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Author Topic: Addiction is it a disease  (Read 6934 times)

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ContestationTopic starter

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Addiction is it a disease
« on: January 08, 2009, 01:23:49 PM »


This is a subject worth debate. Persephone post this in the street drugs thread

  It's been established that alcoholism and addiction are diseases, TREATABLE diseases, recognized by the AMA.


I have never seen addiction as a disease. To me its a crutch used by people who have other issues and use drugs and alcohol as an alternative to facing up to there problems.

It is classified as a disease that is caused by voluntary behavior. So I dont see addicts as victims of disease, I see them as victims of there own circumstances and people that took a cop out instead of facing up to their problems.

My views seen to be supported here

However, the recognition that addiction is a brain disease does not mean that the addict is simply a hapless victim.  Addiction begins with the voluntary behavior of using drugs, and addicts must participate in and take some significant responsibility for their recovery.
http://www.hopenetworks.org/addiction/addiction%20a%20brain%20disease.htm

Not everyone will agree with this. Whats your view on this?


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Fipronila

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 02:18:57 PM »

Actually, I do agree with you to a point. I think it is a couple factors. I was having a conversation with my manfriend a couple weeks ago actually because he has never been addicted to anything. Never did drugs, smoked, any of that and I was trying to explain it to him.

I believe people can be more susceptible to addiction due to hereditary factors, personal issues, what they have seen growing up as what is correct or not, etc.

I think they are driven to take the drug but is ultimately a personal choice whether to start or not. (of course I'm not talking about those who were injected when they were young or not by choice etc there are ALWAYS circumstances that are extreme, but that is not what I think we are talking about here.)

After they have started taking the drug- it is now a chemical dependence. This fucking sucks and is the worst part because you are then affected every time you try to stop taking the chemical. This is not only true for bullshit you snort, inject, or smoke, this is also a pill/prescription drug issue as well. It's not just the feeling of escaping or feeling fuckin happy or numb or whatever your choice of drug is, it's the horrible fucking shit you get when it wears off that people who don't have the willpower to get through it usually keep taking it to avoid that shit.

Taking myself off antidepressants SUCKED and was hard, but I knew I didn't want to feel the way they made me so I put up with the withdrawl symptoms and got off them.

I got off meth, I quit smoking, quit weed,  I stopped a lot of shit. Been on painkillers - all of it. The thing is - I have gotten myself off all of it without help because I have that much will power to not want to live like an addict or have my kids see that bullshit, so I took those equations out of the picture.

A disease is defined as:
Quote
1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.
2. any abnormal condition in a plant that interferes with its vital physiological processes, caused by pathogenic microorganisms, parasites, unfavorable environmental, genetic, or nutritional factors, etc.
3. any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society: His fascination with executions is a disease. 
4. decomposition of a material under special circumstances: tin disease. 

Because the definitions clearly indicate all the factors that come into play with drug and alcohol addiction, I'm inclined to say, technically, yes it's a disease.

I also think it is a personal choice to either stay on it or get off it. There is help out there, and if someone wants it bad enough they will quit. I only say it because I have done it. Only thing I haven't done is heroin so I can't speak for that. Meth was the single hardest thing, and something I had to make sure is NOT in my face ever because it's the one thing I always ended up saying yes to and could be sneaky with to hide from everyone else so they'd never know I was on it. It has been in my face since and I have said no but I cut off anyone I did that shit with and never have talked to them again.

Do I think it's a disease? I didn't until I read the definition of disease. I do think a person makes the decision whether they want to continue on with the addiction or not, only because there is so much information and help out there. I don't view it as an illness no one can do anything about. Everyone who is a free person is able to control their own lives.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2009, 02:45:41 PM »

I have gotten myself off all of it without help because I have that much will power to not want to live like an addict

Exactly, will power. this is why I dont see it as I would see a disease like cancer. You have the power to do something about it, and to fall back and say I have a disease is a cop out.

Sure it is a disease by definition, but is one caused by self choice. 
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2009, 01:09:22 PM »

Sigh.

I find it difficult to believe that in 2009 there is still this much debate going on about whether or not alcoholism and addiction are diseases.

They are.

First of all, many studies have concluded that the propensity for addiction is hereditary. If you take a look at many people in AA and/or NA, you'll find that there is a family history of the illness.  So we have the nature vs. nurture debate there.

