Alcoholism -- Disease Or Addiction?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Babs Hunt, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    Since alcoholism hits close to home for me and maybe some of you in one way or another I am wondering what your thoughts may be as to whether alcoholism is a disease or an addiction. Over the years I have researched so many different opinions on this subject.

    In my opinion it is an addiction that brings on disease. I don't believe it is a disease in itself because if the alcoholic didn't drink...he or she would probably never have to face some of the diseases that come about because of that drinking. Addictions can be overcome but many of the diseases brought on by alcohol will in the end lead to death. Alcoholism destroys not only the person who is the alcoholic...but also their marriages, families, jobs, etc.

    What do you think? Is alcoholism a disease or an addiction?
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I don't know which one it is, something that I never dealt with in my family but my husband's family had a few. My husband didn't drink though. Does it matter what it's called...the end result is the same. I've known only a handful of people that have stayed sober after quitting. My brother in law wasn't one of them and he died because of it eventually.
     
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  3. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    It matters to me what it is called. If people call it a disease...then the alcoholic will say he or she can't quit until they find a cure for it, etc. If that same alcoholic has to face up to their addiction then they have to take responsibility for the choice they are making which is ruining not only their life...but many others who love them too.
     
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  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I see what you mean, Babs...I think now it's called a disease. We live in world where nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions.

    There is a cure though, Babs even if called a disease and that is they have to quit drinking, that's the only cure.
     
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  5. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    I have experience of this in my family Babs...absolutely horrendous effects on the family who are the victims of the people who choose to drink to excess , and I have absolutely no qualms in stating that IMO...it's an addiction, that eventually leads to disease. Just in the same way as drug addiction or tobacco addiction..leads to disease, it's not the other way around!!
     
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  6. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Alcoholism itself is an addiction. But over time, excessive use can cause disease of the brain because it's function is altered. Calling alcoholism a disease is problematic in that it takes away "choice". People who are alcoholics, who have been told it's a "disease", think they have no choice. They do.

    Edit: Holly and I posted at the same time and are saying the same thing basically
     
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  7. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
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    I believe it's an addiction. It's a heartbreaking thing is what it is. I agree it becomes a disease after a while.
     
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  8. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes it is an addiction in my opinion, but for some reason a certain number of people can drink alcohol sensibly and never become addicted, while others cannot. People used to say some of us have an addictive personality, causing us to become easily addicted to almost anything in life tobacco, gambling, alcohol, sex or relationships, but that is seemingly not accepted these days.
    I have noticed that alcoholism does tend to run in families so maybe there is a genetic propensity to the addictive process?
     
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  9. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    It might run in families. My husbands father was an alcoholic and out of 4 children, 2 chose not to go that route, because they saw the damage it did. Why his brother and oldest sister chose to drink...who knows. Didn't matter as it was my husband that was the first to die anyway from cancer.
     
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  10. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    And yet there are those in the same family who do not become alcoholics...it seems more a choice of taking that first drink or not in my opinion. I've known one alcoholic who put it this way when I asked him how he stopped drinking, he told me he just never opened that first can of beer, or drank that first drink! And basically that is the cure...just don't let that first drop of alcohol in your mouth.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  11. Bonnie Thomas

    Bonnie Thomas Very Well-Known Member
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    Have never had to deal with it in my immediate family, but it must be devastating to have to live with someone with the problem. Any addiction is bad, but alcohol has to be about the worse... the damage to the brain.
     
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  12. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm truly sorry your husband died Chrissy but at least your husband didn't leave so many "deaths" behind with alcoholism. With alcoholics they not only end up killing theirselves most of the time...but also their relationships, marriages, and families. The effects and destruction of their alcoholism may in many cases live on long after they are gone.
     
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  13. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes I agree it's similar to lung cancer in that respect, if you have a prevalence of it in your family, then never starting to smoke reduces your risk.
    It still doesn't answer the question though why one person can drink alcohol without becoming addicted, while another can't take a single can of beer without succumbing to addiction
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yes, @Babs Hunt, I know a few and they have messed up marriages, careers, everything. I know one success story personally, a good friend of my husband. By the time we met him he was sober but told us how much he lost.

