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Why do you think addiction is a disease?Why do you think addiction is a disease?

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lynnkelly59 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2011 at 7:10 PM via web

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Why do you think addiction is a disease?

Why do you think addiction is a disease?

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shiema21 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted February 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM (Answer #2)

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it isnt actully a disease because it cannot be transfored from one person to another but once you are addicted to somthing your body becomes attached to it and praticlly cannot live without and once you try to stop your addiction your body paticlly falls apart you feel washed out and drained and that is the reason hy some poeple may put it as a dieses because of pear pressure and once your on it and become addicted then that is your problem

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kurlykarman | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted February 22, 2011 at 8:59 PM (Answer #3)

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Isn't it also true that if a family member has had an addiction of some kind (for example alcohol) that the generations to come after this person have a higher risk of becoming and addict? meaning that in some sense addiction can be passes from one person to another, or one generation to another?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:14 AM (Answer #4)

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I am not sure if there is a definitive answer to the question.  For those who believe that addiction is a disease, the analysis here is that addiction is something connected to the brain's neurological pathways from birth.  Children who are born of addicts possess neurological "hard wiring" that make them more predisposed to embracing patterns and behaviors of addiction.  Studies have confirmed this in separating twins and noting their own behaviors.  Alcoholism is an example of how addiction can be perceived as a disease:  "Current evidence indicates that in both men and women, alcoholism is 50-60% genetically determined, leaving 40-50% for environmental and other influences." This is hardly definitive or conclusive, but does raise the idea that addiction can be seen as being influenced by hereditary and genetic patterns.  With this in mind, even the most determinant of thinkers would argue that specific context and environmental factors play a very large role in determining addictive behavior.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM (Answer #5)

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If you are going to argue that addiction is a disease, you should look at the neurological or biological aspects of addiction.

You could look at the ways in which addiction is caused by the body's actual physical need for a substance.  This is much different from something that is just a desire.  I may want very badly (for example) to read books and I may be a bit unhappy if I don't get time to read.  But that's not an addiction because there is no physical need going on in my body the way there is when an addict physically needs their drug.

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shiema21 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted February 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM (Answer #6)

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there is a chance that if a family member is addicted to like alchol you may be to but thats in the worst case cenario because if you see how mested up a addict is youll know you wouldnt want to be in there shoes so at the end of the day it is based on your thinking

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tutorjim | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM (Answer #7)

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There is a lot of present research being done to look at the genetic pre-disposition into alcohol and addiction and whether addiction of any kind is a disease. MacAndrew & Edgerton 1969, suggested that addiction was a culturally specific construct, that relied upon the normalisation of a substance, in the case of their studies, alcohol into the specific culture in question.

Marlatt & Rohsenow (1980) designed and conducted an experiment utilising what was described as a Balanced Placebo, which was designed to discover if a subjects behaviour could be manipulated by influencing their expectations with regards to using alcohol.  These studies suggested that addiction was not a disease, but a social and or personal construct. 

Advocates for the disease model suggest that the addicted person, has no or little control over their need to use the substance,  and crucially once addicted always addicted, even when "cured" and in recovery, hence the emphasis for abstinance. But if this is the case , then addicts who spontaneously recover on their own should not exist, and those who use drugs recreationally, without developing cravings, or uncontrollable use, should also not exist. This is an issue that the disease model, and the concept of treatments around this model, the twelve step model, minnesota model and similar models do not recognise. There fore is addiction a disease, the jury as they say is still out.

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