And yes, initially, the addict/alcoholic has a choice about whether or not to use. But face it, most people start using when they're in their early teens and prone to peer pressure. I don't care how much "willpower" you have, when you're a 14 year old girl who wants to fit in with her friends, the willpower is gonna go out the window. Also, most addicts/alcoholics have very low self-esteem, so they're probably more prone to peer pressure to start with.

I'm not going to debate this topic; I know from personal experience that it IS a disease. It's treatable - if you're really an addict or an alcoholic, you'll need some kind of support group (12 step groups like AA/NA). That is as opposed to just a heavy drinker or drug user. Not all drinkers are alcoholics, not even heavy drinkers, and not all drug users are addicts. The phenomenon of craving is what separates the two. When a "normal person" ingests alcohol or another drug, they will get high, but they can stop. The alcoholic or addict CANNOT stop; the phenomenon of craving is introduced, and rational thought of consequences goes out the window. Much like a schizophrenic has no control over the voices they hear, the alcoholic or addict has no control over the craving.

While I know that after a time, physical addiction becomes an issue, particularly with opiates and alcohol (alcohol is the most dangerous detox - it can kill you, and if a person has been drinking on a daily basis for any length of time, they should not attempt to detox without medical supervision), physical addiction cannot be the determinant for whether the person is an addict/alcoholic in the clinical sense.

I really wish more people would educate themselves on this subject. I'm quite sure that right now, as you sit in your offices, you're surrounded by people in recovery and you don't even know it. I find it sad that, at this late date, people are still viewing recovering addicts and alcoholics as somehow lacking in moral fiber.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2009, 03:33:53 PM »

If you take a look at many people in AA and/or NA, you'll find that there is a family history of the illness.

if you're really an addict or an alcoholic, you'll need some kind of support group (12 step groups like AA/NA). That is as opposed to just a heavy drinker or drug user.


ok, im sorry but let me be the first to call bullshit.

statistically speaking these organizations have the EXACT SAME RECIDIVISM RATE as quitting on your own. that being approximately 5% success rate. some take it even farther as seen below. and theres a reason for that.

Quote
...people are about ten times as likely to change on their own as with the help of doctors, therapists, or self-help groups.


http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html

the idea that these groups help is complete hogwash and its imperative that people realize that. the ability to quit has NOTTHING to do with a support group. the ONLY thing that helps an addict recover is the realization that if they continue doing what theyre doing they will die, lose their kids, or endure some other unspeakable consequence. i speak from experience. i attended an NA meeting and was appalled by its inability to distinguish between someone taking control of their life and someone giving in to god and having "faith" that he will fix all their problems if only they succumb to his will. pfft. what a fucking joke. its retarded imo as well as being not only useless but another GIANT waste of money. im not going to sit here and agree with cont as far as whether addiction is a disease for many reasons, nor am i going to agree that it is a disease that requires treatment. im running late for work atm so i cant really get down to the nitty gritty on this atm but suffice it to say its quite a bit more complicated than either stance. or, maybe, its quite a bit simpler. depends on how you look at it really. anyway, yeah, NA/AA is a load of shit people have been eating for years and its about time people started realizing it.
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Persephone

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2009, 04:27:37 PM »

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. But first of all, NA/AA is free, so I don't see how it can be a waste of money. As far as it being hogwash, that's not been my experience at all. If the addict/alcoholic works the program (and that means working the 12 steps, not sitting in a meeting drinking free coffee and whinging about life), statistically they have a better chance of staying clean than those that do not. I don't know where you got your percentage, but AA has been in existence since 1936 (I might be off on the year, I'm not using a reference right now), and their rate of success didn't start dropping until people started watering down the message - and going to rehab.

I'm not here to argue; however, very rarely have I seen a person succeed who did not involve themselves with some kind of 12 step program. And yes, I do have extensive experience in this matter, not just as an addict in recovery but also in a professional capacity.  But, like I said, you're entitled to your opinion. I DO know that AA only can help those that are real alcoholics - not heavy drinkers trying to save their marriages or their jobs or whatever. Alcoholism/addiction is a 3-fold disease, one of the body, mind and spirit. And some form of spirituality goes a very long way in helping the recovering person to maintain their sobriety. Clean house, trust God (or your conception of a higher power, whatever that may be) help others. That's the way to get and stay clean. Admitting your wrongs and making amends, realizing that you cannot control everything and everybody, and being of service to others.
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Fipronila

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2009, 05:28:06 PM »

What's funny is that now a days, if you go to a therapist, any kind of alcohol drinking is considered being an alcoholic. They told me I was an alcoholic once and I know I wasn't. They said "If you drink in order to get drunk, you are an alcoholic" seriously. No. I drank to get drunk because it was fun and I didn't drink again the next day etc.

