how do you think I know know to type on this keyboard without ever looking down. People want a reason to explain it all so that when they seek treatment they aren't seen as worse people than someone in the hospital bed next to them who is also suffering, I don't deny that an addict is suffering, mentally/emotionally/physically - but without that title, that addicts are fighting for with lets face it no weight, they lose almost every feeling in themselves or act of empathy from another that make their lives a little easier to face, every day.
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Margot
Posted: May 7, 2016, 6:13 AM







Why is a brain being programmed to want something a disease. You can program your brain to do anything. A brain suffering discomfort when its not getting what its programmed to have obviously feels discomfort, but it doesn't last forever, just like your brain not being use to this new thing doesn't last forever. Just as if you start running long distance and at first all you can think about is wanting to stop until after repeatedly putting yourself through how much it sucks that you can run a marathon and enjoy it. You can program and then you can un-program. YOU told IT what it wanted before IT ever told YOU. Maybe this is why there are so many addicts - to program your brain to do something that is good for you actually sucks before it becomes good - but with drugs and alcohol, its good before it sucks, and its good as long as you're high, and avoiding discomfort which is an aspect of life is what you are aviding. Avoiding heart break, problems at home, earning that masters degree you had to stay up every single night to study for, doing everything you can to be successful because you dont like the life you have now but instead of being strong and feeling stressed, tired, discouraged, you CHOOSE to numb it. This cannot be classified with someone who is suffering from AIDS, Alzheimers, tuberculosis, schizoprenic, a brain tumer, this is not a disease. If we are defining this brain signal which causes a release of dopamine a disease, than me running every single f***ing day and loving it so much and it is my passion in life is a disease as well. I exclude this from mothers who use while pregnant. Everything was your choice until it is wasn't and now you want a reason not to feel ashamed. A brain signaling you for something it wants, that before it ever wanted it, you told it to - does not a disease make. New research that they can see the signal for drugs from the brain and where it is located. So what. Our brain has a signal for everything - how do you think I know know to type on this keyboard without ever looking down. People want a reason to explain it all so that when they seek treatment they aren't seen as worse people than someone in the hospital bed next to them who is also suffering, I don't deny that an addict is suffering, mentally/emotionally/physically - but without that title, that addicts are fighting for with lets face it no weight, they lose almost every feeling in themselves or act of empathy from another that make their lives a little easier to face, every day.
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Unknown
Posted: June 2, 2016, 3:17 AM







I respectfully disagree with you. I am pretty sure addictive behavior is a mental health issue. You can decide whether or not to use drugs. Just as people who are overweight choose to eat too much. We all know that being overweight can lead to diabetes right? Diabetes is a health issue is it not?Too much of anything is not good. You think anyone wants diabetes? No..just like no one wants to be thought of as a drug addict. Most people don't want to be considered fat, but because they are unable to stop eating so much they are overweight. Should we lock up all the fat people too?
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tim
Posted: June 15, 2016, 4:28 PM







You not being an addict tells the whole story. If you are not an addict, you cannot possibly knows what an addict thinks like or feels like. you do not know what they can control. People are addicted to all kinds of things, not just drugs and alcohol. All addictions are bad. See, once a person reaches the point of addiction, they lose the ability to make a choice. It controls them. the disease of made up of much more than the drugs/alcohol. It is made up of shame, regret, guilt, low self esteem, anger, resentment, selfishness, etc... No one chooses to be an addict. No ones want to be an addict. sure, we may choose to take that first hit but we never intend on it going as fair as it goes. Denial stops us from seeing that we have a problem. The drug tells us that we are ok. We are not responsible for our disease but we are resposnble for our recovery. Having the disease of addiction is not our excuse to do what ever we want. It is like any other disease, we have to get treatment. it is a spiritual disease. Maybe you should study the disease concept of addiction or have someone explain it to you. Dis ease (dis means away from) so a disease is when you are away from ease. trust me, nothing is easy when you are an addict.
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tim
Posted: June 15, 2016, 4:30 PM







drug addiction and alcoholism is now classified as a mental health issue. you may not agree with it but epiople who have studied this, researched this, and have enormous amounts of education in this area, have said it is a mental health issue and a disease.
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tim
Posted: June 15, 2016, 4:39 PM







just reading the original post. you talked about running to release dopamines and compared that to a disease. well, if you run or exercise everyday; then one day you pull a mucsle but continue to run anyway, or your running causes you to negelect other areas of your life, but you do it anyway, then you have a problem. if you continue to run despite these problems, and running is all you think about, you have an addiction. so, yes, running can be an addiction.
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Posted: July 2, 2016, 8:03 PM


Posts: 1551
Joined: June 27, 2016



Diseases can be reversed.

I think the addict needs to get to a point of being clean, then change the habits, diet and exercise, alternative activities, keep doing something new until something sticks.new coping mechanisms. then, after doing this for a year being clean, it starts to get easier.

It is all so complicated. How some never develop an addiction. Some see where they are headed and abruptly halt and turn around. Some dont have enough will power and for a reason not clear to them or us, they stay in it even when they do not want to.

