So…..Amy Winehouse died. Big shocker.
Hundreds of people die everyday from addiction to drugs and alcohol. This particular person just happened to be famous, so it made the news.
Here is my question: Why is addiction put into the category as as a “disease”?
Here is an excerpt from the following web site: http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/is-addiction-a-disease.htm
Addiction is like most major diseases. Consider heart disease, the leading cause of death in the developed world. It’s partly due to genes and partly due to poor life style choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. The same is true for other common diseases like adult-onset diabetes. Many forms of cancers are due to a combination of genes and life style. But if your doctor said that you had diabetes or heart disease, you wouldn’t think you were bad person. You would think, “What can I do to overcome this disease?” That is how you should approach addiction.
This is complete bullshit. I was born with heart disease and not one single person in my family has it. I am sure I am not the only case like this either. I did not ask for this disease, which has turned progressively worse and I have even added 2 more heart diseases. I did not lead a poor lifestyle prior to coming out of the womb. There is no rehab I can go to that will completely make it go away.
Addiction is due 50 percent to genetic predisposition and 50 percent to poor coping skills.
So, you have a 50/50 shot of beating this of becoming an addict in the 1st place? People say that if one cannot overcome an addiction, they are weakminded. I think you have to be strong minded to keep up with an addiction. To put one’s body and loved ones through months and years of abuse takes a lot of balls and an extremely stong mind.
“The AMA believes it is important for professionals and laymen alike to recognize that alcoholism is in and of itself”. http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/alcohol/alcoholism_treatable.pdf
I do not know anyone that has been granted Social Security Disability based on alcoholism and drug addiction as a “disease”. If that were the case, ANYONE who drinks too much would be eligible for SSD. WTF?
All of the information below is from this blog:
“To start the search for an accurate description it would be handy to look some of the pitfalls other descriptions have had. The American Medical Association
for instance seems To be a little wishy-washy in their understanding of Alcoholism stating first that the AMA, “Believes it important for professionals and laymen alike to recognizing alcoholism is in and of itself a disabling and handicapping condition.” They go on to call Alcoholism a handicap or disability 9 more times and sating in conclusion that, “Hopefully, this language clarification will reinforce the concept that alcoholism is in and of itself a disabling and
Well that is a clarification is great until you get to the very next paragraph where the AMA states it, “Endorses the proposition that drug dependencies, including alcoholism, are diseases and that their treatment is a legitimate part of medical practice,” and “Encourages physicians, other health professionals, medical and other health related organizations, and government and other policymakers to become more well informed about drug dependencies, and to base their policies and activities on the recognition that drug dependencies are, in fact, diseases.”
So in one short address of the issue the AMA has called Alcoholism a disease, handicap, disability, and condition. It consistently claims that it would be
fair to characterize alcoholism in any of those terms. This trouble is not unique to the AMA, because addiction’s is a hard term to define. That difficulty
makes it seem like a shotgun approach would be the correct way to look at addiction. Throw a bunch of different terms at the problem and you’ll get a usable framework for what it is. That being the case it would be handy to see what the shotgun was loaded with.
It is quasi-handicap because there does seem to be a genetic predisposition to addiction that leads people to become addicted more easily. Researches have even have gone so far as to claim that they have identified what the alcoholism gene is. That gene is the CREB and it is linked with both
alcoholism and anxiety. When rats were bred without that gene they drank 50% more than usual, showed a higher preference rate for alcohol over water compared with normal rats, and displayed more anxiety than normal rats that decreased while they were drinking. So there is evidence that addiction can be a natural handicap a person has, at least in some cases.
Alcohol could also be described as a disability, although it wasn’t included in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 nor is it a covered disability for Social Security. The World Health Organization describes a disability as,”An umbrella term, covering impairments, activity
limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an
individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.“
So this definition is vague enough for alcoholism to be included, because when a person is drunk they are impaired, but disability, like the term handicap, is a rough description and it might be a miss-characterization.
The third term, disease, is probably the most controversial of the terms listed to describe addictions, but it is also the best documented. There is also a good body of evidence for calling addictions a type of disease. Yet, before that evidence can be looked at it a useful definition of disease should be given. Medline Plus gives the definition of disease as,”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.”