The point in what I posted was that it is something you can choose not to do anymore - be it your 12 -step program, a detox, or of your own stubborn will to fight it - just like depression. If you get sick of being depressed, you will go get fucking help instead of crying or killing yourself. I understand these are conditions that stem from early on, you chose to go with the program that works for you. It is a disease based off the definition of disease, however, I don't consider it to be something on the same level of diabetes. I consider it to be more of a mental disease as opposed to a medical disease.

FYI- I was that 14 year old with shit self esteem, depression and hereditary addiction. I know I have to control what I do or I get easily addicted. Same with depression. Have to work on it to be happy. It's work, but it's also life, and a constant decision to want to be happy (of course in my opinion!)

It is debatable the same way religion is debatable and the same way people give a shit if gays get married. Also, why do british people spell whining with a g? Anyone know? I'm just wondering because I say it with a G in my head when I read it like that lol. Probably the same reason we spell could with an L haha
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2009, 06:07:07 PM »

I'm not British you take that back POSTHASTE young lady! It's WHINGING - my grandmother used to tell my sister to "stop whinging." Not whining. Which is something entirely different on the noise level. :lmao:
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2009, 06:08:41 PM »

LOL oh I see. I looked it up on dictionary.com just in case. So I am saying it in my head correctly then? haha :vc:
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2009, 06:10:50 PM »

LOL oh I see. I looked it up on dictionary.com just in case. So I am saying it in my head correctly then? haha :vc:

Jes. Just visualize the kids standing around doing it.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2009, 10:39:31 PM »

I find it sad that, at this late date, people are still viewing recovering addicts and alcoholics as somehow lacking in moral fiber.

Things take time.  The exact same thing applied to the countless poor bastards that were executed last century for suffering from shell shock.  Can you even begin to imagine a modern day army shooting its soldiers for suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The proper appreciation of the mechanics of addiction is getting there...slowly....
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2009, 11:03:08 PM »

Oh By the by -  I don't think addicts lack moral fiber at all. Each person is their own individual self whether they are addicted to something or not. Being an addict doesn't mean that is all that defines the person.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2009, 11:51:21 AM »

Oh By the by -  I don't think addicts lack moral fiber at all. Each person is their own individual self whether they are addicted to something or not. Being an addict doesn't mean that is all that defines the person.

I wasn't talkin' about YOU silly. I mean in general. Ask 8 out of 10 people on the street in Podunk, USA, and they'll tell you that "them damn drunks and junkies" are nothing but weak-willed pieces of human garbage. It's sad that people are still that ignorant, but it's the truth. That's why education of very young children is important. And, as I said, not everyone that drinks is an alcoholic - and I truly wish that professional people wouldn't make that leap, because it happens fairly regularly. LOTS of people drink to get drunk, doesn't mean they're addicted to alcohol.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2009, 04:15:09 PM »

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. But first of all, NA/AA is free, so I don't see how it can be a waste of money.


http://www.aa-intergroup.org/cpc/art_support.html
Quote
A.A. is a spiritual program and should not concern itself with money at all. More pragmatic alcoholics contend that without enough money, it would be impossible to provide the services essential to carrying the message. Bill W. saw the resolution of this dilemma in "the hat" (the group?s collection basket), where money and spirituality mix, and the familiar announcement "We have no dues or fees, but we do have expenses" is an integral part of virtually every A.A. meeting.

By paying its own expenses ? rent for the meeting room, the cost of A.A. literature and local meeting lists, coffee and refreshments, support of local and national service entities ? the group ensures that meetings will be there for the suffering alcoholic, literature and information will be available, and the message will be carried around the world. Each group treasury keeps on hand a "prudent reserve" (amounts vary, but generally enough to cover one or two months? expenses), and distributes any cash beyond that amount among local, area, and national A.A. service entities.


money is involved. as i think A.A. is a waste in and of itself, any money put into it is also a waste. considering how large A.A. is, it would be logical to assume that the amount of money involved would be fairly large as well. thus, if not a "giant" waste of money then at least a fairly large waste of money.