    He did turn his life around, remarried, etc.
     
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  15. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    For some it's a lack of self-control, others would rather face the world or their life drunk instead of sober, some use alcohol to numb the pain of abuse, rape, molestation, etc. and others actually use alcohol to make them more out going, braver, etc. which only ends up backfiring on them after they have had to much to drink. There are probably as many answers to why people become alcoholics as their are questions....but one thing is for sure...once they are addicted...it only leads to disease and destruction in their lives and in the lives of those who love them.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  16. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    My ex live on boyfriend was one, hid it from me. I couldn't live with someone like that, it was too stressful for me.
     
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  17. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    I wonder if the people's lives he destroyed were able to regain what they loss and turn their lives back around?
     
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  18. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    Just be thankful you didn't marry him.
     
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  19. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes I agree their are many reasons, a lot of Russians became alcoholics, including Lisa's husband, because they couldn't cope with the changes brought about by the fall of the Soviet Union, alcohol became a prop a way of blotting out a world they didn't want to face.
     
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  20. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Babs...you say in your opening post that Alcoholism hits close to home for you, and that you've researched it very well over many years ...and in another post that you have no experience of it in your immediate family...may I ask , is there a a reason you've asked this question, is there someone outside of your family..a friend, an acquaintance that you've know with alcoholism?
     
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  21. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yes, I saw many alcoholics in Hungary when I lived there. Just in general though people drank more there, thinking nothing about a shot of alcohol in the morning. When my son visited us in the summer while he was at college, he was never carded even though he wasn't 21

    They have zero tolerance though for driving and people do take that seriously, so that's a good thing.
     
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  22. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    Alcohol played a big part in my life. It had a strong hold on both sides of my and my husband's family. Both my parents were alcoholics, so in my teens I decided to read as much on the subject as I could. I too came to think of it as an addiction. Then there is the word addiction.

    "The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming, such as alcohol or narcotics, to such an extent that it's cessation causes severe trauma."

    Another thing I picked up on was the history of how these substances play into our physical history. In many cultures all over the world beer, mead, wine and other forms of alcohol were just part of a person's daily intake for nurishment from childhood.

    Over centuries this had to alter our physical makeup, just as eating meat, fish, or vegetables have. We now know and teach the populous what these foods can do for or to us. We even explain that such things as obesity come from the over consumption, (addiction), of many of kinds and types of foods.

    Many people of differing cultures will get sick if their diets are radically changed, because their bodies become accustomed to certain foods. Of course this can be overcome for most, but others will crave these foods all their lives.

    Because of what I had figured out through my reading, I never drank until I was 26. Right off the bat I found I had a very high tolerance to hard alcohol. Some saw this as a trait to be desired, but I realized that by the time I would reach my tolerance level I would be drinking much more than a fifth a day. More than either of my parents, so I stop drinking while I was ahead of the game.

    If I hadn't understood how any food or substance can be an inherited addiction, I too would have gone down many wrong paths. Some people have a stronger need for substances than others, so it is not just a matter of stopping.
     
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  23. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Very Well-Known Member
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    I don't believe it is me who said I have no experience in my own family....unless it's a typo in one of my posts. I do have experience with it in my family...enough experience to say I know what I am talking about here.
     
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  24. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Yep my mistake Babs..It was Bonnie who said she had no experience in her family, I apologise ...similar avi's got me mixed up .

    ..Please understand I wasn't questioning your knowledge of it, more that I was enquiring if you had been personally affected by it...because, only you and those of us who have, can really know the huge damaging effects it can wreak on those us who are not alcohol abusers and who live with the consequences of it.....
     
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  25. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    There are all types of alcoholics too. My ex was a fairly functioning one. Most times he appeared normal but if he didn't have a drink he'd go through withdrawal. At first I believed what he said about just being sick...but soon realized what was going on.
     
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