I think that is a fair description of what characterizes a disease and Nora Volkow and Joanna Fowler show how addiction meets that criterion. In
Addiction, a Disease of Compulsion and Drive: Involvement of the Orbitofrontal Cortex, they show how addiction not only works with the reward centers of
the brain, but also has an affect on the part of the brain active in people who are obsessive compulsive. They argue that “IntermittentDA stimulation secondary to chronic drug use leads to disruption of the orbitofrontal cortex via the striato-thalamo-orbitofrontalcircuit, which is a circuit involved in regulating drive (Stussand Benson, 1986). The dysfunction of this circuit results in the compulsive behavior in addicted subjects and the exaggeratedmotivation to procure and administer the drug regardless of its adverse consequences. This hypothesis is corroborated by imaging studies showing disruption of striatal, thalamic andorbitofrontal brain regions in drug abusers (Volkow et al.,1996a).“
So the body/mind would have cravings the way that starving people would crave food. This is a diseased state where choice is subverted to the drives of reward and compulsion. It is due to this that the AMA and virtually every other drug treatment site can say that addiction is a disease. Addiction follows a pattern that is like that of a disease, it can be debilitating and leads to impaired brain function, especially in how it creates a compulsion in some people.
Yet a certain word is left out completely of Volkow and Flower’s article. ‘Choice’ is never mentioned once, that is the word that breaks the disease line of thinking. All the above is true about how an addiction to something like alcohol works, but it still doesn’t account for how a person becomes a chronic addict before the compulsion is created, at some level the word ‘choice’ has to be addressed by anyone who supports the disease model of addiction. The role of choice is often overlooked by supporters of that model, but their critics often fail to understand that there is a credible background for referring to an addiction as a disease.
In the end I think it is somehow perverse to put alcoholism in the same category as HIV, cancer, and numerous other afflictions that don’t have the same level of control. I admit that some addicts don’t have total control, but it still seems like a mis-categorization. There has to be a more fair and accurate way to describe addiction.
Why can’t an addiction just be referred to as an addiction? If it was we would be rid of the vague yet all encompassing definitions that addictions are trying to be squeezed into. It would be an apt characterization of what is going on, while also bringing none of the extra baggage that comes with those other terms. While it might be fair to describe addiction in disease like terms, it isn’t the best description, and it does a disservice to disease.
Set down your shotgun and be more direct. Addiction doesn’t need the other labels and instead of spending time worrying about where it fits and how it can be defined worry instead about the actually affects of addiction socially, physically, and personally. ”
Thanks for reading,
-the moral skeptic
An Excerpt from my U. S. Government class on the fundamental concept of Freedom:
In short, there is a fundamental agreement amongst most of the citizens of the United States in the importance of individual freedom. What we don’t agree upon is what that means in specific, concrete instances. Should a citizen be allowed to burn a US flag in a public place? Should a high-school student be allowed to sit down while everyone else in her public school stands up and pledges allegiance to the flag? Should a seventeen-year-old be free to send and receive pornographic materials over the Internet? As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
And speaking of details, I find it appropriate to state here that our country started out with a large segment of our population in slavery. There wasn’t much freedom for them. Even after slavery was officially abolished, real economic and political freedom for much of our black population remained an unfulfilled promise until the last generation. Even now, the prejudices that we’ve inherited from our past have not been totally eliminated.
It is also appropriate to mention that the original native population of the United States was not given much freedom. Most were killed or herded onto reservations.
Finally, women were not afforded real economic or political freedom in most of the United States until the twentieth century.
Wow…..I don’t see any mention of the “whites” taking land from the Mexicans…..weird.
It happened last night. It was inevitable. I knew it was coming, like murky grey clouds hanging over my house….the electric smell of a storm brewing. I had avoided it for almost a year. I kept thinking to myself….just one more year, a little more time, I am just not ready yet. We were sitting outside on the balcony. I inhaled a long drag off of my P-Funk and blew it away from him, as always when he would come out with me. The smoke just hung in the air like those cartoon bubbles above characters heads….just waiting for the silence to break. Then he asked….
