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Old 07-21-2009, 02:44 PM   #76
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Well, actually, there are different views on the subject. The medical profession is by no means united. While some doctors think that alcoholism meets the characteristics of a disease, others disagree and view it as simply a bad habit.

I can accept that AA benefits some individuals, but many other alcohol abusers successfully give up without AA, and some are put off by the cult like aspects.
Well most medical texts in the western world will classify it as a disease, and the last poll that I saw of medical professionals was like 88% believed it was a disease, so the dissent is pretty small. I think since the 70's seeing the links showing that alcoholism is hereditary, even showing up in offspring that were never in contact with their biological family did a lot for classifying it as a disease.

And I agree AA can be cultish, but it's not the only program out there, I've met very few that have quit on their own without some kind of program or medication.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:53 PM   #77
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Actually I know for sure that doctors regard anxiety and stress to be symptoms of a depression. Especially anxiety, and stress easily follows.

Um, 'treating' anxiety with alcohol IS abuse of the substance. The right way to cure anxiety or the depression it stems from is with therapy and medicine.

And yeah, I'm serious.
It's not quite that simple. Depression and anxiety are two separate disorders that positively correlate, but one is not a "symptom" of the other. They do share some common symptoms, but one doesn't necessarily have to have anxiety symptoms to be diagnosed with depression, or vice-versa. It's very common to suffer from one disorder without having the other disorder, or symptoms of the other.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:53 PM   #78
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Actually I know for sure that doctors regard anxiety and stress to be symptoms of a depression. Especially anxiety, and stress easily follows.
I think you're misunderstanding me. My point is that anxiety and stress are not automatically linked to depression. I can stress about my job without being depressed. I can have certain social anxieties without having to have depression.

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Um, 'treating' anxiety with alcohol IS abuse of the substance. The right way to cure anxiety or the depression it stems from is with therapy and medicine.
Well once again I think we would have to define the parameters here, if someone has social anxieties and they have a glass of wine to take off the edge, I wouldn't consider it abuse.

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And yeah, I'm serious.
Well then I'm sorry you misunderstood me.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:00 PM   #79
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Well, actually, there are different views on the subject. The medical profession is by no means united. While some doctors think that alcoholism meets the characteristics of a disease, others disagree and view it as simply a bad habit.

I can accept that AA benefits some individuals, but many other alcohol abusers successfully give up without AA, and some are put off by the cult like aspects.
Exactly.

AA and recovery in general is up to the individual. Like some other's have said, AA isn't the only program. You can be in AA but you're mentally not ready to give it up yet. Same with NA or any other recovery program, it's not the program itself, it's the individual and their desire to get clean/sober. Some people can quit cold turkey because they're done and sick of feeling like shit. Others can't quit because they don't want to give it up. Having been to AA meetings with friends, it's not somewhere I'd feel comfortable but if it helps, that's what matters.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:08 PM   #80
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It's not quite that simple. Depression and anxiety are two separate disorders that positively correlate, but one is not a "symptom" of the other. They do share some common symptoms, but one doesn't necessarily have to have anxiety symptoms to be diagnosed with depression, or vice-versa. It's very common to suffer from one disorder without having the other disorder, or symptoms of the other.
Very true. And often, people will be treated for the wrong one because there is significant overlap.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:55 PM   #81
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Very true. And often, people will be treated for the wrong one because there is significant overlap.
Yup. Significant overlap to the extent that if you're studying one of them, very often you have to measure both so that you can partial out the one you're not studying, to be sure that the effect you're looking for is due to the one you're studying and not the other.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:00 PM   #82
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Are you saying that alcohol isn't often used to reduce anxiety, worries and stress? And these aren't all symptoms of depression?