The same rant from the initial postings can be said for many behavioral situations. Obesity, tabbaco smoking, shop lifting, gambling, etc. Maybe it is something linked to OCD. That would put addition in the category of psycological disease, not physical disease.

Some people who are over weight change their diet and exercise and loose 50 lbs. Some do not try. and so on. stop drinking soda ! How hard is that! And diet soda is even worse. diet foods make people fat and poison them with chemicals.

Yeah, that's why we are all here at this message board. We are trying to break the code.

Another thought. The ones who are successful are not in these message boards. They are enjoying their new life and dont want to ever be reminded of this crappy time in their life.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on July 2, 2016, 8:05 PM
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Aim
Posted: July 23, 2016, 11:19 PM







I agree 100%, not a disease. It's a really bad Choice!!
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WarriorQueen
Posted: July 31, 2016, 5:28 PM







I just wrote a post about this not too long ago . I see everyone pretty much settled this, but if your not an addict or a doctor or intelligent enough to research that it's a mental disease then you wouldn't understand . Not to be rude but it's science that has proved that it is indeed a disease not just a really bad choice .

Before I used I thought of an addict as a Bum on the street that look emaciated and dirty . I now know it can happen to anyone especially people with underlying conditions such as depression anxiety etc...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is now a medical fact that it is a mental disease not just a bad choice .
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WarriorQueen
Posted: July 31, 2016, 5:37 PM







Just to add it is a disease .

Picture this if your Brain and Body told you that you were starving that you needed to eat . Would you ?
I bet you would eat because your body and brain told you so . You'd kill animals and whatever else just to eat so you'd avoid starvation .

It's basically the same with addiction . How can you expect an addict to refuse to listen to their body and mind . It's very hard when your brain is saying "Your starving EAT!"
Never pass judgement on something you know nothing about .

Basically it's a disease just like the sky is blue and the grass is green . It's a fact now .

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Posted: August 13, 2016, 5:15 PM


Posts: 14
Joined: August 13, 2016



Disease is just not a choice (My grandmother has Alzheimer a horrible disease, she didn't choose to have it) but not dealing with all your demons and picking up is a total decision think about it..
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Posted: November 18, 2016, 2:04 AM


Posts: 243
Joined: August 18, 2016



A bunch of interesting responses. I would pose the question What about those of us who took our first opiate due to illness or injury? I started my journey after a catastrophic horseback riding accident that left me with a broken spine, pelvis and ribs. I had a closed head injury and underwent multiple surgeries and was hospitalized on IV narcotics for over 6 months. THAT was NOT a choice to use! Yet, I still became an addict!

I agree with the fact that the physical and mental aspects of addiction are inseparable. I also think the disease/behavioral/choice/no choice doesn't really matter.

Active addiction needs to be treated by a bunch of different modalities. It is hell for the families and hell for the addicts. PERIOD! It doesn't matter what we call it...lets treat it and support each other! The blame game does nothing to solve the problem! We can debate the chicken or the egg thing til the cows(or any other animal you prefer) come home and it won't make a damn bit of differnce! Families will still be torn apart and addicts will still die! Treatment and understanding, folks!

This post has been edited by lolleedee on November 18, 2016, 2:06 AM
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Posted: February 8, 2017, 4:33 AM


Posts: 6
Joined: February 7, 2017



Many of us have had to struggle with the concept of addiction as a disease. I would recommend the book "The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease." The author, Marc Lewis, is of the view that addiction is a learned behavior that can be "unlearned." I'm sure that's an oversimplification, but it is the general idea. It is consistent with the recovery program known as "Smart Recovery," which eschews the concept of "powerlessness," and, instead, applies concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy to change behavior. I don't know the ultimate answer, but I believe this read will help distill your thoughts. The following is a link to an article in Salon http://www.salon.com/2015/06/27/add...ubstance_abuse/“

This post has been edited by stanm on February 8, 2017, 4:42 AM

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Mad At The Process
Posted: April 10, 2017, 1:49 PM







Hi there,
I too believe it is a choice and not a disease. But I do think the changes that occur to the brain after long term use are in a way a "Disease". I am married to an addict that has lied to my face for over 10 years now about being clean and getting the issue under control. It is truly unbelievable the crafty fabricated lies she would come up with to keep me thinking she was clean. The defensive behavior when asking her if she was on something always led me on to know she was.

She went away for rehab and is now out going to NA meetings every day. She quit her job before going into rehab and now "Isn't in the right frame of mind to work yet". I find the recovery process to be just as painful as the drug problem. I do not trust her one bit and she disappears for hours at night to go to meetings and then mingle with the NA friends. I asked her to attend day meetings while I'm at work and she refuses, she likes the evening instead...

There is plenty more to the story but I'm typing on my phone so I'm going to cut this short. I am truly happy that she is over 30 days clean but we have a ton of other issues with trust and communication that are not working for us. I feel this will ultimately end in divorce because I find the entire process to be selfish on her part and she doesn't seem to care about putting in work at home. The NA meetings and friends from Rehab have become her main focus. It's like dealing with a teenager that wants to go out all night with her friends...

When the trust is broken for so long, when lied to for so long. It's really difficult to forgive. I feel like a doormat.
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