- vagrant, down and out in the street, sleeping rough
- someone shooting up crack cocaine
- someone vomiting in the street after a night clubbing
- someone who over eats
- someone who under eats
Check out my previous post for a generalised view as I processed addiction
Here I am – processing again. This time it is the idea that “Addiction is a Disease”.
I have struggled with the approach of defining alcoholic addiction as a disease. Now I see that there are other addictions that, apparently, should fall under this ‘label’.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the addict. In fact, I work with addicts every day, yet I sometimes have difficulty getting my head around the notion that the addictions I see can all be labelled as a disease.
But my attitude is changing.
In order to be considered a disease, an addiction has to be researched scientifically as well as generally. I didn’t realise that it took well over 30 years of research before they labelled alcoholism a disease.
Also, it has to ‘fulfill’ certain criteria.*
- Compulsion – alcoholics report being ‘compelled’ to drink, even when they didn’t want to.
- Obsession – intense pre-occupation. The addict ignores other areas of life and focuses attention on a person, activity or substance
- Continuing despite adverse consequences – continuing to do things that harm, even when you know that they harm.
- Tolerance – this involves a neurochemical reaction of the brain e.g. one drink would make someone tipsy but continually using alcohol means that the body adjusts so that one drink won’t have the same effect. It might take 2, or 3, or 4.
Labelling addiction as a disease does not, in any way, remove responsibility away from the addict.
So, here I am, processing these new facts. What about you? Do you agree or disagree with the thought that addiction is a disease? I’m waiting to hear your views.