Quote
As far as it being hogwash, that's not been my experience at all. If the addict/alcoholic works the program (and that means working the 12 steps, not sitting in a meeting drinking free coffee and whinging about life), statistically they have a better chance of staying clean than those that do not.


i showed you my stats, now you show me yours. :)

Quote
I don't know where you got your percentage,


erm, if you read the article i presented even a little bit then you would know.

the first assertions were:

Quote
At the beginning of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, someone reads out loud a plastic-laminated document that says, among other things, that this Twelve-Step program has rarely been known to fail, except for a few unfortunate people who are "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves":

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not give themselves completely to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 58.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most ardent true believers who will be honest about it recognize that A.A. and N.A. have at least 90% failure rates. And the real numbers are more like 95% or 98% or 100% failure rates. It depends on who is doing the counting, how they are counting, and what they are counting or measuring.

A 5% success rate is nothing more than the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and drug addicts. That is, out of any given group of alcoholics or drug addicts, approximately 5% per year will just wise up, and quit killing themselves.6 They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of watching their friends die. (And something between 1% and 3% of their friends do die annually, so that is a big incentive.) They often quit with little or no official treatment or help. Some actually detox themselves on their own couches, or in their own beds, or locked in their own closets. Often, they don't go to a lot of meetings. They just quit, all on their own, or with the help of a couple of good friends who keep them locked up for a few days while they go through withdrawal. A.A. and N.A. true believers insist that addicts can't successfully quit that way, but they do, every day.


as did i. as did a couple of friends of mine.

Quote
but AA has been in existence since 1936 (I might be off on the year, I'm not using a reference right now), and their rate of success didn't start dropping until people started watering down the message - and going to rehab.


well, that me be all and good but it leaves out one thing. the current year is 2009. if it worked better in the 30's then cool, but this isnt the 30's, we DO have rehab, and the fact is that AA and NA are no more responsible for someone recovering than a persons family and friends. the real credit goes to a persons willpower and desire to quit.

Quote
I'm not here to argue;


oh BAH lol of course you are. we all are, and as youre presenting your side of the argument, once again logic would dictate that you are in fact here to argue. :)

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however, very rarely have I seen a person succeed who did not involve themselves with some kind of 12 step program. And yes, I do have extensive experience in this matter, not just as an addict in recovery but also in a professional capacity.


again ill refer you to the article i presented earlier.

Quote
A 5% success rate is nothing more than the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and drug addicts. That is, out of any given group of alcoholics or drug addicts, approximately 5% per year will just wise up, and quit killing themselves.6 They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of watching their friends die. (And something between 1% and 3% of their friends do die annually, so that is a big incentive.) They often quit with little or no official treatment or help. Some actually detox themselves on their own couches, or in their own beds, or locked in their own closets. Often, they don't go to a lot of meetings. They just quit, all on their own, or with the help of a couple of good friends who keep them locked up for a few days while they go through withdrawal. A.A. and N.A. true believers insist that addicts can't successfully quit that way, but they do, every day.

Every disease has a spontaneous remission rate. The rate for the common cold is basically 100 percent ? almost nobody ever dies just from a cold. People routinely just "get over it", naturally. Likewise, ordinary influenza ? "the flu" ? has a very high spontaneous remission rate, greater than 99%. Yes, some old people do die from the flu every year, but not very many. Most people just get over it.

On the other hand, diseases like cancer and Ebola have very low spontaneous remission rates ? left untreated, they are very deadly and few people recover from them.

Alcoholism is in the middle. The Harvard Medical School reported that in the long run, the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics is slightly over 50 percent. That means that the annual rate of spontaneous remission is around 5 percent.

Thus, an alcoholism treatment program that seems to have a 5% success rate probably really has a zero percent success rate ? it is just taking credit for the spontaneous remission that is happening anyway. It is taking the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway. And a program that has less than a five percent success rate, like four or three, may really have a negative success rate ? it is actually keeping some people from succeeding in getting clean and sober. Any success rate that is less than the usual rate of spontaneous remission indicates a program that is a real disaster and is hurting the patients.


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But, like I said, you're entitled to your opinion.


hey now lol, im perfectly capable of disagreeing without being disagreeable. im not here to attack or belittle. this is just one of those things are are debateable as well as something i have some experience with myself.

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I DO know that AA only can help those that are real alcoholics - not heavy drinkers trying to save their marriages or their jobs or whatever. Alcoholism/addiction is a 3-fold disease, one of the body, mind and spirit. And some form of spirituality goes a very long way in helping the recovering person to maintain their sobriety.


one must believe there is a soul or the existence of the spirit in a religious sense to believe in spirituality. to me addiction is of the mind and body ONLY and that since there is no such thing as spirituality the recovery from addiction can only be attributed to the addicts mind aka; willpower and, in the case of physical addictions like heroin, body in the form of appropriate medical care.

