Re: Addiction

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 12:14:05 MST

>From: "Dickey, Michael F" <>

>Do the genes that create a propensity for alchoholism also enable
>your brain, subconcioussly of course, to A) recognize an
>alchoholic beverage B)reach a hand out and grasp it C) bring it
>toward your mouth D)swallow it? Or, at some point in time, are you
>concioussly aware of these things going on. Even being an
>alchoholic, even being born with the genetic predisposition to
>alchoholism (which is more a genetic predisposition to addictive
>behavior) you can still CHOOSE to not drink, its as simple as
>that. Can a person with MS CHOOSE not to have MS? I dont think

Alcoholism is not a genetic predisposition to addictive behavior,
it is a genetic predisposition to a substance. Once addicted to a
substance it is not easy to quit, but I agree it is essential.

Both alcoholism and MS are genetic in basis. You cannot become an
alcoholic without the requisite genetics.

Some people cannot touch alcohol without getting ill, an alcoholic
can drink sufficient quantities to kill themselves without getting

>Thats great, fascinating and interesting, and would apply if we
>were rats. But we are not, we are people, people who are aware of
>thier actions and thier choices, people who have free will. Rats,
>when in stressed confined situations can resort to cannibalism.
>Does that mean people will too? Primates exhibit what is known as
>the 'Elevator effect' when in stressed confined conditions. They
>are all calm and polite to one another, which, surprisingly
>enough, is how human's behave as well. Just cause a Rat does
>something, does not mean a person will.

Alcoholism is not simply about behavior, and the biochemical
pathways first established in rat studies have been confirmed in

>There is also considerable evidence that if someone, no matter how
>addicted to something, chooses to stop doing it, he (or she) can.
>That evidence being the multitude of people who have stopped doing
>something they are addicted to doing by just deciding that they no
>longer want to do it. We can, after all 'decide' to stop eating.

This is incorrect.

Any medical professional can tell you drug addicts (including
alcohol) can and do die going cold turkey.

The issue is considerably more complex.

>IMHO that is...

I'm dealing in facts, not opinions.


Extropy Institute,
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