View Poll Results: Is Alcoholism a disease or a behavior?

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  • Disease

    16 36.36%
  • Behavior

    19 43.18%
  • I like cheese

    4 9.09%
  • Other

    5 11.36%
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Thread: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

  1. #71
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    Alcoholism is a disease that may or may not be exhibited in behavioral ways. A mental disorder is no different from a physical disorder.
    I disagree. Mental disorders are different from physical disorders. Physical disorders can be treated physically. Disorders like this include asthma, cancer, chemically induced depression, and other things for which physical evidence and treatment may exist. Mental disorders/diseases are all part of the patient's psyche and are psychologically driven/caused. Alcoholism is typically an addiction to alcohol. It isn't a physical disease. It is a behavior for an individual to pick up a bottle of alcohol and ingest it. It would be a disease if the body somehow manufactured excess ethanol. I've had several family members die alcoholics. I've had some recover from alcohol. The patient may be addicted to alcohol, but nothing is forcing them to drink and they do not have a physical disease. I do believe mental disorders and physical disorders are very different.
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  2. #72
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    I'm no expert on the scientific or medical research, but I'll share my perspective.

    I think there are definately genetic or biological factors that can pre-dispose one towards alcoholism. I believe I have somewhat of an addictive personality. But there are other factors in play - psychological, emotional, and even personal will power. I'll use myself as an example. As i said before, I think I have somewhat of an addictive personality. I have to be pretty disciplined towards certain things to make sure they don't become something I can't control. And I have great incentive to do so. I have a wonderful wife, a loving family, great friends. All things I know an out of control addiction would put at risk. Now if I didn't have those supports, I could easily see myself letting the rush of alcohol or gambling smooth over the loneliness.

    But I choose to be disciplined. There is an element of personal choice and responsibility. I recognize how I'm wired and make choices that minimize the risk of addiction.

    My grandfather is an interesting example as well. For years he was a functional alcoholic. He had a good job, was pretty good father and husband, but he drank a lot. Then he developed health problems and had to retire early, while my grandmother kept working. With nothing to do and no one around during the day, his alcoholism quickly grew much worse. His health grew worse. He even had a small heart attack in a bar without knowing it until he went to the doctor a few days later. The doctor told him flat out if he didn't stop drinking, he'd kill himself. For my grandfather, that blunt warning was the wake up call he needed. Him and my grandmother packed up their things, sold their house and moved down to Alabama (where they were originally from) and bought a house in a dry county where he wouldn't be around bars or liquor stores or his old buddies. From the day they moved down there till the day he died, my grandfather only had one slip. One time while back up north to visit us, he ran into an old friend who dragged him into a bar and you can guess how the night ended.

    I remember my grandfather talking about his struggle with alcohol once. We were down in Alabama visiting and another relative was over talking to my dad. Somehow the relative started talking about beer and then quickly apologized to my grandfather for mentioning it. My grandfather said it was OK. He said something like, "I could watch you sitting right there drink a beer and I wouldn't want one, but if I picked up a can and started drinking it, I wouldn't stop until they were all gone."
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  3. #73
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I disagree. Mental disorders are different from physical disorders. Physical disorders can be treated physically. Disorders like this include asthma, cancer, chemically induced depression, and other things for which physical evidence and treatment may exist. Mental disorders/diseases are all part of the patient's psyche and are psychologically driven/caused. Alcoholism is typically an addiction to alcohol. It isn't a physical disease. It is a behavior for an individual to pick up a bottle of alcohol and ingest it. It would be a disease if the body somehow manufactured excess ethanol. I've had several family members die alcoholics. I've had some recover from alcohol. The patient may be addicted to alcohol, but nothing is forcing them to drink and they do not have a physical disease. I do believe mental disorders and physical disorders are very different.
    But some addictions can be changed, helped, or even cured with drugs and others when trauma happens to a certain part of the head. This means that it is a physical misfiring or defect in brain circuitry that is likely to cause people to be alcoholics.

    HBO: Addiction: Treatment: Which Treatment Should I Pursue?: Prescribed Medications Can Help People Recover from Addiction
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/he...h.4354879.html
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  4. #74
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    But some addictions can be changed, helped, or even cured with drugs and others when trauma happens to a certain part of the head. This means that it is a physical misfiring or defect in brain circuitry that is likely to cause people to be alcoholics.

