What makes addiction a disease?

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What makes addiction a disease?

Postby ThelonleyMango » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:26 pm

There's 3 things that make addiction a disease. not sure what they are. can anyone tell me?
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Cristy99 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:43 pm

Hmmmmm....you got me on that one, Mango.
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Roberth » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:38 pm

The following is an explanation of what happens when alcoholics put alcohol into their bodies, and how it is a completely different experience compared to non-alcoholics. No wonder why non-alcoholics can't relate, and make statements like, "Can't you just stop after one or two drinks?" It shows why alcoholics can use their willpower against everything EXCEPT alcohol.
Alcoholics make up about 12% of the population. The body of the alcoholic is physically different. The liver and pancreas of the alcoholic process alcohol at one-third to one-tenth the rate of a normal pancreas and liver. Now as alcohol enters the body, it breaks down into various components, one of which is acetate. We know now that acetate triggers a craving for more acetate. In a normal drinker, the acetate moves through the system quickly and exits. But that doesn't happen in an alcoholic. In alcoholics, the acetate of the first drink is barely processed out, so by staying in their body, it triggers a craving for more acetate. The alcoholic then has a second drink, now adding to most of the acetate of the first drink, and that makes them want a drink twice as much as the normal drinker. So they have another. Then, having almost three times the craving as a normal drinker, they have another.
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Brock » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:51 pm

That's a good scientific explanation Robert, it explains better than I have ever seen what happens after an alcoholic takes the first drink. But of course we keep in mind this from 'There is a Solution' -
These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.

So even when we know the terrible craving will kick in and bad things happen, without the defense offered by the program and our spiritual fitness, we will still take that first drink. So it's not just a disease of the body as spoken about here, the main problem is in the mind.
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby desypete » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:15 am

Roberth wrote:The following is an explanation of what happens when alcoholics put alcohol into their bodies, and how it is a completely different experience compared to non-alcoholics. No wonder why non-alcoholics can't relate, and make statements like, "Can't you just stop after one or two drinks?" It shows why alcoholics can use their willpower against everything EXCEPT alcohol.
Alcoholics make up about 12% of the population. The body of the alcoholic is physically different. The liver and pancreas of the alcoholic process alcohol at one-third to one-tenth the rate of a normal pancreas and liver. Now as alcohol enters the body, it breaks down into various components, one of which is acetate. We know now that acetate triggers a craving for more acetate. In a normal drinker, the acetate moves through the system quickly and exits. But that doesn't happen in an alcoholic. In alcoholics, the acetate of the first drink is barely processed out, so by staying in their body, it triggers a craving for more acetate. The alcoholic then has a second drink, now adding to most of the acetate of the first drink, and that makes them want a drink twice as much as the normal drinker. So they have another. Then, having almost three times the craving as a normal drinker, they have another.


i put this theory to the test after being sober or dry for 15 years

after leaving aa some 12 years previous and going to to make a decent life for myself sober, i did try this dont take that first drink test
so i took that first drink, and guess what ?
i didnt get drunk, i didnt end up in a heap, i didnt wake up in a police cell i actualy behaved myself !!!! i did make myself a promise before i took that first drink that if i take it and i end up waking up in a drunken haze again then i would know and i wouldnt try it again

so when i took that drink and went home with no bad things happen and i didnt end up drunk
i decided i would try it again but this time i will take 2 drinks and stop
i was waiting for that craving to kick in

so i had the 2 drinks and i went home and all was good

i then decided on new years eve i would go out with my ex wife and have 4 drinks and see what happens and it was a great night out,i came home singing, happy and merry
again i was able to control my drinking

now i thought about chapter 3 in the big book and the part that says if anyone can do the right about face and go out and drink normally again our hats our off to them. i thought of the old timers in aa and how they should take there hats off to me as i was the one who went out there and proved i could drink normally again. i could take that first drink and not get drunk, i was cured and being honest i thought to myself that maybe it was just my young age when i first went to aa was the problem and that i hadnt learned how to control and now i was a mature man i can now handle it