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Clean house, trust God (or your conception of a higher power, whatever that may be) help others. That's the way to get and stay clean. Admitting your wrongs and making amends, realizing that you cannot control everything and everybody, and being of service to others.


i see, so what youre saying is that because i dont believe in God (for lack of a better term) and im not particularly helpful to others that i should never have been able to kick my addictions? if i had neither spirituality nor any "generosity" then thats 2/3'rds of the requirements of these twelve step programs.

the reality is that people recover when they decide to quit and their willpower determines for how long. the vehicle for arriving at that point doesnt matter. ultimately the ability to quit ANY addictions lies soley with the addict. it is their decision to quit and their will to overcome that enables them to do so.
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Willow

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2009, 09:09:46 PM »

My two cents....

I'm sure everyone on here who has read me in the past knows that I was a pretty  hardcore pothead. Up until July of 2007, weed was basically my life. If I wasn't at work, guaranteed I was high. Yeah, only pot, but that was enough. My x always had at least an ounce on hand. I know I have an addictive personality. I've always been like that. I find something I like and I become obsessed with, usually until I get bored or find something else to become addicted to. Not the case with pot. There seemed to be no end in sight. I would wake up in the morning and smoke. As soon as I got home from work, I would smoke a bowl and it was the last thing I would do before going to sleep. And everything in between? Yep, I was high.

It wasn't until I met my current man that I realized what a hole I was in. I didn't want to do anything but smoke and it was destroying my life. I decided to quit. Cold turkey, along with cigarettes. No support group or 12 step. I did it all on my own.

Weed is not physically addicting. But it sure as shit is psychologically addicting. I think quitting that was harder for me than quitting cigarettes. I still get cravings now. My mouth will go dry if someone is smoking and I catch a whiff. I try to stay away from people who smoke because it's easier that way.

I do believe that addiction is a disease...to an extent. I know I get addicted to things easily, anything really, and that's a mental disorder, I'm sure. The trick is to not get addicted to things that are harmful and if you do, to have the strength and willpower to overcome it.
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Persephone

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2009, 08:52:34 PM »

Okay. :grin:
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thekid65

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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2009, 05:37:54 PM »

I think what the fuckers who agree with the OP fail to realize is what the true definition of disease is.

Read that shit, and tell me that addiction isn't a disease.

Edit: By definition, a disease doesn't necessarily have to be a "choice" thing

Nuff said.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2009, 12:03:12 AM »

We already went over the definition. The debate appears to be more of a an argument as to the fact that you can control what you put in your body to rid yourself of the harmful effects. It's not the same thing as say Diabetes or Crohn's Disease in that sense. You have a choice to take or attempt to take control of an addiction. I believe the person has to want it bad enough to seek help. It's not an easy thing to go through and by saying that the answer is for the addict to want to be free of their addiction is not by any means meant to belittle the process. It is clearly one of the most difficult things a person can go through. It's stating a fact that I believe seeing myself, family members and friends go through it. The ones who made it are the ones who actually wanted to get their shit together and not live like that anymore.
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2009, 06:00:07 AM »

After looking at this site, people should really think twice about taking any type of drugs... :sad:

http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/DrugIssue/MethResources/faces/photo_12.html
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Re: Addiction is it a disease
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2009, 10:27:08 AM »

i've studied and researched this topic highly extensively in my time.  what i've concluded, and several so as well, is that disease is considered that in which medication type drugs need (noticed that is need) to be utilized in order to become "cured". 

although when someone faces addiction they may use other types of medication to assist them in the healing process, to help with the pains and ailments of the sobering process, it is not needed. 

it is as hereditary as diabetes, or heart disease.  but again, because the main cure for addiction is basically behavior modification and heavy therapy i don't really consider it to be a disease.

an illness is what i classify it as.  are the physical effects real?  yes.  is it a degrading situation?  yes.  is it life threatening?  damn skippy.  but addiction stems from an addictive personality, be it a strong one or weak one, and in 82% of those treated by other types of drugs for the addiction, they just become addicted to what they have been prescribed or they fall back to their drug of choice. 

it's really simple see.  not a disease and illness because plenty of people may choose to use the gum or patch to stop smoking, but they can stop smoking without it just the same.  (just an example, cause most people seem to think that smoking is not an addiction...utter morons i know).
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