Addictions and destiny

89 posts in this topic

 

What I've not really worked out, and I'm not sure there is a clear line anyway, is the difference between a destructive abuse where you harm yourself and those around you and 'just' being addicted to something. Is addiction always bad or is it just something we all do with some things worse than others and some addictions being more physically/chemically induced than others. Eventually it all seems to come down to chemicals in the brain making you feel good and that being something we seek.

That could be defined in terms of functionality and tested by withdrawal. I have a highly functional addiction to caffeine, but if you put me into withdrawal at the same time you put a heroin addict of similar duration into withdrawal, you'd see within a few hours which was the more harmful/destructive addiction. (I'd get cranky, but who the hell would notice?)

 

It's not all about neurotransmitters and endocrine responses; there's an addictive element to the behaviour patterns associated with various forms of addiction. Ask former smokers how long it took them to be able to stay at their desks and not go for their two-hourly walks, or reformed former smokers how comforting it was to light their first post-quitting cigarette. The associated behaviour doesn't do anything interesting to brain chemistry, but it's an aspect of the addiction all the same.

 

Complicated business, addiction.

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What I've not really worked out, and I'm not sure there is a clear line anyway, is the difference between a destructive abuse where you harm yourself and those around you and 'just' being addicted to something.

the simple answer:

If you physically/ emotionally abuse others when you are drunk/ high, it's destructive abuse.

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Destructive abuse =!= addiction.

 

That sort of violent response can happen the first time someone tries a new substance just as much as it can for a long-term addict.

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OK, word it differently.

 

I don't think there is a clear line to what is 'destructive' and what is not. It's the situation.

 

And as Llees is pointing out there is so much more complexity to it. When you say 'The associated behavior doesn't do anything interesting to brain chemistry' surely it must do something though? There is a pleasure in doing something or a degree of discomfort in not doing something.?

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What I've not really worked out, and I'm not sure there is a clear line anyway, is the difference between a destructive abuse where you harm yourself and those around you and 'just' being addicted to something.

Addiction is, by definition, harmful. The subject has lost control and is unable to make rational decisions to continue a particular behaviour. Whether it's the transition from pleasure-seeking to pain avoidance (as in heroin addiction) or a move to compulsion (cocaine addiction, amorous actions), the addict no longer has control, be it for psychological, physiological or a combination of both.

 

Your comments and those of others on this thread show no knowledge of addiction. That in itself isn't bad; filling holes in knowledge is good. Arguing with the person who's actually providing the answer is another matter. I have some first-hand experience with a few forms of addiction. Dr. Lees has not only a rather extensive academic knowledge of the matter, she works in an area in which she sees this and has tried to explain to others here. Reading your comments is more or less like reading a treatise on the æsthetics of colour matching in graphic design written by a blind man.

 

woof.

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And I'm finding it very interesting reading what she's saying.

 

I've certainly not been arguing with Dr Lees. And I'm not arguing it's a bad thing. I'm just arguing that more understanding is required and the blanket description of people as loosers is not right. Something you are doing as well I think by saying read what Dr Lees is saying and understand the area better.

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All this Dr Lees is going to my head. Can we bring it back to Llees please?

 

I think BD's overstating a bit: addiction can easily be functional and isn't necessarily harmful. To make it even more complex, think of the ways that certain addictive behaviours can be sated through highly functional activities. A stunt double who gets highly addictive adrenaline rushes from doing dangerous things is likely to be a more accomplished, more hireable stuntperson than one who can do the same sort of thing but who isn't abandoned to the moment.

 

What if you formulated the question about functionality like this: what happens when you ask the alleged addict to delay doing whatever it is that is allegedly addictive?

 

A heroin addict is likely to go into painful withdrawal; less physiologically damaging addictions will have a less damaging effect. What happens for nonphysical addictions? Someone with a sex addiction is going to become quite unlikely to be able to talk to you, because they're so deep in their own thoughts through trying to control the urge by thinking of past encounters. What does that even mean?

 

I'll be gone for hours now. It might be interesting to think about.

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I didn't see Pas as arguing with the great Dr. llees, either. good grief! I need a drink. ;)

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The shrink made it sound like Scotch Calvinist preordination. Do you agree that an addict can't change his spots?

As the nearest thing you have on here to a Scottish Calvinist (although never baptised, I was brought up in that manner), I would have to agree entirely with llees.

But we knew that already.

 

I think people can have a predisposition to develop an addiction, but that the predisposition isn't an inevitability: they may or may not actually develop one depending on a variety of social or other factors.

Indeed.

Now I can be a pretty hedonistic person and it's true that I have been called Chaos Woman more than once *cough* but an addict? Hmmm.

However, I do know that if I'd been in Studio 54 in the 1970s, I'd be partying as hard as a hard-partying thing.

But I'm not and I don't. Well, mostly.

Even gave up smoking 11 years ago and don't miss it one bit.

Hence, I'm considered pretty organised, what with being a project manager and all that. But it is certainly because I'm making myself be so, rather than it being my "natural" trait. Which if you ever see the kitchen after I've been cooking will be obvious.

 

But where is the boundary? Is a person who goes out three times a week with friends and drinks four pints each time physically addicted to holding an alcoholic drink, or is s/he an alcoholic who needs the booze to function and ups the blood alcohol level every second day?

Remember that Munich shrinks like to chuck out the alky label very quickly. It is easier for them. Not one name fits all.

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Remember that Munich shrinks like to chuck out the alky label very quickly. It is easier for them. Not one name fits all.

That is why our scientist friends have lots of little classification schemes and hierachies for addicts and a healthy business developing new ones. There are lots of differentl names for different addictions and their subsets, and just because there is not one currently to fit your oh so personal set of circumstances, doesn't mean that one can't be swiftly invented in response to the symptoms you display. B)

 

I personally find it very interesting how the individual with a propesity towards addictive behavior masks this by a controlling dispostion both within the addictive enviroment itself (e.g. just one more drink, go on be socialble) or more broadly in life in general (.eg. always have to seize control of a situation, make their mark upon it, impress upon others their superiority / ´knowledgeability). Cos if the mask slips in either case and they don't receive the validation and adoration of their peers - boy do they know they are in trouble.

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Which one? IMHO one should have one for every forseeable occasion. :lol:

 

Who wants to deal with other peoples' grim realities?

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I spoke to a shrink last week who told me that people who are addicts were destined to succumb to their addiction, that becoming an addict is inevitable. That if it isn't one addiction (smoking, drugs, alcohol) it will be another (sex, theft, putting rubber bands around your wrist).

He equates alcoholism with putting rubber bands round your wrist...?!

 

 

The shrink made it sound like Scotch Calvinist preordination.

It's probably in the shrink's interests to make you think that. If he's already got you wondering what your other addiction might be, he must be a great businessman... ;)

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Not to interrupt Kommentarlos and Katrina here, but

 

What about non-classical addictions? I'm always surprised when I find out people I know have, for example, eating disorders. I mean beyond the generally eating a bit too much but the binge purge cycles or extreme diet cycles.

 

These tend to be people without the obvious standard addictions (alcohol or smoking) but not always. (Just by looking around who I know). Anyway, thinking of addictive personalities made the correlation in my head. Just one other way of dealing with modern life?

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Just one other way of controlling dealing with modern life?

Sadly, you just can't aways take your ball home with you if you don't like who is on the team.

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