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Addiction is not a Disease

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posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:16 AM
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First of all I've chosen to put this in medical issues & conspiracies because I think it's a conspiracy to treat addiction as if it was a medical issue. It's not.



Lewis’s argument is actually fairly simple: The disease theory, and the science sometimes used to support it, fail to take into account the plasticity of the human brain. Of course, “the brain changes with addiction,” he writes. “But the way it changes has to do with learning and development — not disease.” All significant and repeated experiences change the brain; adaptability and habit are the brain’s secret weapons. The changes wrought by addiction are not, however, permanent, and while they are dangerous, they’re not abnormal. Through a combination of a difficult emotional history, bad luck and the ordinary operations of the brain itself, an addict is someone whose brain has been transformed, but also someone who can be pushed further along the road toward healthy development.
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I have said nearly the exact words countless times since first hearing someone try to tell me that addiction was a disease. Let's just say I was a hoodlum early in life, experienced a lot of tragic situations, and have since turned it all around. I've seen the development of addiction in numerous people over the years, and I've seen how people get well and how people remain with poor habits.

It is very apparent to me that the evidence used to support the notion that addiction is a disease is not real science. It is looking at data after the fact and claiming causation without reason. It makes zero sense. There are numerous things which shape the brain over time. Anything we focus on expands, it creates new neural networks, strengthens existing, and atrophies those not given recent attention. Addiction is no different.

What happens in recovery is an individual learns to repattern their psyche. Some people are intelligent and self aware enough to do this all their own. Some people need instruction and reinforcement from others they trust. Yet others require isolation,the inability to access their substance of choice, and rigid structure (prison). The common denominator in those who come clean is leaving the prior lifestyle and connections associated with their poor habits and choosing to live a more healthy lifestyle. Whether that choice comes internally from within yourself, or after being conditioned sufficiently from outside influences and circumstances is irrelevant.

Seeing addiction as a disease, is claimed to take away the social stigma and shame felt by addicts. This reasoning is used to justify a falsification of the science, all the while padding the pockets of institutions whose interest it is to keep the current model in place. I think it is morally irresponsible, and ethically unsound to keep this position. Addicts have reason for feeling shame of their actions, and society has a cause for stigmatizing addicts. There was once wisdom in these actions, and yet now it can be viewed as folly.

The problem is not feeling shame for prior behavior. The problem is in not placing this shame appropriately on the behavior of the individual, a being who has the will to change. Shame is a social tool which when wielded correctly leads to transformation of the individual for his and societies benefit as a whole. That an individual has failed to place the shame in it's proper place, at the act, and not the being itself, is not justification for doing away with the shaming process entirely.

Do I expect to change anyone's mind in this thread? Not really. I've got a bit of time under my belt, and through the process went to state-mandated classes. In these classes the disease model was hammered into these poor souls. I respectfully challenged the instructor at every chance given. The first couple of months I didn't make a dent in her perspective. The last couple she was at least respecting my view, not trying to block out my reasoning, and conceding I had valid points to offer. She kept to her belief. I've never put so much effort into trying to inform a group of people in my life, and that's the best that could be done with about 200 hours of interaction.

I have no doubt in my mind it is only a matter of time before this addiction is a disease model is replaced by a better one. I do think the interests in place will keep to their story and continue to influence the general public for some years yet, but within the scientific community, it will become obvious that this model is false some years prior.
edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



+16 more 
posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:27 AM
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I am not a medical doctor, a psychologist, or an addiction specialist. However, I know that you are describing a disease with physical, mental, psychological, and environmental factors. Saying that addiction, in general, is or is not the result of any one of these factors is short-sighted and wrong.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:29 AM
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There are researches done about it even studies of genetic predisposition.
University of Maryland´s SNPedia says

[PMID 18518925OA-icon.png] Genetic susceptibility to heroin addiction: a candidate gene association study


[PMID 18330705OA-icon.png] Physiogenomic analysis of localized FMRI brain activity in schizophrenia.


[PMID 19185213OA-icon.png] HTR3B is associated with alcoholism with antisocial behavior and alpha EEG power--an intermediate phenotype for alcoholism and co-morbid behaviors.


[PMID 19500151OA-icon.png] Heroin addiction in African Americans: a hypothesis-driven association study.


