Is Alcoholism a disease?

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I know that this will not be popular with many but i firmly believe that alcoholism is not a disease.I also feel that a lot of this misconception is due to the medical profession. Apart from being a trained

counsellor i too found that i had a weakness to alcohol following a number of major issues which hit me in my late forties. I used alcohol as a support to cope with my emotions which i felt at the time i

could not deal with. It was a weakness which i failed to control but still self induced.

I would be interested to hear others experiences of alcohol abuse and how they coped. Also at what point did you seek help and where?

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  • Posted

    I would say that alcoholism CAN be a disease if the excessive use of it is brought on by a brain disease, which can happen. But other that I would say that taking your first ever drink of something alcoholic does not mean alcoholism. I would be more inclined to say that if someone likes a drink, and then overdoes it, then that is through choice. The result being that the body becomes reliant on it thus the person finds it harder and harder to stop, and they deal with it and any stressful events by drinking more. They say the answer is not in the bottom of a bottle, but for some it is the only answer. I do not drink myself(well not for the last 10 years)but I never drank in excess and only drank maybe twice a month. What saddens me is the age that people are starting to drink nowadays so they can fit in with their mates. I have a good friend who deals with people addicted to alcohol on a daily basis and she tells me how sad it all is when these people think it is an illness, but don't think it will make them ill, or do not realise.
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  • Posted

    I think medicalising alcoholism is not a helpful solution for every alcoholic though it may lead to a breakthrough in some cases. I guess it should be considered on a case-by-case basis. By describing it as a disease there's potential to disempower the sufferer and hand responsibility for health onto a practitioner or some other professional, while at the same time it ties the individual to a system which may exacerbate their problem.

    Not that i have an alternative term to describe it...

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  • Posted

    Hi there Carebourn. As someone who classes herself as a "recovered alcoholic", I feel extremely strongly about this issue.

    I won't go into long details of my story (they are examined in a new blog I am writing), however, my view is that alcoholism is a three-fold illness. A physical allergy to alcohol, which has developed at some stage of the addicts drinking - which means that once a drink is taken a craving develops (not always straight away) for more alcohol; a mental obsession with alcohol and a certain craziness of the mind; and a spiritual dimension. I personally blieve that I had all three aspects of the disease. I use the word recovered, not in that I can physically take alcohol into my body, but that I am recovered from the mental obsession with the drink, provided I follow my program and the spiritual aspect , provided I keep a clsoe relationship with my "God".

    I am an extremely strong-willed person (I built up a successful legal career whilst being a single mum at the same time as obtaining a First class Honours Degree through the Open University) - I was not able to stop drinking on my own will-power.

    I believe that alcohol was not my original problem (before the physical allergy developed), but that I have some kind of almost mental illness which I used alcohol to help deal with. Hope this helps. Just my belief - but it is what keeps me sober!

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  • Posted

    I agree, alcoholism is NOT A DISEASE! I abuse alcohol now and have, since I was laid off from my job 2yrs. ago.

    Not going into all the details of which led me to this but have to say I didn't start drinking until I got divorced after 22yrs. of marriage at age 45. I started drinking, I had a social life for the first time in my life and was like I was young again! Before this I never felt like I could have fun, even when I was in my teens. I believe doing drugs or alcohol is every humans choice. We all have free will to make the choice to start using drugs and or alcohol. I have a problem drinking too much but I have a choice to stop anytime unlike a cancer patient who lived a good life but still got cancer and dies. I think people that label it as a disease are looking for an excuse for their choices! I've tried to take my life at one time and was put in a psych ward and underwent drug and alcohol treatment, so believe me I've seen and heard it all! People need to take responsibility for their own choices and stop putting the blame on why they choose to drink or use drugs. I think we all will be acountable to God in the end.....

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  • Posted

    Whilst i appreciate all comments relating to alcohol abuse, i firmly believe that addiction is a condition NOT a disease. I also believe that by referring to it as a disease is the main reason long term recovery rates are so poor. Please do not misunderstand me, if addiction is severe it is very difficult to overcome. The problem with disease is that the patient feels that they can abdicate responsibility for their recovery if they fail and i have seen this time and time again.

    Cancer is a disease which the patient, apart from a positive attitude relies completely on the medical profession for their recovery. To put this and addiction in the same context is an insult to the cancer patient. It is also why i have some problems with the"12 Step program. I run a unique program for addicts who want to change their life and would be happy to share with anyone who has tried other methods and slipped.

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    • Posted

      Hello-I am also a recovering alcoholic however After about 7 years of sobriety and 12step therapy I have chosen to step away from AA and drink socially. I am in a different place spiritually and emotionally than I was 7 years ago.There have been moments where I drank more than I wanted but I am trying to manage or find that balance.Is this something I should not do.I feel AA labels u to a degree of being shameful if u go against the grain or try something different.What is your program?
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  • Posted

    Dear Carebourn

    I'm all eyes... Please share details of your unique programme for addicts as I had slipped, have slipped, am slipping and - I know - will slip unless some amazing intervention strolls across my path.

    Thanks,

    Emily

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  • Posted

    Carebourn

    First thanks for bringing up this subject.

