Addiction: Choice VS Disease: The False Dichotomy

in health •  10 months ago 

 I often notice a debate between people who suggest addiction is a choice, and others who suggest that it is a disease.  I think that this argument is created by the communication barrier that  results from not having enough words to describe human emotions and  mental processes.  

There is a wide range of things that can go  wrong in a person's body to make their lives more difficult, and these  things are so vastly different, that to label them all with one word  "disease" is doing a disservice to the uniqueness of each of these  issues. 

In my own life, I have struggled with addiction, but also  with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and cancer, and I know for  a fact that these conditions do not all belong under the same umbrella,  despite the fact that they are all serious and need to be treated with  compassion. 

Even when I had cancer and needed to improve my diet, my  eating disorder still seemed stronger than my will to live. So when  addicts say they don't have control, I wholeheartedly understand where  they are coming from. 

I think we could make more progress in this  conversation by trying to expand our language on this topic to make  room for a spectrum of mental and physical issues that deteriorates a  person's quality of life. Not where some problems are seen as more  important or legitimate than others, but where each issue is treated  with the unique care that it deserves.  

There are maybe hundreds  or thousands of names for parts in a car, but maybe a dozen words to  describe what is going on in a person's mind and we wonder why we can  never understand one another 

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Ultimately all actions are the result of the individual's own energy and processes which ARE decisions on a certain level. The issue is that of consciousness vs unconsciousness. The more we create habits, the less conscious we become. What starts as a conscious decision, when combined with the intention to avoid real feelings, can become an unconscious habit and that's where the problems really begin.

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"Ultimately all actions are the result of the individual's own energy and processes which ARE decisions on a certain level. The issue is that of consciousness vs unconsciousness. The more we create habits, the less conscious we become. What starts as a conscious decision, when combined with the intention to avoid real feelings, can become an unconscious habit and that's where the problems really begin."

That's pretty deep right there and hit me on a personal level I really vibe with. I think you're right, your words make so much logical sense. Though I do think I need to think about this more to sort of digest it more properly and be able to express it myself better in the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I found this comment very helpful, this is one of the few that really hit me deep.

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You are welcome, yes - this understanding is one of the primary ones that humanity most needs currently to allow a variety of doorways to open that so many have tried to break through with brute force, pretty words and other methods that will never work! <3

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I think it explains a lot! Cause I believe deep down most people aren't "bad" per se, they just stuck in some really bad habits! So perhaps if we can show people that, deep down they are good people, they just managed to unconsciously get caught up in certain "negative" patterns, then.. It's a much better way to approach it I think sorta like you said as opposed to brute force or pretty words.. If you can just explain it to them in a very simple logical way that makes sense, I'll think it'll be super helpful!

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Oh yes, indeed - the phrase 'know thyself' was an early attempt at that - in a way.. but clearly too simple :)

Habits are like viruses in computers that run in the background, sapping the energy/power and doing things that are partially or totally unknown or not understood. The more we can reverse and heal that the better. :)

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I don't necessarily think all habits are bad. For example.. I think it's probably a good idea to develop the habit of looking both ways before you cross a street or you could get hit by a vehicle and die.

Some habits seem to be very important and helpful and can even save our lives.. However, I think the key difference here is the nature of the habit, does it unjustly infringe on or harm anyone, including yourself? If so, you might want to examine it closer, and you might just want to examine all of your habits closer and everything you deeply believe as it's good to not get stuck in patterns for look long without reflection, however.. With something like crossing the street, I think the answer is always going to be.. You should probably look around first or you might die.

Also I noticed you're also a vegan, so.. an example you might resonate with is.. A bad habit would be one where someone kills an animal to eat and good one would be one that does not kill any sentient beings.

Habit itself is not bad, but I think it is one of the major things that the people in power play off of to keep people so confused, they get so many people stuck in bad unproductive habits so that they'll never be able to properly resist.

Humans are creatures of habit, and the people in power know this.. So they try to instill bad habits in us, perhaps if we can show people more how habitual they are and how they've been ensnared into harmful habits, we can help break the spell they are under. But once again. I don't think all habits are bad and I'm not sure if you were implying that or not.. Though.. I do think some habits are good. Especially like.. Showing compassion for people. If you have a habit of helping others.. What's wrong with that..?

It is like programming code, but I don't think it has to be a virus, it can be a helpful .

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When children are given opiates repeatedly at a very young age from a trusted source (dr (criminal)) addiction is no longer a choice. The brain changes

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I appreciate that, yes. In that case the issue remains unconsciousness, but its cause is a different one. The children are unconscious of the implications of the choices being made for them - which may result in a different pathway to addiction, but - as I understand - essentially the same outcome in terms of the presence of damaging habits. Free will was probably not involved and the will has been overpowered 'in the name of'.. something.

