Thursday, August 23, 2012

Addiction is not that simple

I'm a little upset right now over a blog post. I don't think the person who posted this did so maliciously but I feel the need to comment about it. I'm commenting about this as the daughter of an alcoholic who died from this disease.

I'm not going to post the link to the blog post because I don't want people getting upset with this person because they are just expressing their thoughts and their views. I will post parts of the post so I can comment with my thoughts.

I don't understand the disease of addiction first hand, but after seeing so much of it growing up it genuinely makes me ponder how bad things could possibly be for someone to literally waste their entire life trying to numb the pain? 

Addiction does not necessary come about because someone hates their life or is depressed. I think certain personality types are more likely to become addicted, happy or depressed. Of course there are a great number of people who do turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain but that is not the only reason why addiction happens.

I am CERTAIN that there are biological predispositions present as well, but at what point do you actually start to take responsibility for your own life and decide to take action? Life DEFINITELY requires coping skills - but how could someone so blindly just stop caring? Life is SO FREAKING ABUNDANT how does one's brain not even WANT to see that??

Addiction changes the way your brain works. Your brain is not processing things like a normal rational person. To an outsider you may wonder why they don't just snap out of it and work through it. Because it's not that easy. My father was in and out of rehab many times. He wanted to be sober and be there for us but he couldn't. I find this part interesting from a Harvard medical journal letter:
Drug addiction has been a stubborn problem for thousands of years, but only in the last generation have scientists come to understand clearly one of the reasons: It causes lasting changes in brain function that are difficult to reverse
This pretty much sums it up. It changes the way your brain functions even if you're no longer on drugs or drinking alcohol. It's not just about not caring anymore. My father did care. He cared enough to try rehab many many times voluntarily. Although he never beat his disease he at least tried.

Again, I know I know I know this is a disease - TOTALLY get that ... but come on. BOTH of these relatives are all so freaking old, how do they STILL not get it??

It's not about "getting it". It's a disease. It's about your brain and body fighting against you. Alcohol and drugs have long term effects even if you overcome addiction and the longer you're addicted the harder it is to overcome.

I hope I'm making my point here. I've seen alcoholism first hand. You may wonder why this person doesn't just stop. If it were that easy we wouldn't have the problem we do with addiction. It took me a long time to realize that it's not that simple.

11 comments:

  1. Oh Ginny, *hugs*. I completely agree with you. I've seen alcohol, drug, and prescription drug addiction in my family and friends (thankfully not first hand....my parents aren't addicts). Addiction is a disease, and there are biological predispositions for addiction. Just like diabetes is a disease and people are predisposed to diabetes. They can't control their insulin naturally just like an addict cannot control their urges. This post would really upset me too, just because it shows how little people actually know about addiction and the awful stigmas that come with it (like assuming these are bad people who have no control). :(

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    1. Thank you! I just felt that I had to share my own experience. There's still a lot to learn about how addiction works and effects the brain.

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  2. Very good response. You're so right about the disease.

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  3. I didn't realize about your father- I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I remember trying to explain to a friend of a friend once that it's not so simple for an alcoholic to just stop drinking- she didn't seem to understand the changes in brain chemistry. I think it's also hard for people who don't have a desire to do drugs or get drunk- intellectually, I understand all the facts about addiction, but it's still difficult for me to comprehend emotionally.

    I read that post, too, and while I'm sure it wasn't the author's intent to hurt anyone, I'm really sorry it upset you. And very sorry about your father's disease and death.

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    1. Thanks Katie. Hopefully i'll see you on Monday at the meetup?

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  4. thank you. you are right. it's not that simple.

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  5. I wish standing up to that original poster would make a difference and it makes me sad that she has such a far reach.

    Nothing is every that simple. I'm sorry you had to experience it first hand. *hugs*

    Love you.

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    1. Thanks Lor! I try not to respond to things on other people's blogs but I felt like I had to express my thoughts.

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  6. this, in a nutshell, is the reason why mental health stigma pervades. addicts can't just give it up, depressed people can't just choose happiness, and the anxious cant just calm down. brain chemistry, learned patterns, and ironically, the very shame provided by the stigmas are formidable opponents. who would choose that suffering willingly? I've written before that the way people treat us has a lot more to do with what they're capable of than how they feel about us. but that is too much for some people to accept, as it leaves no obvious receptacle for their anger.

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