    I, having looked at other forums, think this is site worth reading and is far more productive than others.

    Just to reiterate what you said...i firmly agree that 'alcoholism'  is simply a choice and not a disease.

    I teach prolific high risk offenders and have done so for sixteen years. while witnessing the effects of alcohol and drug use within the young people i work with i neglect not to admit that i use wine to relax.

    i dont use it every day but when i dont im anxious....thats the issue.

    I find it interesting that people are quick to list the endless forms of addictions, smoking, drugs, porn, shopping etc but can you imagine standing up infornt of a psychology lecture and saying porn/shopping addication is a disease? perhaps we are not far off this visualising the possibilities of our liberal government, 

    I work with with prolific young offenders and witnessing the effects of drug and alcohol misuse every day. when your brought up in a certain culture there is a good chance you will do the same. its not a disease. Its about what the heart wants.

    people would do well to work more on resolving anxiety and depression rather than using alcohol disease as an excuse. I agree that anxiety and depression might be genetic but not alcoholism.

    People need hope and motivation and the handed out excuse that its a disease is distructive.

    i think asserting that alcolism is a disease is robbery and wicked which results in persoanl disempowerment. It removes all sense of guilt and responsibility.

    im not suggesting withdrawal is easy, but i believe its the result of your choice. i would offer full support as i know alcohol dependancy can be powerful but i think its about takng control and chucking it.

    Friends alcohol is not your friend. dig heels in a chuck it!

    Dont buy the lie that your stuck with it! its not YOU. make a decision to divroce it

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  • Posted

    I believe or I think it's not a disease is an opinion and just that, alcoholism is a disease.  Alcohol is not metabolized in a person with alcoholism, and as they consume more alcohol thier body auctually physically craves more alcohol.  You can look this up yourself, and is scientifically proven.  There is no choice involved.
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  • Posted

    Ok then I guess all the studies and medical MRI's online proving shrinking brains just to name one ossue is all hooey ...sad really. There is a proven science of addiction and the science of relapse.. Education and Awearness is the healing spirit for this disease called alcoholism.

    See all my stories about my son's life as a alcoholic since a teen. All he has been thru is due to so many that think as u . Cops treat him like a dog..he's hunted down and thrown thru plate glass windows because he is drunk in public. It's not what u want to read or hear. It's my son's life.

    yet he tries to stay sober and been in rehab many times over the years. He has lost everything.

    Check it out on the many published studies on line. There is even a MRI showing the difference between the brains of an alcoholic and a normal brain.

    I am proud of u that u have stopped UR addiction to alcohol. 

    HOPE4CURE

     

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  • Posted

    All THE EXPERTS - ARE ANY OF THE PEOPLE POSTING HERE QUALIFIED IN ANY WAY, APART FROM BEING EXPERTS IN THEIR OWN MINDS ?????? Addiction has been classed as a disease by the WORLD HEALH ORGANISATION - I think i will stick with their opinion - They may just know what they are talking about-unlike some of the SELF APPOINTED EXPERTS- i am a recovering alcoholic- i have never used the fact that addiction is a disease to excuse my actions while under the influence of alcohol-we are all responsible for our actions regardless of whether we suffer from a disease or not- i am also responsible for my own recovery from this disease-
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    • Posted

      Well the AMA describes it as a chronic illness. Besides the fact that the AMA only bowed down to pressure by the billion dollar treatment field so insurance companies would pay for treatment. Go get education instead of reading liberal propaganda and believing a 12 step group' with drunks who have no degree. Even your messiah Bill Wilson called it an allergy.

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  • Posted

    I have been struggling with addiction for quite a number of years now. I have seen a lot, read a lot and heard a lot about addiction and "alcoholism" if you want to use that label. I have personally seen people remain abstinent and live happy lives through recovery programs and methods and each to their own. I have heard alcoholism described as a disease within AA. I personally don't agree with it being a disease from my own experience. I can't speak for others. When I was in my teens I enjoyed a drink now and again and never drank more than once or twice a week, never overdid it and didn't think about doing it again in between visit to the pub etc. In my late 20s early 30s it became more prominent in my life and I started to have more issues with it. The last 10 years or so tolerance has risen and taking  more alcohol into my system. I have heard people say they believe it's a progressive illness but not a progressive disease? I find it hard to accept that it's a disease because when drinking with drinkers who don't drink so much I don't overdo it generally. When I have travelled to other countries and have been there alone, in Asia, I have not had an issue with my alcohol there. When I have returned to the UK and have been hanging out with certain people it has again become an issue. So my belief is that it depends on where you are, who you're with, the circumstances in your life at the time and any number of other conditions. Apparently alcohol is also highly addictive and I have read that it dehydrates so it makes sense that if someone has a few drinks dehyrdation kicks in, you become thirsty and so you want to have a drink to quench that thirst thereby setting off the cycle. I'm not denying that there is not a brain chemistry that is different in people that become addicted to certain substances as it has been proven through scientific tests but I can't buy the theory that it's a disease that can't be diagnosed or tested for and that only "you" can decide if you have it? 
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