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PhDreamer
SFN Regular

USA
925 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  06:59:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit PhDreamer's Homepage Send PhDreamer a Private Message
quote:

Just some thoughts for discussion, please don't think I'm making pronouncements from above, these are just things I've read and am repeating them for the sake of discussion.



I'll try to keep that in mind.

quote:

There are no "physical" addictions. Alcohol is not insulin. No one "needs" a cigarette. Certainly, the poisons that we take affect our body and our body changes because of them. In people that don't take care of themselves withdrawing from alcohol can even be deadly, but no one needs it to be healthy, so there is no "physical" addiction.



This sounds fine if you define 'physical addiction' as 'necessary for life.' But why would you do that? To say insulin is physically addictive is trivial at best and meaningless at worst. I haven't seen anyone in this thread imply that the body won't resume normal function after giving up a physically addictive substance. It is simply a medical fact that nicotine physically changes the functionality of certain acetylcholine receptors. It is a medical fact that, without the stimulation provided by nicotine, those now-damaged receptors will not respond normally to acetylcholine stimulation for a period of time. And it is a medical fact that those receptors can resume near-normal functionality after more time. Your beef seems to be with the 'psychological addiction' crowd. Physical addiction is relatively simple and generally undisputed.

Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things. - Silent Bob
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  07:24:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Well, again, remember who this is coming from and this is just for discussion, but why call it addiction then? Doesn't that imply a "need" that's not really there? So what if there are physical changes? Isn't it still just a habit?
quote:


This sounds fine if you define 'physical addiction' as 'necessary for life.'



"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn

Edited by - gorgo on 01/15/2002 07:29:15
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  08:14:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
All I can say is, "If you ain't been there, you can't know what it's like."

I've described my 'recovery' as easy, but that is only in comparison to the misery suffered by others. It was easy, perhaps, but not pleasant.

No two people in this world react exactly the same to any, given substance. Some walk away from it and others never do. An addiction is not a 'need' for the well-being of the body. It's a desire that takes precidence over those needs. An addict will happily spend the week's grocery and rent / morgage money on his / her high and never give it a second thought. Perhaps the worst of it is that the traitorous body will build a resistance to whatever drug, and it takes larger doses to attain that high.

Trust me: I've been there. I lost everything to my ex-wife's alchoholism as well as my own. Fortunatly, I was dry when the divorce was final. She got all the property and I ended up with the kids (who now have kids of their own).

I am still an alcoholic and I don't need AA or anyone else to tell me that. I will always be one. I'm not ashamed of it; it's just part of being me.

f

The more I learn about people, the better I like rattlesnakes.
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Donnie B.
Skeptic Friend

417 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  08:23:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Donnie B. a Private Message
Physical addiction is real, and in some cases it can indeed become necessary for life (or be given higher priority than things that are necessary for life, such as food).

Does no one remember the animal experiments in which rats, given the choice between food and cocaine, will continue to choose cocaine until they starve to death?

Just because an addiction can (in some cases) be broken doesn't mean it isn't a real, physiological condition.

OTOH, of course, some substances are far more addictive than others. Marijuana use, for example, is not much more than a "habit", as Gorgo put it. Alcohol, crack, and nicotine are far tougher to kick. And filthy's correct, every individual reacts differently, so YMMV.


-- Donnie B.

Brian: "No, no! You have to think for yourselves!" Crowd: "Yes! We have to think for ourselves!"
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  08:27:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Please understand that I'm not trying to take any of that away from you. I also know that people who think they have the cure to cancer have said, "if you ain't been there..." Anecdotal evidence is not always good evidence.

Just because you were convinced that you have a "disease" does not mean that you have one, and even if you're wrong changing habits is not necessarily easy. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that your belief does not make you right, either.

quote:

All I can say is, "If you ain't been there, you can't know what it's like."



"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  08:28:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Humans have a different brain than rats. Humans can make choices.

quote:



Does no one remember the animal experiments in which rats, given the choice between food and cocaine, will continue to choose cocaine until they starve to death?




"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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Tokyodreamer
SFN Regular

USA
1447 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  08:59:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Tokyodreamer a Private Message
Here's how Merriam-Webster defines addiction:

quote:
1 : the quality or state of being addicted
2 : compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful


(emphasis mine)

I like this definition, as it clarifies why one wouldn't say something like "we are all addicted to food and water."

I still don't see any evidence that suggests that alcohol addiction is not "curable". Once your body no longer shows the effects of withdrawal, you are no longer an alcohol addict. Keep in mind this says nothing about whether or not one has a psychological need or tendency to be addicted to something, so if they get over their chemical dependence upon alcohol, they may switch to something else, but they are no longer an "Alcoholic".

------------

Sum Ergo Cogito
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Tokyodreamer
SFN Regular

USA
1447 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  09:01:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Tokyodreamer a Private Message
quote:

Humans have a different brain than rats. Humans can make choices.


You're probably going to need to clarify your point here. Rats make choices also. They chose to be high and die rather than eat food. They weren't forced.

------------

Sum Ergo Cogito

Edited by - tokyodreamer on 01/15/2002 09:01:36
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  09:06:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Well, it's either or. I mean if rats have to have cocaine then they didn't have a choice. If they don't have to have it, then they did have a choice.

quote:

quote:

Humans have a different brain than rats. Humans can make choices.


You're probably going to need to clarify your point here. Rats make choices also. They chose to be high and die rather than eat food. They weren't forced.

------------




"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  09:35:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
In other words, there is the notion that some people "have" to have drugs. Someone backed that up by saying that rats "have" to have drugs. Just because rats "have" to have drugs it does not follow that humans do. If they do not "need" drugs, then it is a simple habit, and the idea of "physical addiction" simply adds to the difficulty of changing the habit.

