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Thread: Disease?

  1. #11
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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    We are back to the difference between consuming drugs or alcohol vs being consumed by the addiction.

    Having a few beers with friends is a far cry from straining Sterno through a T-shirt.
    I see your point. Do you see mine that that might be highly indicative that it is dependant on the genetic makeup of the individual more than a blanket mental illness or addiction labeling?

    All I'm saying is that the way "addiction" is treated needs to be rethought perhaps. First, however, the mindset (addiction?) of how it is viewed needs to be challenged.

    The general ignorance of our evolutionary history and therefore the perspective of this, as well as many other subjects, might have us on a course of failing to understand the issue which might be, in large measure, why the failure rate is so high.

    I have found on a personal level that the more I learned the less I enjoyed altered states of mind. That is a change of environment as much as living in a new city is.
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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruv View Post
    Not a whisky and a cigarette ?
    You must know my sense of humour by now Lars, my apologies if my joke offended you.
    I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth

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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahso! View Post
    If a person is being poisoned slowly or poisoning themselves with say arsenic slowly, would we call that a disease or say that the internal organs that the poison is affecting are diseased?

    Or might we say that, since the skin is now recognized as an organ, that a skin burn is a disease?

    If the answer to either or both of those question is no, why then do we say that drugs or alcohol or smoking is the cause of organ disease or the behavior is itself a disease?
    disease
    dɪˈziːz/
    noun
    noun: disease; plural noun: diseases; noun: dis-ease; plural noun: dis-eases

    a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
    "bacterial meningitis is quite a rare disease"
    synonyms: illness, sickness, ill health; More
    infection, ailment, malady, disorder, complaint, affliction, condition, indisposition, upset, problem, trouble, infirmity, disability, defect, abnormality;
    pestilence, plague, cancer, canker, blight;
    informalbug, virus;
    informallurgy;
    informal***;
    datedcontagion
    antonyms: health
    a particular quality or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.
    "we are suffering from the British disease of self-deprecation"

    Sorry for some reason I can't get the quote box or font changes to work.

    The addiction itself is arguably a disease drug and certainly, alcohol abuse is also a cultural thing that is quite hard to stand against if you are in that environment where drunkenness is the norm and almost part of being a real "man". I know plenty of people who cannot conceive how you can have a good time unless you are drinking and it's always been quite hard to refuse to fall in line - well actually no it hasn't I decided a long time ago the friend trying to get me to get drunk along with them or take drugs with them was not actually my friend.

    I find it hard to have much sympathy for junkies and alcoholics.

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    Re: Disease?

    I think one of the problems that we have here is that we are talking at least in part about the consequences of personality disorders, certainly where alcohol and other drugs are concerned. Alcohol dependency is a classic symptom of an underlying issue. After a time the dependency can become physical as well as emotional.

    So while after a time alcohol dependency can become a physical disease with a recognisable and distinguishable set of symptoms it doesn't start like that and the same is true of many drugs and their effects. But the underlying issues that lead to dependency are not physical, they are emotional, behavioural and psychological and don't work quite like physical diseases and I don't think it helps to consider them as physical diseases.


    It hasn't helped that in an effort to get the public in general to consider mental health as no more scary than, say, bad 'flu and deserving of the same sort of consideration as anyone else with a medical condition they've tried to get people to consider them as being the same as physical illnesses when there are important differences in terms of causes and treatments.


    And the understanding of these issues is still in its infancy, or toddling at best.

    edit: And there are complications to this picture: The exposure to it of a culture unused to alcohol can have devastating results as it did with native Americans. I am not sure to what extent that has turned out to be genetic in some way and to what extent a cultural vulnerability - their culture had no mechanisms to cope with something they'd never met before. Opium in China is another example.


    At what point does a quirk of personality become a disorder?

    edit edit: Chuckle. I do wonder if 500? 1000? years in the future all these disorders that cause so much misery will be successfully and acceptably "cured". And would living in a society of completely well adjusted people be unbearably dull? Would it kill art, for example? Would a potential Van Gogh of the 22nd century never happen because he is a happy and well adjusted sunflower farmer?
    The crowd: "Yes! We are all individuals!"
    Lone voice: "I'm not."