8 years on my drinking had progressed out of all control, i was a drunken bum, with no money left, no wife, no kids, no home, all i had was the cheap bottles of cider as its all i could afford, every penny i had was just to buy the cheapest booze around it had taken over my life and i was totally dependant on it 24 , 7 throwing up in buckets just to get my next drink inside of me was my morning routine etc

so it proves i could summon up the will power to take a drink and stop but this illness is cunning baffling and powerful, once i took that first drink i was sunk the wheels had been set in motion and my mind was convincing itself i could drink normally
even when i first got arrested again for drunkenness maybe 2 years after taking that first drink i was by then set up to defend my drinking again, my mind never once thought of aa or the chapter 3 part all i was concerned about what how i could get out of trouble and blaming the fact i had drank shorts instead of just sticking to beer as my defence for my bad behaviour etc

already i was now on that path of destruction and when things got really bad i wanted to return to aa but that would mean i would have to stop drinking and i just couldn't or i believed i couldn't until one day i just couldn't do it anymore i had given up as it just didn't work anymore, it didn't block out those hate filled demons that tortured my soul it had destroy my life and i couldnt see anyway out or back until of course i walked back through the doors of aa and from day 1 i had hope that maybe just maybe there might be a way out

so it really is very much in the mind but that craving certainly hits home once we take that first drink but it can be controled should there be a real effort put in but this is the thing
non alcoholics do not have to put in any effort at all to stop after 1 or more drinks
i can drink cola normally if i go out to a pub for a meal and have a cola i can drink 1 and leave it as that has no effect on me the same as water
normal drinkers can do that with alcohol, it has no pulling power on them
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Patsy© » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:55 am

ThelonleyMango wrote:There's 3 things that make addiction a disease. not sure what they are. can anyone tell me?


Once it was shared with me what the true nature of my alcoholism was, it was then that I became not only responsible but accountable for my alcoholism. Before that, I had absolutely no clue what was wrong with me at all, except that I felt that I was going insane.


The American Medical Association is the first who defined and termed alcoholism as a "disease"

A "disease" has a definite onset of signs and symptoms, it is chronic and progressive, and if a disease is left untreated it can cause impairment and/or death. I can understand fully why the AMA came to the conclusion that alcoholism is a disease.

Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Big Book never used the term "disease" ...ever. Illness, spiritual malady and spiritual disease has been used in the Big Book.

"Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys
more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all
forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only
mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually
sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we
straighten out mentally and physically."


Medical dictionary definition:
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. It is characterized by tolerance and physical dependency or pathologic organ changes, or both - all the direct or indirect consequences of the alcohol ingested.

Alcoholism has been defined as having the following characteristics:
Chronic and progressive.. Physical, emotional, and social changes that develop are cumulative and progress as drinking continues.
Tolerance.. brain adaptation to the presence of high concentrations of alcohol.
Physical dependency.. withdrawal symptoms occur from decreasing or ceasing consumption of alcohol.
The person with alcoholism cannot consistently predict on any drinking occasion the duration of the episode or the quantity that will be consumed.

Pathologic organ changes can be found in almost any organ, but most often involve the liver, brain, peripheral nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract.

The drinking pattern is generally continuous but may be intermittent, with periods of abstinence between drinking episodes.
Social, emotional, and behavioral symptoms and consequences of alcoholism result from the effect of alcohol on the function of the brain. The degree to which these symptoms and signs are considered deviant will depend upon the cultural norms of the society or group in which the persons lives.

(Definition prepared by the National Council on Alcoholism/American Medical Society on Alcoholism, Committee on Definitions)
Detection: The chemical carbohydrate deficient transferrin is of benefit as a marker for heavy alcohol use. It is elevated in alcoholics but not in those who are not heavy drinkers.

Etiol: Psychological, physiological, and sociological factors play an important part.
The exhilaration factor is often the cause of intoxication in nonalcoholic individuals.
Alcoholism is an illness and should be so treated. Even though it is accepted that a genetic factor is at work in the development of alcoholism, the precise genetic mechanism has not been determined.

The definition of Disease in the medical dictionary is:
Disease: Literally the lack of ease; a pathological condition of the body that presents a group of clinical signs and symptoms and laboratory findings peculiar to it and that sets the condition apart as an abnormal entity differing from other normal or pathological body states.

The concept of disease may include the condition of illness or suffering not necessarily arising from pathological changes in the body. There is a major distinction between disease and illness in that the former is usually tangible and may even be measured, whereas illness is highly individual and personal, as with pain, suffering and distress.

A person may have a serious disease such as hypertension but no feeling of pain or suffering, and thus no illness. Conversely, a person may be extremely ill, as with hysteria or mental illness, but have no evidence of disease as measured by pathological changes in the body.

Personally I don't care what it’s called, all I know is that I have it, and that’s all that matters. Call it whatever one wishes, I know that if I pick up one drink of alcohol, I will die. Of this, I have no doubt at all.
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:51 am

the main problem is in the mind.