Or again, that's what I'm getting from some things that I've read.

"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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Donnie B.
Skeptic Friend

417 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  19:43:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Donnie B. a Private Message
Rats are not people, granted. They are mammals, though, and share much of our physiology. They can and do act as models for how humans may react to certain stimuli. The pharmaceutical industry, for one, relies on that fact.

In the experiment I mentioned, the rats did indeed have a choice. They could have food any time they chose, but they didn't; they spent all their time giving themselves the addictive substance. Their craving for the drug was greater than their hunger.

I make this point not to imply that humans cannot overcome addiction, but to counter the claim I thought you were making about addiction, namely, that it was no more than a habit (like putting on your right shoe before your left, or vice versa).

To filthy, and anyone else who has overcome an addiction, I salute you. I've been lucky enough never to get hooked on anything more habit-forming than SFN...



-- Donnie B.

Brian: "No, no! You have to think for yourselves!" Crowd: "Yes! We have to think for ourselves!"
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13470 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2002 :  23:10:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Gorgo,

If you are suggesting that addiction is a social construct, and that is what you seem to be saying, forget it. First you have to define addiction correctly. I suggest that you reread the replies to your posts. Failing that, try heroin. Take it several times a week. Take it until you have what you call a "habit." Then, stop taking it. Come back and report. Of course, whatever you have to say about your experience will be anecdotal, but I would be willing to lower my standards and settle for that in this case....


The Evil Skeptic

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2002 :  05:37:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
1. I'm not sure where the rat study was published or what the scientists's conclusions were, but you seem to be saying both that the rats have a choice and they don't have a choice. I'm not sure the study is relevant, in any case. If the rats have a choice, that means that they understand the full consequences of their actions. Drugs do not cause "cravings." The body does not "need" drugs. The body tries to rid itself of drugs. People confuse that feeling with "craving" out of habit.It does no one any good to reinforce that idea.

2. If drugs are a choice, then they are not a disease. One does not choose to have delusions when they have schizophrenia.

3. To get to Kil's comments, I'm not sure what you mean by social construct. I am told that heroin is very pleasurable. I am told that most heroin users lead productive lives. I am told that the withdrawal effects of all but the most severe users are very minor. The most severe users get flu-like symptoms for a weekend. Nothing like heavy alcohol users. Heroin is a choice, based on pleasure. Trimpey has hypothesized (for lack of a better term) that one's reptile brain desires pleasure, so that part of oneself tells the other part of itself that it wants that feeling again. However, there are other parts of the brain and those parts can understand that that voice can ask all it wants, but the rest of the brain wants other things. So, those "feelings" can be allowed for a short time until one gets over the habit and through any physical "withdrawal" symptoms.

Talking about disease, and powerlessness and lack of choice do not help people make proper decisions.

When I quit smoking, I realized that I did not "crave" cigarettes. The feeling I felt was my body trying to clean itself of all the poisons I gave it. There are those that have said that cigarettes are harder to quit than anything. Right or wrong, it's up there with the rest, and I quit without gods or methadone. If experience means anything, and it doesn't much, then you must concede your point.

"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn

Edited by - gorgo on 01/16/2002 05:39:29

Edited by - gorgo on 01/16/2002 05:43:26
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PhDreamer
SFN Regular

USA
925 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2002 :  07:38:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit PhDreamer's Homepage Send PhDreamer a Private Message
Gorgo,

I've had my say on this and I'm going to assume that you understand a couple of things:

1) Physical addiction is real for the reasons I gave before
2) The effects of physical and psychological addiction can often be difficult to separate.

Your use of cigarettes as an example is not helping your case because the physical effects are well-known and the source of the 'craving' that you deride is complex.

I guess it troubles me that you seem to think the intellectual brain should be able to overrule the emotional brain in any situation. I think the mere presence of autonomic functions disputes this, but there are many more subtle examples, one of my favorites being the phenomenon 'blindsight.' See here: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/blindsight.html

In any case, I think you are making authoritative pronouncements that have no empirical support whatsoever. I have been wrong before, but I have some experience with this subject and I think the science supports me.



Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things. - Silent Bob
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2002 :  08:20:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
We can certainly choose not to be angry about some things that we have been angry about in the past by changing our perceptions of those things. Therefore, the intellectual brain can "overrule" the emotional brain. Certainly, we can choose not to smoke or to smoke so the intellectual brain can "overrule" whatever it is that causes us to smoke or take other drugs. Whether or not it is easy or hard is another matter. Whether or not we can choose to drink or smoke occasionally is another matter.

Whether or not "physical addiction" is relevant is the question. So there are physical changes, so what? How does that help us to know that?

Again, I'm not making pronouncements from above. I am speaking from the point of view of those who have studied these ideas and come to their conclusions for the sake of discussion. I haven't totally decided what to think about the matter, although I am certain that AA and the usual drug "treatment" ideas need review.

Since I've written all that before I read your link, I may write something else entirely different later.

quote:

Gorgo,

I've had my say on this and I'm going to assume that you understand a couple of things:

1) Physical addiction is real for the reasons I gave before
2) The effects of physical and psychological addiction can often be difficult to separate.

Your use of cigarettes as an example is not helping your case because the physical effects are well-known and the source of the 'craving' that you deride is complex.

I guess it troubles me that you seem to think the intellectual brain should be able to overrule the emotional brain in any situation. I think the mere presence of autonomic functions disputes this, but there are many more subtle examples, one of my favorites being the phenomenon 'blindsight.' See here: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/blindsight.html

In any case, I think you are making authoritative pronouncements that have no empirical support whatsoever. I have been wrong before, but I have some experience with this subject and I think the science supports me.



Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things. - Silent Bob



"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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