“Mom….is Santa Claus real?”
I stopped breathing for a second or five…all possible answers flew through my head like a swarm of locusts on a crop.
“What do your friends say about it?”, I questioned back quicker than I thought.
“They said he isn’t real…that your parents do everything…so do all the kids in my class.”, he responded. He was matter of fact. Just as if he were telling me what time it was.
“What do you believe?”, I quietly said.
“I think he’s real.”…..And there it was. The answer I didn’t want to hear. He is going to be nine years old in exactly one month. I found out when I was about seven or so. Now what? I was so happy I squeaked by last year with answers like, “Do you think I want to stay up all night and put presents together?”….”Why would you think I would do all of that…I’m tired.” I refer to myself in the singular only because in the past eight years there had not been one Christmas Eve where Ted had been awake long enough to do it all. I was Santa all these years.
Jake is extremely mature for an eight year old. People don’t give him enough credit for how smart he is or for how much of the real world he does understand. He’s in third grade, reading at a fifth grade level….and a math genius. How do you lie to a genius?
So I did the dirty deed.
I explained it all. Santa…St. Nicholas…why people created the fantasy of such a person. A person with incredible influence and power over children. How does a child get over the fact that it is all a lie?
A lie is something you tell someone to hurt them. A lie is meant to be cruel….the fantasy of Santa is not a lie….it is a way of making children understand the concept of giving. It helps them to understand how to treat one another….how lucky we are and how unfortunate others may be. It is the reason we feed the hungry, house the homeless and drop our change and dollars into those red buckets every year outside of Wal-Mart.
He wasn’t upset. He wasn’t sad. He asked one question. “Well, if Santa and Mrs. Claus aren’t real, then who I was talking to on the phone last year wasn’t real?”
Ummm…yea….here we go…..
“Well, they were real people, just not Santa and Mrs. Claus.”, I answered.
“Then who were they?”, he asked.
“Your aunt and uncle.”, I said timidly.
“So, they lied to me.”, he responded…so quickly and with a shred of anger.
I proceeded to explain how it wasn’t really considered a lie, as it was not meant to hurt him in any way. It was merely meant to keep up with the illusion of the Santa myth. (I didn’t say that part ver batim….I skirted around that one as much as possible). At this moment, Ted came in from walking the dog. I proceeded to tell him the entire story. He didn’t react as I expected. He was extremely angry that I didn’t “consult” him before telling Jake the truth about Santa. Really?
I mean fucking REALLY?
Three months ago Jake asked the sex question. I “consulted” him on that one and he proceeded to simply say….”Oh no, you got this one.” and threw his hands in the air. So I took it and with the maturity that Jake has, he handled it just fine, matter of fact, not really even surprised at all. He just said, “Oh, ok”, and shrugged his shoulders.
Ted was so enraged about this life altering decision I had made that he went on and on for over an hour. I defended myself, Jake told him to knock it off…that he was just fine and to “get over it”, which I found completely hysterical.
After Jake fell asleep and Owen was bathed and finally in la-la land too, I proceeded to give Ted the silent treatment. For someone who says that I talk too much and to leave him alone during an argument, he cannot stand the silent treatment. It kills him. He tries any and everything to get me to give him some sort of response…none of it worked.
About 11:00 PM, Ted got up to go to bed. I simply said, “Ted, if it will make you feel better, I’ll give you the Easter Bunny and the fucking Tooth Fairy…..ok?”
Title quoted from~~~Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
This is from an email I received today. For anyone who has ever thought that something was insurmountable, including myself, please watch this and be truly inspired.
If you play Golf you should watch this video……
If you don’t play Golf, you should watch this video
If you ever had a dream please watch this video………..
If you have never had a dream, please watch………
You will be richer for the watching and with no regrets……….
Link’s to DJ’s Blog:
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright
I have had writer’s block for a while now. A while to me is any more than a day or so…so this was too long. Again, I have no inspiration. I don’t care much to talk about the infamous “Beer Summit”. I have no interest in family issues today….maybe another time, but sometimes I just need to have a few days to relax and forget about the issues that are shaping my life.