Yep. Unfortunately, we end up mostly talking about losing control AFTER taking that first drink.

Throughout the book Bill uses the terms "queer mental twist" and "peculiar mental twist:" and illustrates that state of mind with some great stories. Bills own story is a great one. Before landing in the treatment facility he tries all the tricks but yet, he gets drunk repeatedly.

Knowledge, Fear couldn't keep him sober. Only a spiritual awakening did the trick for Bill.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Cristy99 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:36 am

All excellent responses!!

Roberth described the science behind alcoholism. So interesting!!

Personally, it helped me to learn as much behind the science of alcoholism as possible in the first few months of my sobriety. I really like to know the "why" of it all. The scientific knowledge we have now wasn't available when AA came about in 1935 (I think). Someone told me to Google "THIQ." I really loved this information. I loved that there was a proven scientific reason that I physically couldn't stop.

You also might enjoy learning a little more science behind alcoholism. It was discovered quite by accident...THIQ, that is. =biggrin

Have a nice day!
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Noels » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:43 pm

ThelonleyMango wrote:There's 3 things that make addiction a disease. not sure what they are. can anyone tell me?


Hi Mango, this is what google says :

"According to DrugAbuse.gov, “Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her.” ... But addiction is characterized by the inability to stop.Jun 30, 2016"

From reading the above id say the three things could be :
a chronic, often relapsing brain disease;
that causes compulsive drug seeking and use
despite harmful consequences and inability to stop

Hope this helps.
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Noels » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:46 pm

ThelonleyMango wrote:There's 3 things that make addiction a disease. not sure what they are. can anyone tell me?


Hi Mango, this is what google says :

What Makes Addiction A Disease?
Addicts’ brains are physically different at the cellular and molecular level than the brains of casual drug users. These differences cause the brain to malfunction, altering the way addicts think and behave. Neuroscientists say that in addicts, normal balancing mechanisms go haywire, allowing instinct-like circuits that find drugs rewarding to hijack the brain, resulting in compulsive drug use.
As Science Magazine put it in a 1997 article, “The addicted brain is distinctly different from the non-addicted brain … That addiction is tied to changes in brain structure and function is what makes it, fundamentally, a brain disease. A metaphoric switch in the brain seems to be thrown as a result of prolonged drug use.”1
These differences occur in the brain’s Limbic system, the network responsible for feeling pleasure and both positive and negative emotions. Drugs including alcohol, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana greatly overstimulate this network — by as much as ten times that of natural rewards2 — to produce a high.
For most people, alcohol and drugs are pleasurable but not life-changing. Most don’t get addicted. However, for others, like those who may have a genetic predisposition for addiction, drug-induced over-excitement of the Reward System causes profoundly positive emotional effects: the perception that drugs are the solution to their deepest emotional problems. That feeling motivates them to take more and more drugs to continue to access their solution. But excessive drug use can flip the “metaphoric switch,” permanently altering the brain cells in this system.
The “switch” is the point-of-no-return from recreational drug use into the compulsive use of addiction. It’s triggered by the process of increasing drug tolerance, which requires more drugs to achieve the same high (ie. the same solution) one used to get from less. In this process, the Reward System changes its normal balance, going from treating occasional drug use as an anomaly, to expecting drug-induced overstimulation to be a permanently “new normal” environment. (For more on how tolerance develops, click on How Tolerance Changes the Brain.) 
Once the “switch” is thrown, the Reward System requires continuous over-excitement. It shifts from merely liking drugs to needing them to maintain the over-stimulation required by its “new normal.” Without drugs, the brain experiences a stimulation deficit and plunges into withdrawal. Users have to continue to take drugs to avoid that terrible fate rather than just to get high, and drug use becomes compulsive.
The Reward System’s “new normal” also shift the customary balance between emotional and intellectual brain systems. Ordinarily, these systems are equally balanced contestants in decision-making. But in addicts’ brain’s, the abnormally-excited Reward System gains an edge over corresponding rational systems. As a result, addicts over-value the short-term emotional need for drugs and under-value the rational consequences of drug abuse.
In short, drug-induced molecular rewiring alters addicts’ Reward System brain function, skewing their thought processes. The imbalances that result, both within the Reward System and over rational brain systems, explains why addicts use drugs obsessively despite worsening consequences that would convince people with properly balanced brains to stop. 

Hope it helps
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Re: What makes addiction a disease?

Postby Cristy99 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:21 am

Love that!!

Thanks Noels.
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