And stop acting like a cock, please.
I'd be more sympathetic to your feeling condescended to by how he worded that, except that responding with name-calling only makes the interaction worse.
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If you were an addict and there was a cure, then you would be able to return to normal social drinking...and that's not the case. This is why someone who is 30 years sober is still considered an alcoholic.
How would you locate people with eating disorders in this portrait? Because a lot of eating disorder therapy groups/support programs are based on 12 Step, too--which makes sense, I think most people who've lived with an anorexic or bulimic would agree there's a glaringly obvious addictive component to it--yet, you cannot go "cold turkey" on food, either in the sense of consuming it or in the sense of regulating your intake of it; both activities are essential.
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I know that one of the basic tenants of 12-step programs is that you turn yourself over to a higher power, which could be problematic for some atheists/agnostics. I suppose some could also view it as not taking personal responsibility (not that I agree with the latter, just putting it out there).
The 'higher power' thing is basically just a conceptual device meant to help people come to terms with the reality that the addiction (or more correctly, the impulses, rationalizations, and other psychological processes sustaining it) has effectively been controlling them rather than the other way around, isn't it? It's not, as I understand it, some kind of stealth way to inflict religion on them or something, and AA doesn't actually give a crap if you Come To See Yourself As A Theist or not.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:26 PM   #83
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The 'higher power' thing is basically just a conceptual device meant to help people come to terms with the reality that the addiction (or more correctly, the impulses, rationalizations, and other psychological processes sustaining it) has effectively been controlling them rather than the other way around, isn't it? It's not, as I understand it, some kind of stealth way to inflict religion on them or something, and AA doesn't actually give a crap if you Come To See Yourself As A Theist or not.
I didn't mean to imply that they have a super-sekrit religious agenda. Just that from my very basic understanding of 12-step programs, one is being asked to surrender to - well - a higher power, and that pretty much 1) demands acknowledgment that a higher power exists; and 2) in a way (it could be argued) it removes complete responsibility for recovery from the addict themselves, and places it at least partially on the higher power to help them through it.

All that said, I just found this quotation about how an atheist deals with the higher power aspect of NA:

"As I have matured in the program, and learned to think for myself, I have examined the principles upon which I base my life. In doing this, I found out that I do not believe in any kind of God, and that my Higher Power is the power of the program. Today I am an atheist. I still concentrate on my own recovery, because if I am well, then I can be of value to others, but if I am sick, then I am of no use to anyone, not even myself.

"Being an atheist does not stop me from working the program. The only thing I do not do, of course, is pray. The main thing is that I do what is possible with what I have got. No one can do more."


And another:

"Some input received from a member of the fellowship during the development process pointed out that the committee's efforts were still falling short in one area. There was no material to address belief in a higher power that wasn't a supernatural deity.... In response, the committee included more discussion about non-supernatural higher powers such as the spiritual principles of the program, the NA group, etc."

Atheism in the Twelve Step Movement

So, it's as you alluded to, I guess whatever works for each individual and how they are comfortable conceptualizing it for themselves that is the important thing.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:01 PM   #84
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I think you're misunderstanding me. My point is that anxiety and stress are not automatically linked to depression. I can stress about my job without being depressed. I can have certain social anxieties without having to have depression.
All true, but just like having fungus in your mouth isn't necessarily linked to aids, it is still a symptom of aids. Same with anxiety, some types of depression are accompanied by anxiety. Look here for instance:

