Re: Addiction

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 15:25:39 MST

>From: "Dickey, Michael F" <>

>But, the primary question is, CAN a person DECIDE to quit, or do
>they have no control over their actions?

Later stage addicts do not appear to be able to quit.

>So a person who enjoys drinking a lot of alcohol, even though he
>has no genetic predisposition to 'alcoholism' is not an alcoholic?

The defining point of an alcoholic is that they cannot/will not

There are those hoping to reduce this to a definable medical test.

>I would guess that Alcoholism, at the least, can be
>psychologically addictive as well physically addictive. I guess
>it depends on how you define alcoholism. Which leads to my next
>question, how do you define alcoholism.

Most things that are physically addicting are psychologically
addicting as well.

In fact I know of no such case where this is not true.

>D) someone who has this particular genetic variation

This was the closest.

Alcoholism is a matter of degree.

>Can non-alcoholics also drink significant quantities that would
>kill other non-alcoholics?

Most people cannot ingest sufficient quantities without getting

>Or is that your definition of an alcoholic, someone who
>*can* drink a lot of alcohol and not die? (whatever that
>arbitrary amount is)


>Here we get back to what alcoholism is. Is it

>C)about behavior AND genetics?

As I indicated earlier, once someone is diagnosed as alcoholic,
they have a moral obligation to quit. The fact that it is a disease
does not excuse this.

>>"This is incorrect."

>What is incorrect, that we can decide to stop eating, or that we
>can decide to stop doing things that we are addicted to?

It is incorrect that all addicts can stop.

>Can an alcoholic choose to stop drinking alcohol of his on free

It is the refusal to stop that usually leads to a diagnosis of

>Conversely, can some unfortunate person afflicted with MS 'choose'
>to no longer be afflicted with MS?

I had three independant experts tell me I had MS and would never
walk again. I told them to take a flying leap, and through self
rehab I have completely recovered.


>that I agree to, the physiological mechanisms that contribute to
>addictions and the sociological and behavioral conditions that
>contribute to addictions are indeed very complex. But at the
>heart of the matter, people choose to do everything they do, and
>an alcoholic can choose to stop drinking (and many have, unless
>you define alcoholic as someone who can not choose to stop
>drinking) just as a heroin addict can choose to not use heroin or
>a cigarette smoker can choose to not smoke anymore.

As I said the inability to stop is a defining element.

>>>IMHO that is...

>>"I'm dealing in facts, not opinions."

>Sounded like a lot of opinions to me.

>"Alcoholism a genetic predisposition to a substance"

>"You cannot become an alcoholic without the requisite genetics"

>But in either case, I only added the 'IMHO' to encourage a
>peacefull exchange of ideas, and did not expect it to be used as
>a spring board for an argumentum ad hominem.

You'll have to point out the ad hominem, I don't see it.

There are numerous sites that contain the facts I've indicated.
Alcoholism is defined as a disease by the AMA as well as AA.

is a good start.


Extropy Institute,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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