You can read more of these genes through the links in the site
LINK

and

Only for Hispanics, individuals who have a genoset composed of rs1799913(C;C) and rs7963720(T;T) are reported to be at 14x higher risk for developing heroin addiction (CI:0.83-244.63, p=0.012).[PMID 18181017]

also more behind the link
LINK

and

[PMID 18518925OA-icon.png] Genetic susceptibility to heroin addiction: a candidate gene association study


[PMID 22500942OA-icon.png] Association of OPRD1 polymorphisms with heroin dependence in a large case-control series

[PMID 19500151OA-icon.png] Heroin addiction in African Americans: a hypothesis-driven association study.

LINK


The Question is addiction a disease.. it could be.

edit on 23-1-2016 by dollukka because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:30 AM
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originally posted by: PhloydPhan
I am not a medical doctor, a psychologist, or an addiction specialist. However, I know that you are describing a disease with physical, mental, psychological, and environmental factors.


I challenge you to back this statement up.


Saying that addiction, in general, is or is not the result of any one of these factors is short-sighted and wrong.


Which factors? There are genetic, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and environmental aspects of addiction. I don't deny this in the least. I know this in no way indicates it to be a disease.
edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:32 AM
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a reply to: dollukka

I fully acknowledge there is genetic predisposition towards the behavior surrounding drug addiction.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:40 AM
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I studied Neuroscience and the physical effects of drugs on the brain.
Different drugs have different effects.
There are drugs that don't change much at all in the physiology of the brain. These include ecstacy, marijuana and Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Their effects are fleeting and no physical addiction results because all changes are temporary and reversible.

Then there are barbiturates, especially Heroin, which completely and permanently alter the structure of the brain. Namely the iron channels of each neuron. Once heroin has been taken, a lack of it will leave a kind of 'empty space' that is permanent and leads to withdrawal symptoms if not filled. Like a permanent brain injury.

This is a very simplified post but as you can see I don't think wanting psychedelics is an illness. It may be a weak mind or an addictive mind or just a thrill seeker mind but it is not an illness, because it hasn't actually altered your body.

Heroin on the other side, changes the body forever and even though the person wants to stop, they physically can't. Of course a lot of people still manage to be clean. But they did have an actual illness that needed to be overcome. Self inflicted illness but illness nevertheless. Is a dodgy liver after drinking an illness?

I avoided calling it a disease, because a disease is often viral.

I have not much opinion on this, just wanted to throw this out there to give bit more info because saying "Drugs" do this and that is like saying "People" are murderers.
edit on 23-1-2016 by Hecate666 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:42 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

According to this new study , I am an addict and I guess I need to do some experimental research on substance's
since I have a tanning bed in my office!!!

Not buying it either OP. I've seen behavior in people that change direction over night. I believe we can make a decision to do, or not to do.....


edit on 23-1-2016 by ReadLeader because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:45 AM
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a reply to: Hecate666

People can and do physically quit heroine. You need to slowly ween the same as an alcoholic. Do you have any links that support the notion that the brain is permanently damaged? I would be curious to read this. Thank you.
edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)

edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

Then you do know that genetic makeup plays a huge role. If you were asked is Breast cancer a disease your answer would be most likely Yes, genetic makeup with BRCA1 mutation plays huge role and increases the risk 55-65% to actually get it. So is addiction a disease when patient has genetic makeup that renders him/her very vunerable to it ?



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

I didn't realise it was officially treated as a disease. I thought it was obvious it isn't and the word disease is used to explain to people that the addict cannot have control/can't stop the behaviour ... Just like you can't stop a disease. Bit odd.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: dollukka

Absolutely not. The logic is not sound. Increased risk does not make a disease. It makes you at an increased risk. No more.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:56 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

You sure? How addicting are drugs.. some try once and that´s all, some get addiction from the first time they try.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:57 AM
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Its possible to become addicted to a great many things, drugs being just one of them. Food, Money, religion, attention, sex, snowboarding.

The problem arises when obsession with something becomes more powerful than reason. Becoming addicted is easy, you delude yourself. When its too much then we are no longer at ease, we are dis-eased. We are consumed.

People strung out on drugs or alcohol need treatment the same way another disease does. They get sick, exhibit serious withdrawal symptoms, they may die. For some period of time they are weak, disoriented, need medication to keep from having secondary infections, they might even kill themselves.

Thats serious stuff. They refer to heavy addiction to serious drugs as a disease because full blown, the addict is a complex problem needing multi phases of treatment and diagnosis, from the physical early on to emotional and even spiritual, once the physical dangers recede.