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    Re: Disease?

    There appear to be two different reasons for applying the 'disease' label.

    1) a person is diseased as evidenced by having an addictive personality. This seems to be where "disease" has replaced "sin" in medical terminology. We can find imperfection in any personality provided we have the perfect model. In the Christian religion that model is Jesus, and in medicine, it is a definition of each body organ operating at optimum performance. Neither can be realistically achieved.

    2) the substance itself, whether it be drugs or alcohol or what have you, is the parasite, sort of speak, which is the cause of the malfunction to the associated organ within the body. With drugs and often alcohol, this organ is the brain. Today, it is common for even religiously based treatment centers to talk about brain function and how the substance "hijacks" the brain and causes it to reward itself for the "wrong" reasons thus causing cravings and triggers. Whenever I see words like "right" or "wrong" it sends up a red flag because then the explanation begins to take on an eerily moralistic tone if coming from a religious source and possible unrealistic tone coming from medical people (see #1 above).
    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”
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  6. #16
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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    I think one of the problems that we have here is that we are talking at least in part about the consequences of personality disorders, certainly where alcohol and other drugs are concerned. Alcohol dependency is a classic symptom of an underlying issue. After a time the dependency can become physical as well as emotional.

    So while after a time alcohol dependency can become a physical disease with a recognisable and distinguishable set of symptoms it doesn't start like that and the same is true of many drugs and their effects. But the underlying issues that lead to dependency are not physical, they are emotional, behavioural and psychological and don't work quite like physical diseases and I don't think it helps to consider them as physical diseases.


    It hasn't helped that in an effort to get the public in general to consider mental health as no more scary than, say, bad 'flu and deserving of the same sort of consideration as anyone else with a medical condition they've tried to get people to consider them as being the same as physical illnesses when there are important differences in terms of causes and treatments.


    And the understanding of these issues is still in its infancy, or toddling at best.

    edit: And there are complications to this picture: The exposure to it of a culture unused to alcohol can have devastating results as it did with native Americans. I am not sure to what extent that has turned out to be genetic in some way and to what extent a cultural vulnerability - their culture had no mechanisms to cope with something they'd never met before. Opium in China is another example.


    At what point does a quirk of personality become a disorder?

    edit edit: Chuckle. I do wonder if 500? 1000? years in the future all these disorders that cause so much misery will be successfully and acceptably "cured". And would living in a society of completely well adjusted people be unbearably dull? Would it kill art, for example? Would a potential Van Gogh of the 22nd century never happen because he is a happy and well adjusted sunflower farmer?
    There is definitely a genetic aspect to addiction. Alcohol, for example, there is a genetic "feature" in some strains of human that allows the body to quickly metabolize the alcohol, and dispense with the the residual matter.
    American Indigenous people did not have this marker.
    When it is missing, the Alcohol remains in the system for a very long time, and wreaks havoc on the system.
    The marker probably evolved among some European strains where Alcohol became a regular part of the culture.
    It would be interesting to learn whether the same gene markers have other affects, such as the tendency toward addiction.

    There are some studies on the behavioral vs. Physiological aspects of addiction.
    As I understand it, the "disease" label is generally reserved for the Physiological aspects of substance abuse and such.

    So, if I have a physiological need for Caffeine, and cannot properly function until after a cup or two of Coffee, Am I diseased?
    "The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so." - Will Rogers

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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    So, if I have a physiological need for Caffeine, and cannot properly function until after a cup or two of Coffee, Am I diseased?
    I say no. Your body has adapted to an environment where caffeine is a regular part of it so it drives you to seek more of it out. The body does not know or understand what's happening, it's only function is to survive, first as an individual, then as a species and lastly as an organism in order to preserve life in general.
    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”
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    Re: Disease?