I never thought about it that way. The issues shaping my life…the very issues that on many occasions have driven me to tears are the inspiration for many blogs, writings and short stories. This is a realization I am having at this very moment. If I had no serious issues in my life, I would not have much to write and question. Really. You can’t make this shit up.
Take, for instance, my archived blog “The Reality of It All”. If I did not write that dream down the moment I woke up at 4 AM…it would have never been as real as it was to me just then. After a few more hours of sleep, a great deal of calming down and a Xanax, I read that blog. I could not remember almost all of that dream…the dream that made me cry to the point of intoxication. It would have never been so vivid and genuine if I waited until morning.
Sometimes the best writing comes out of the worst emotional situations. And if you don’t take advantage of the inspiration right when it hits you….it’s gone forever. When I sit down to write, whether it be in a journal, on scraps of paper or this blog I write in a frenzy. I finish most pieces within minutes. Anyone who writes knows when a piece is just perfect, when you’re on a roll….when it is perfect. I have had such occasions that no revisions were necessary and have had the most compliments on those pieces.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about teachers and how which ones in our lives had inspired us. Her mom is a teacher…English and she is a Penn State Graduate with a degree in the same….so, the conversation was easy. I starting talking about my 9th grade English teacher. She was also my Advanced Spanish teacher…although after four years of Spanish I just know enough to find my way around Cancun or Cabo and ask where the bathroom is.
It was a normal day in english class. I was attending Bishop Hafey Catholic High School, which I would later leave in the 10th grade for public school. I had finished some sort of project. It was to be a book cover on a specific subject. We had to make one pertaining to whatever topic we were give, mine was on Native Americans…I can’t remember exactly what, but I do remember burning the edges of magazine pictures, for a feeling of authenticity I guess, to attach to the book cover. It was an easy project….I thought nothing of it.
That day in class, my teacher announced that there was one project in particular that stood out. It was informative, but mostly creative in such a way that I guess she wanted to show it to the class. I remember thinking, “Christie Grier, it’s her”. She was ultra smart and always got good grades, honor classes, honor roll…you know. We were not friends, per say, but we were nice to each other. I wonder whatever happened to her? I’ll have to Goggle her or look her up on Facebook. Anyway…. I was shocked when the teacher called my name. I had to get up in front of the class and describe my project…the idea, inspiration…all of it. I was truly surprised. I thought it was mediocre at best.
The next week we had just finished reading The Merchant of Venice. We had to write a paper about one or two of the characters….our choice. While I don’t remember that book to this day, I do remember the paper I wrote. It was from Salerio’s point of view. Salerio served mostly as a commentator in the story. In my paper he told the story as if he were a modern day news reporter, but I can’t remember whom he was reporting on. I wrote it one evening at home in about an hour. Ten pages. It wasn’t hard for me…I just thought I was given an easy assignment.
A few days later the teacher announced that there was one particular paper that was great. I distinctly remember her saying “amazing”. I was thinking again…”Christie Grier”. No, me again. She recommended it for the school paper. I was really shocked this time. I had to talk to her after class.
She said I had a true gift for writing.
I said…”Ummm, I do? I just thought these were easy assignments.”
She continued, “No, I had a few failing grades on these assignments….you really have no idea that you are that good at this?”
I said, “No, I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought it was easy…it came so easily and it was fun.”
She said, “Well then, I think you know what your calling is.”
I had no clue what that really meant, being a 9th grade girl obsessed with boys. I went on to college in 1988 and it was the same…easy English classes with a 4.0 in Creative Writing and many other English classes to follow. It was only then that I remembered what my 9th grade English teacher had told me about my “calling”.
Her name was Mrs. Cambas. She has since passed away from cancer. I never got the chance to thank her for making me realize what I was capable of. I wish I could have told her that now, close to 40, I am finally using the gift that I have been just passively using for the last 20 years.
I guess all of those public service annoucements are for a good cause. We should be thanking teachers more often. So many people have benefited from a person they see everyday for several years of theirs lives, all while this person works tirelessly for minimal pay and pay out of their own pockets for many things that are not in the school budget and we never thank them.
I hope Mrs. Cambus knows how much of an impact she made on my life….I have a feeling she does.