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I believe the vast majority of opiate addictions start with prescriptions at a young age. It is criminal

The people I know who have had problems with pills were all repeatedly prescribed them as kids, when their brain was still developing & highly susceptible to drugs engineered to be as addictive as possible. I would bet almost all heroin addicts in the USA were prescribed opiates before they went to what they could keep getting. Every OD death should be treated as a potential murder & traced back to the drs & companies that started the addiction by prescription. I’d love to see metrics on average # of prescriptions & age of prescriptions for all so called “addicts”

Have you read Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA

This book gets to the root of why you have addictive tendencies.
It is said that if this book was adopted, the DSM would become the size of a pamphlet.

Survivors of child abuse (mental and physical) have heightened levels of naturally occurring pain blockers that is 50 times higher than oxycodone. And, that is their base state.

This book also has a lot of the words you are looking for.
And yes, they aren't commonly used in english.

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THank you, this sounds like something i need to read

I wish I could give this a heart react. Thanks for speaking out

I'm glad to know that you were able to fight against addiction, as well as cancer and anxiety and depression.
I share with you that compassion is important in order to face all these evils.

Addiction sucks, panic attacks suck, depression sucks, life itself sometimes just sucks. Love seems to unlock all the suck and replaces it with hope, joy, compassion, understanding. I suppose that's why Jesus said "Love one another as I have loved you... " I don't know you hardly at all but I can honestly say I love you man. Hang in there, try and relax and enjoy the ride.

Some of them might say they have no control, but if they are determined to overcome the addiction and let doctors help them, some medication actually can be given to relieve their withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. It would makes them less suffering and gain control gradually.

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Drs cause the vast majority of addictions in the first place. Trusting them to give more drugs is insane

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Nothing is perfect, even the western medicine. But we do improve on what we should and shouldn't. Those medical guidelines are constantly changing with time.

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I’ve been paying very close attention for over 3 decades & in my opinion they have gotten much worse. So called “treatments” do more damage than good in the vast majority of cases. The most dangerous place to be is a hospital. I learned this while working in a hospital with surgeons who cared more about profit than patients.

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I won't describe hospital as the most dangerous place, but it certainly is not a nice place to hang out. Afterall it is a battlefield of disease.

there are two kinds of people, those with an external locus of control and those with an internal locus of control, those with internal loci of control will say that it is a choice, those with external loci of control will say it is a disease.

http://southpark.cc.com/clips/155157/daddys-very-sick

Addiction is a choice, you let it in

Addiction is a disease, it kills instantly

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Are children who are prescribed addictive drugs by the medical system making a choice?

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Though we cannot undermine the fact that at such a young age, exposure to addictive drugs have a life long impact on kids but it's a choice for them to keep up with it. When those drugs are prescribed medically to them other drugs which help curb the addiction are administered as well. I will say it's curiosity and will to explore that brings about the choice of addiction

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I don’t think you can call it a choice, even if you were given opiate prescriptions as a kid (I always refused them) you don’t understand anyone else’s brain chemistry nor do I. I have good friends I grew up with who are now heroin addicts & they were exposed to a lot of prescribed opiates at a young age. There families & most of their friends judge them without question. I say we only know what we know & nothing of what’s happening in someone else’s mind. If children were commonly prescribed cocaine I’m sure we would see a lot more cocaine addictions as adults. These companies & drs know the consequences but continue to profit

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Form what you're saying, the doctors who prescribe the drugs give the kids no choice than that to become addicts

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I think for a lot of people that is true

looks like you are a great survivor and by the way you have written a great post a sensitive topic @johnvibes

looks like you are a great survivor and by the way you have written a great post a sensitive topic @johnvibes

looks like you are a great survivor and by the way you have written a great post a sensitive topic @johnvibes

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I am resteeming this important post.
I think that addiction is such a broad topic. Certainly something I have struggled with in my life. In fact, my blog will be dedicated exclusively to provide information and a community for addicts in general.
I am now following you.

There are maybe hundreds or thousands of names for parts in a car, but maybe a dozen words to describe what is going on in a person's mind and we wonder why we can never understand one another

I love this line. Keep it up!

One can drink normally for many years then suddenly cross an unknown line where addiction kicks in. It is also genetic and to some degree environmental. Meaning if you grow up with practicing alcoholics or addicts and that is all we know then it is likely to be considered normal behavior. Last I knew there were no classes growing up that teach a child how to drink or take drugs properly. If their were lessons then we could consider our choices. Once an addiction kicks in, then it can become the most powerful force in our lives. Learning generally comes when we have had enough. If people would talk about it as much as they talk about politics we would stifle the use of addictive substances by half! 🐓🐓