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Alcoholism(10 posts)

AlcoholismAlex-in-Evanston
Dec 5, 2003 8:02 AM
Since the topic of addiction has been discussed here recently, I was hoping you folks could clear up something for me. Nicotine, cocaine, opiates, etc. will addict most users equally - i.e., you cannot smoke for ten years and remain unaddicted. There seems to be a linear relationship between quantity of use and depth of addiction. I assume this is also true for heroin, pain pills, coke.

Is alcohol different? It seems there are plenty of heavy drinkers who don't have a chemical addiction. It also seems there are plenty of people who advance quickly from light or social drinking to addiction.

Is there a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Is there a genetic predisposition to other addictions? Are there any other substances that behave like alcohol in this respect?

Alex
re: AlcoholismJon Billheimer
Dec 5, 2003 8:40 AM
I'm no expert, but here's what I've read and been told--plus my own experience with smoking. According to AADAC people and some recovering alcoholics there definitely is a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction. With respect to smoking, some of the literature describes an addiction continuuum from light to severe. In my own case the addiction was severe. I had the shakes, sweats, cravings, etc. for months and months. Others I've known who've quit have gotten away with minor symptoms for a couple of weeks and that was it. So I don't know if severity of addiction is always proportionate to use.
level of function? different withdrwal symptomsColnagoFE
Dec 5, 2003 8:46 AM
I drink probably way too much and often by most people's standards, however it has never presented a problem in respect to missing work or impacting my life negatively in any significant way. I enjoy the high it gives me so I keep doing it against my better judgement. Then there are others who can't seem to stop when they've had enough and it impacts their life negatively. After drinking for long enough there are real physical symptoms to quitting--you can even die. The high you get from nicotine or caffeine is not enough to impact your day-to-day life so these addictions--while real--are probably not as much of a concern to most as some of the others. Opiates are another story. Once addicted, you have very real and painful physical symptoms assiciated with quitting them. We used to think cocaine wasn't addictive, but it certainly is in a very differnt way from opiates. There is no real physical symptoms associated with withdrawal, but the psychological addiction is fierce and has bankrupted many a person both literally and spiritually.
I drink like a damn fish, but if youOldEdScott
Dec 5, 2003 8:58 AM
give me the AA test, I don't even say 'yes' to one question. Even in my most secret inner heart. I have close friends who drink (or used to drink) very little, but answer yes to most of them. They're in AA now.

I think there may be some subtle distinction betweem 'alcoholism' and 'addiction to alcohol.' Could be wrong on that, but it feels that way. I DO know that it's AA dogma that the amount you drink is not a determinant of alcoholism. It's whether you're powerless over alcohol. I guess the definition of 'powerless' is key there.
So answer me this:Spoke Wrench
Dec 6, 2003 8:47 AM
You seem to know quite a bit about AA. If you don't say yes to even one of the 20 questions, how'd the subject ever come up?
quantity, denial, and addictionSpoiler
Dec 5, 2003 8:52 AM
Interestingly, in many advanced cases of alcoholism, the amount of alcohol needed to get drunk actually decreases as the abuse increases. I think it is related to the liver damage. This can be especially evil when the user doesn't realize this. They consume the same amount, without knowing they are drastically closer to alcohol poisoning.

The denial factor is pretty evil also. Alcoholics refuse to admit they're addicted. Many of them truly beleive they aren't sick.
Can you imaging a person sticking their face in a fire for a full minute and still believeing they aren't getting burnt?

Can you imagine that same person being convinced that he can continue to leave his burning flesh in the fire without sustaining further damage? Something in the person's "hard-wiring" prevents him from seeing the connection. The person doesn't believe the fire is causing the damage.

Even if the person gets help, and is able to pull their face from the fire, they will have scarred and charred flesh. They must live their lives knowing that if they get near another fire, their own minds will compell them to stick their flesh into the fire again.

It's worse with booze because the alcoholic see's other people (casual drinkers) sticking their face in the fire without sustaining any damage.
addiction fluctuationsPmbH
Dec 5, 2003 10:08 AM
so I smoked off-and-on for 10 years.. there were times when I felt HOOKED, to the point I would steal cigaretts or wander around looking for someone to bum a smoke from. These times were very infrequent. For the most part, I could take-it-or-leave-it when it came to smoking. Out of the 10 years, I probably only smoked for 4 of them...

Anyhow, my opinion is this: Other factors contributed to my "addiction" level... Other things happening in my life determined how addicted I was feeling. In times of high-stress, I HAD to smoke. When things were alright, I would quit for years on-end.

Maybe the same goes for alcohol?
definatelyColnagoFE
Dec 5, 2003 10:36 AM
If I've had a crappy day at work there's nothing better to kick those blues than taking an extra shot or two of hootch.
As Homer said . . . . .Turtleherder
Dec 5, 2003 11:25 AM
"To alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of lifes problems."
Homer the great beer philosopherColnagoFE
Dec 5, 2003 11:44 AM
Public Service Announcement: The following is a public service announcement: beer can cause liver damage and cancer of the rectum.
Homer: mmm beer

Homer's liver when Homer may have to live without beer. Liver(weakly):"yea"

(At the redneck bar):
Homer: Do you have any Duff?
Bartender: Sorry, we only have Fudd.
Homer: Fudd? Isn't that the beer they took off the market when all those hillbillies went blind?

Homer: "Son, a woman is like a refrigerator, they're about 6 feet tall, they make ice... Actually a woman is more like a beer, they look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one, but you can't stop with one, you've gotta have another woman...'

Insurance Adjustor: This place Moe's you were coming from, this is a buisness of some sort?
Homer's Brain: Don't say you were at a bar.
Homer: It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
Homer's Brain: He He, I'd of never thought of that.

Homer: But every time I learn something new, it pushes out something old! Remember that time I took a home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?
Marge: That's because you were drunk!
Homer: And how!

Homer: Okay, brain. You don't like me, and I don't like you, but let's get through this thing and then I can continue killing you with beer.

The leader's brothers: Hello Homer. Would you like to come to a video about how the leader will take us to the planet Blisstonia
Homer: will there be beer?
The leader's brothers: What would you rather have: beer or eternal happiness?
Homer: What kind of beer?

Homer: I've figured out an alternative to giving up my beer. Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats.

Homer: Now, son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddys, and kids with fake IDs.