    Being bi-polar I, on occasion, have very severe downers from time to time. I can go from being on a high to being in total suicidal meltdown in a moment, and have a long record of having been admitted into hospital for suicide attempts since I was 6. When I am in the latter stage I hit the bottle & the tablets. However this, in itself, is not a suicide attempt in itself - quite the opposite. It is an attempt to knock myself out to avoid doing an further harm, with the perpetual hope that I won't have to wake up again in the morning anyway. I have a good stock of various forms of spirits - most of which, I am glad to say, has been in stock for quite a long time. When I do hit the bottle, though, I will get through a bottle in one sitting. That does not, however, make me an alcoholic. Yes, it is using the alcohol as a solution, but by way of facing the reality, rather than hiding from it. Difficult to explain. Probably even more difficult to understand unless you've been there.

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    Re: Disease?

    Quote Originally Posted by FourPart View Post
    Being bi-polar I, on occasion, have very severe downers from time to time. I can go from being on a high to being in total suicidal meltdown in a moment, and have a long record of having been admitted into hospital for suicide attempts since I was 6. When I am in the latter stage I hit the bottle & the tablets. However this, in itself, is not a suicide attempt in itself - quite the opposite. It is an attempt to knock myself out to avoid doing an further harm, with the perpetual hope that I won't have to wake up again in the morning anyway. I have a good stock of various forms of spirits - most of which, I am glad to say, has been in stock for quite a long time. When I do hit the bottle, though, I will get through a bottle in one sitting. That does not, however, make me an alcoholic. Yes, it is using the alcohol as a solution, but by way of facing the reality, rather than hiding from it. Difficult to explain. Probably even more difficult to understand unless you've been there.
    Haven't been there but know people who have. I remember when they started using lithium to control manic depression for me it raised the question if drugs can alter your body chemistry and change your personality then who is really looking back at you from the mirror? Still can't answer that one in any definitive way. I also know plenty of people who become aggressive or maudlin when drunk, I have no sympathy for them whatsoever, when sober you can decide not to drink. Drink or drugs as a coping mechanism are a route I turned away from by choice.

    You're right it is hard to understand from the outside looking in. Even when you think you see the cause what to do?

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    Re: Disease?

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    Borderline Personality Disorder is my issue, since we're sharing. And I'll agree with 4part on this - when it's bad you do what you have to do to get through it, which seems a common feature of many of these conditions

    It's not curable etc but you can learn to live with it a bit - now in my 50's diagnosed at 17 really the main advice I'd give anyone suffering from these sorts of issues is to learn not to beat yourself up over it too much, which sadly isn't quite as easy as it sounds.


    Chuckle. Thinking about it I'm not sure it's even called BPD any more. Too offensive a name, implying that the sufferers were almost without personality. As I remember I initially rejected the diagnosis for that reason since lack of personality has never been an issue. This was pre internet and the disorder had only just been recognised. I never got an explanation of what it really was and actually forgot about it. I only remembered it recently after meeting someone who rang bells all over the place which brought the memory back.

    What it is actually trying to suggest is a personality on the borderline between neurosis and psychosis. Anyway, I've managed to make a lifestyle where I'm a burden on none and take no money from the state and I have made some positive contributions.

    When it all went tits up, well, call centres can be lifesavers, and that's not a statement you'll hear every day.

    And it's never dull!

    As to what looks back in the mirror, that's me. But a me that is distorted from the ideal me by personality disorder and life and events. It doesn't stop me growing but it makes it more difficult because I'll mess up more of the lessons of life and events because of the disorder. A classic BPD type personality is like Field Marshal Montgomery: Very talented and capable in many ways, but with defects - in his case vanity and conceit - that almost destroy his achievements even as he makes them. (I'm not saying Monty had BPD but that's the sort of effect it can have. What would make it BPD would be if Monty hadn't undermined his own achievement through vanity and conceit, he'd have found another way to undermine them).


    I think the thing that makes all these things disease-like is that there is something actively destructive of you going on and it's not a choice. (and no, it's not "possession")
    The crowd: "Yes! We are all individuals!"
    Lone voice: "I'm not."

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