Anxiety Symptoms Complicate Depression Treatment -- Bender 43 (7): 38 -- Psychiatr News
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:14 PM   #85
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All that said, I just found this quotation about how an atheist deals with the higher power aspect of NA:
Interesting, that first quote sounds a lot like what a housemate of mine back in grad school who was in AA at the time (and whom I guess I'd describe as an atheist-leaning agnostic) said about it. I dunno, it just made sense to me, why this way of approaching it would work--which, after all, is the whole point, right?--for many people. That by externalizing the problem in a sense, you open up a kind of conceptual space that allows you to begin gradually extricating yourself from a tangle of f*ed up thought processes that you're pretty much drowning in right now. And from seeing what this guy was like when he was drinking (and some others with various addictive problems I've known, as well), I feel like I've seen how much damage that whole ongoing delusion of "I can quit anytime, in fact, I'll quit tomorrow!" can do. Sure, in an absolute sense you CAN quit tomorrow and I know some people actually successfully do that, great for them, but for so many others, that thought is really more a way of giving yourself permission to drink/shoot up/binge/whatever today, and worse, leads to overwhelming shame when you unsurprisingly fail at the 'quit tomorrow' part too, which only heightens the tendency to keep doing it.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are multiple tried-and-true approaches to quitting, and if someone can't reconcile themselves to the 12 Step/'Higher Power' framework, then by all means choose another one...it just strikes me as unwarranted and maybe a bit sadistic too, when people ridicule an approach that's done so much good for so many others and their families (I know you personally weren't doing that, VP) just because they personally dislike some aspect of the conceptual framework it uses. It's helped so many to stop drinking, doing drugs, etc.--what more 'taking responsibility' could you possibly reasonably want from them? In a sense, almost any formal therapy program, and probably quite a few 'self-prescribed' ones too, are going to involve some amount of conceptualizing about yourself and the dimensions of your predicament which might be viewed from another perspective as conceits, inaccurate narratives of reality.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:17 PM   #86
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How would you locate people with eating disorders in this portrait? Because a lot of eating disorder therapy groups/support programs are based on 12 Step, too--which makes sense, I think most people who've lived with an anorexic or bulimic would agree there's a glaringly obvious addictive component to it--yet, you cannot go "cold turkey" on food, either in the sense of consuming it or in the sense of regulating your intake of it; both activities are essential.
From my understanding the mechanisms are different. Eating disorders are more linked to mental issues, whereas alcoholism is a physical addiction that can be passed on, from what I've read so far eating disorders cannot be passed on. The treatment may be similar and there may be an addictive component to it, but I don't think they are as linked as some may expect.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:20 PM   #87
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some types of depression are accompanied by anxiety.
And this is exactly the point I was trying to make, some being the key word. That's all.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:29 PM   #88
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Cock?
Will someone please make this their sig?

It just begs for it.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:26 PM   #89
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As a child of an alcoholic who died because of her disease, I have to take issue with your remark. Alcoholics don't have control, or they wouldn't really be alcoholics, would they? No one as a child, seeing their parent passed out on the floor in a puddle of their own vomit and says, "Gee, I want to grow up to be like that." There is such a thing as an addictive personality...some people have it, some people don't. Alcohol is a drug, just like meth, cocaine, etc, with addictive qualities for people who are easily seduced. Sure, it's very seductive to those who already have issues, like depression, but it's very possible for someone like Adam, or any other fucking rockstar/musician, to have an issue with it and become an alcoholic.

Don't write shit off because YOU don't believe in it, it's real. When you watch it kill someone you love, it becomes very real.
My step dad was an alcoholic. He would wake up in the morning and his hands would shake, uncontrollably until he downed a couple of beers. Then, he was "normal."
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:59 PM   #90
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From my understanding the mechanisms are different. Eating disorders are more linked to mental issues, whereas alcoholism is a physical addiction that can be passed on, from what I've read so far eating disorders cannot be passed on.
Eating Disorders and Genetics - Genetic Component to Eating Disorders
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•The lifetime risk for developing an eating disorder is 10 times greater for relatives of those who have eating disorders than for relatives of those who don't.
•The child of a parent with an eating disorder may have an eating disorder that is different from the parent's.
•Family and twin studies suggest that genetic factors account for more than half of the variance in the development of anorexia nervosa.
•Chromosome 14 has been linked to bulimia nervosa. One gene on this chromosome, the estrogen receptor beta gene, appears to be associated with both bulimia and anorexia.
•There appears to be a significant association between the 5HT(2a) receptor gene (a gene in the serotonin system) and anorexia. Other serotonin-related genes are under investigation.
•A specific gene has been linked to the development of anorexia nervosa, purging type.
•Linkage studies, done by examining blood relatives who have eating disorders to see if their genetic makeups have unexpected similarities, suggest that chromosome 10 may play a role in anorexia, bulimia, and possibly other eating disorders.
This is a tangent from the alcoholism topic, so I'm not inclined to bother with hunting down more properly scientific sources for those points, but there is quite a growing body of research in this area, and it's not at all controversial to suggest that genetic predispositions may play an important role in many eating disorder patients. Doesn't mean that any resulting neurochemical abnormalities are necessarily all that similar in nature, and anorexia and bulimia at least do seem 'culturally dependent' in the sense that growing up surrounded by idealized images of certain body types seems crucial somehow to the emergence of *those particular forms* of abnormal eating behavior as a medical phenomenon. But it simply isn't true that eating disorders don't run in families.

Is there really any such thing as an alcoholic (non-sober) who doesn't have "mental issues"?
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