    HBO: Addiction: Treatment: Which Treatment Should I Pursue?: Prescribed Medications Can Help People Recover from Addiction
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/he...h.4354879.html
    Insular cortex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Drugs may help curb addictive behavior. However many individuals instead get addicted to those drugs. I specifically stated that depression caused by chemical imbalances in the brain is a physical disease. However, alcoholism is still a behavior is still a behavior. Nothing is forcing their brain to drink or the individual to chose that. They may have an addictive personality, but addiction can be overcome. Nothing in an alcoholics brain chemistry forces them to drink. They may be predisposed to addictions, but nothing is forcing them to be addicted or partake in addictive behavior.
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  5. #75
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Yeah, they usually grow up to become politicians.
    after hospitals use them, i guess.

    Originally Posted by johnny_rebson:

    These are the same liberals who forgot how Iraq attacked us on 9/11.


  6. #76
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Incognito View Post
    Sure thing. I can't wait to hear your professional medical opinion, doctor.
    So, in lieu of adhering my own opinion, I can just accept yours, doctor?
    You can never be safe from a government that can keep you completely safe from each other and the world. You must choose.

  7. #77
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlNextDoor View Post
    If my younger brother is genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic - what happened to my sister and I? Why can we drink in moderation and he cannot? All three of us started underage drinking, difference is, her and I did it socially and minimally. My brother chose to drink his 'problems' away. I have a very hard time understanding it to be a disease that is somehow out of someone's control, when there are others who may come from the same genetic makeup and never have a problem with it.
    Well, it's not solely based on genetics.

    A person can never smoke a cigarette in their life but if they have a predisposition in their family for cancer, they are predisposed to getting it. This predisposition is biological in nature.

    But if a person never has a case of cancer in their immediate family but smokes a carton of cigarettes a week, then they are predisposed to getting it. This predisposition is behavioral in nature.

    Again, that's why I hate the false dichotomy that this polls makes people assume. Alcoholism isn't an either/or thing. For some people it can be biological, but for other people it can be behavioral.

    So your brother "drinking his problems away" may, indeed be behavioral. But that doesn't mean that other people's alcoholism isn't biological in nature.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  8. #78
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I disagree. Mental disorders are different from physical disorders. Physical disorders can be treated physically. Disorders like this include asthma, cancer, chemically induced depression, and other things for which physical evidence and treatment may exist. Mental disorders/diseases are all part of the patient's psyche and are psychologically driven/caused. Alcoholism is typically an addiction to alcohol. It isn't a physical disease. It is a behavior for an individual to pick up a bottle of alcohol and ingest it. It would be a disease if the body somehow manufactured excess ethanol. I've had several family members die alcoholics. I've had some recover from alcohol. The patient may be addicted to alcohol, but nothing is forcing them to drink and they do not have a physical disease. I do believe mental disorders and physical disorders are very different.
    Here's what you don't understand, though - one thing can be caused by both physical factors and psychological factors.

    Take, for example, bad moods. Most people may think that a person is in a bad mood because he has some kind of behavioral problem,. such as he expects too much from other people and when he doesn't get what he feels entitled to he gets irked by it and lashes out at people.

    But a bad mood can also be caused by physical symptoms as well. As any woman who is suffering from cramps can tell you. Their bad mood is caused by the physical pain and the bad mood isn't their normal behavior but rather is their way of dealing with that pain.

    So we have one issue but it has two different causes.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  9. #79
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    So those of us who follow baseball have seen Detroit Tiger's First Basemen Miguel Cabrera's latest drinking **** up. Whenever the subject is brought up in the media, they always refer to it as a disease. I don't buy into the disease theory, in my opinion it's a behavior because you can stop being an alcoholic without medication by just simply putting down the bottle. I believe the disease theory is just to rationalize and cover the social stigma that is associated with being addicted to the sauce.
    I take the South Park explanation for this. Alcoholism is not a disease, it's a behavior of abuse. To not be an alcoholic, you simply need to not drink as much. Some people have a large problem with this due to the addiction of alcohol both chemically and psychologically, and/or an inability to self control.

    When people call it a disease, I always think of Randy Marsh in his wheelchair.
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  10. #80
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    Re: Alcoholism: Disease or Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    To not be an alcoholic, you simply need to not drink as much. Some people have a large problem with this due to the addiction of alcohol both chemically and psychologically, and/or an inability to self control.
    No matter how severe your drinking problem is, if you can just choose not to drink as much, you are not an alcoholic. Two separate concepts.

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