Anyone that has been in the depths of serious addiction to substances has no trouble seeing why they call it a disease. Among other things I smoked cigarettes for thirty-five years. Thats some physical, emotional dependency I wouldn't wish on anyone.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 08:58 AM
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a reply to: dollukka

In that experience and decision is a human being. Don't deny the power of choice in favor of genetics. They both play a role.
edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:11 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese


First of all I've chosen to put this in medical issues & conspiracies because I think it's a conspiracy to treat addiction as if it was a medical issue. It's not.


Hmmmmm... I think perhaps that you misunderstand the definition of disease. From Merriam-Webster:


noun dis·ease diz-ˈēz Medical Definition of disease: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors : sickness, illness—called also morbus


I suppose one could differentiate between voluntary and involuntary exposure to environmental factors, but that distinction is not inherent to the medical definition of disease.

Drugs of all kinds -- especially psychoactive pharmaceuticals -- can and usually/always do in fact cause physiological changes requiring medical treatment with long-term use.

Would you make the same claim about Type 2 Diabetes, which is caused by the food one eats, and can be reversed by changing one's eating habits?

For that matter, what about vitamin and mineral deficiencies which cause physiological problems, like scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) or rickets (vitamin D deficiency)?

I guess what I'm wondering is how exactly do you define "disease?" What word do you prefer to use for conditions of dis-ease caused by voluntary exposure to substances which adversely affect physiological functions and processes?


edit on 23-1-2016 by Boadicea because: clarity



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:18 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Reread your definition. It most certainly does not meet the qualification. It is not the response to environmental factors, infective agents, or inherent defects in the organism. Addiction is most certainly the result of failed attempts by the individual to adapt to his environment. This is further reinforced by the evidence that all recovered addicts are clean of their own choosing. You can't choose to not be diseased. It's very basic.

As for type 2 diabetes, I would be for reclassifying it as a metabolic condition due to the ability of most people to choose a change in lifestyle and rid their selves of the abnormal state.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:20 AM
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No its not.

But its often a symptom of a dieases.

Many addicts are addicts because they normaly have some deep undlying mental health problem like PTSD, Clinical Depression, anxiety disorder , Bipolar or a some other issue.

Most people dont become addicts because its a "fun" way to pass time.
edit on 23-1-2016 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:23 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

That is why you don't give babies fruit! As soon as they have sugar they never look back



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:42 AM
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a reply to: Layaly

Everyone knows addiction to sugar is a disease, not a choice.

The first step to riding yourself of this diseased state is to admit you're powerless (please buy my book!).
edit on 23-1-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 09:44 AM
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originally posted by: pl3bscheese
a reply to: Boadicea

Reread your definition. It most certainly does not meet the qualification. It is not the response to environmental factors...


Okay, fair enough. So by environmental, we're talking about foreign substances breathed in or absorbed via the skin or some such. Would that be a fair statement?


...as opposed to substances infective agents...


Infective agents as in viruses and bacteria that are contracted involuntarily...


...or inherent defects in the organism....


So that would or would not include individual genetics? If I have a genetic predisposition to adverse effects (including addiction) from certain substances not shared by most individuals, is that a "defect?"


Addiction is most certainly the result of failed attempts by the individual to adapt to his environment. This is further reinforced by the evidence that all recovered addicts are clean of their own choosing. You can't choose to not be diseased. It's very basic.


This is where you lose me. I can seek medical help for a flu bug and be "recovered" from the flu just as easily as I can seek medical help for an addiction. Or I can treat myself. Both cause dis-ease and I can recover from both. Both cause physiological issues and impair normal functions and processes. Withdrawal symptoms also cause physiological problems, and can even cause death, thus requiring medical treatment/intervention.


As for type 2 diabetes, I would be for reclassifying it as a metabolic condition due to the ability of most people to choose a change in lifestyle and rid their selves of the abnormal state.


So you would prefer the word "condition" to "disease" for adverse physiologic effects from voluntary exposure to whatever substances. Okay.

So what's the point? Either way, people are suffering physical dis-ease and impairment requiring medical treatment. Why is it important to differentiate between the two? How should this affect how we treat folks with addictions?

I'm really not trying to nitpick. I'm trying to understand the virtue in your OP because I really don't see it.
edit on 23-1-2016 by Boadicea because: formatting



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