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Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Nature of Drug Addiction (A Non-Disease Model)

I am becoming increasingly appalled by the vast number of individuals (most of whom oddly enough happen to be self proclaimed "addicts" themselves) who are convinced that addiction is a "chronic disease" on par with cancer or diabetes. More troubling, many of these individuals lack the critical reason or intelligence to conclude that drug use by "addicts" is a voluntary behavior and a willful choice. Addiction is not a disease. It is not a tumor, it is not a lesion, it is not an infection, it is not an allergy. How mindless can you be (I say this with all due respect).. Especially with zero empirical evidence to support this mythological notion, not to mention an overwhelming consensus by most pathologists and other seasoned scholars that addiction is neither a disease nor is addictive drug use an involuntary behavior. The very idea is metaphysical. The disease model, having been invented and propagated by a self-interested industry of pseudoscientific moralism & abuse masquerading as medical care, has done enormous damage to the lives of drug users and their families.

It is time the mental health industry stops pathologizing every human behavior which deviates from socially accepted norms, stops creating mythological "diseases" out of neurological processes and human desires that - social context aside - are completely normal and natural.

This myth of addiction as a disease is being perpetuated by many of the very same paternalistic powers who insist on dictating which substances individuals may and may not put into their own bodies - only in this case, the aforementioned paternalists are interested in building a medical industry as opposed to a criminal industry.

To those with a capacity for intelligence or reason (which seemingly, not many have); I strongly advise that you THINK and do your own RESEARCH rather than mindlessly accepting fiction and propaganda as fact.

I encourage everyone to take a look at my working essay on drug addiction. This is something I will refer to as a Thesis of sorts - it is a summary of my own interpretations and theories on the nature of drug addiction, which I have formulated with time, education, and experience. I will continue to revise and add to this piece over time, with new knowledge. It can be found here: Drug Addiction: A Working Thesis

I also encourage everyone to look into the works of Stanton Peele Ph.D. and Jeffrey Schaler Ph.D. - both experts in their field.

6 comments:

  1. http://www.helium.com/items/2295616-the-health-risks-associated-with-occasional-drug-use

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  2. Man, DM its like you have a window into my mind. I was once taken in by the disease hypothesis (it was never a theory), but after much personal research I came to conclude that whatever addiction is, and everyone seems to define it differently, it certainly isn't a disease. I'm sure you have heard of Thomas Szasz, have you read Ceremonial Chemistry?

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  3. As an opiate addict, I agree wholeheartedly. It has been wholly my choice to indulge - in fact one of my early memories of using was to treat a panic attack. Once I realized that it helped with my anxiety, I made a deal with the devil, so to say, in my head and though that if I could stop my incessant, debilitating panic attacks, I would be willing to bear the burden of addiction. I seem unique amongst my fellow addicts in that I consciously chose it all at once - their slide into addiction seems to be a series of compromises against their better judgement and the result is not the same. AT LEAST once a season I will sequester myself and cease using altogether until I no longer experience physical withdrawal symptoms (usually anywhere for 4 days to 2 weeks) to evaluate my anxiety, reduce my tolerance, and save some money if my work schedule allows it; if not I will simply split it into a series of "long-weekend sessions." I don't steal, I don't lie except in situations where lying is strictly necessary to avoid being fired, kicked out, etc., refuse to borrow money, and put my life ahead of my addiction in so far as financial burdens go. If I run out of money, I suck it up and go through withdrawals.
    I see other addicts in my town who even I look down upon and brand them as junkies because they violate the social contract and harm others because they're weak of will and can't accept the consequences and responsibilities of their actions.

    I know this sounds preachy and self-righteous but I'm living proof that it isn't a disease, it's a lack of willpower and a convenient excuse used by those who would've lied, stolen, fought, killed, etc. for money given any similar excuse.

    And I realize that I seem somewhat of a hypocrite in continuing to use, but I am in therapy right now to deal with my panic disorder/PTSD, have been prescribed a litany of medications for it which haven't worked before trying opiates, have denied benzos because the problem would be the exact same but legally justified by some perverse law and physically more destructive as the withdrawals of benzos can cause potentially lethal seizures, and if I were given the choice between continuing addiction and an end to my panic attacks I would take the latter in a heartbeat.

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    Replies
    1. If opiates are working so well for you why stop using them?

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  4. Ok, so addiction isn't a disease. So you say. I used to believe as much to be true. But after receiving information on the theory that addiction is a disease I question that belief. I seek only the ultimate truth of the matter and keep an open mind in search for my answer. Being biased one way or the other can only delude the truth that I am looking for. What made me question the 'addiction is a choice' theory is the choices that an addict makes. Why is it that some people can experiment with drugs of any type, like, it yet choose to stop in the interest of self preservation or quitting the drug for all the reasons that make drug addiction the nightmare that it is. Then on the flip side of the same coin, some people Will continue abusing drugs as they watch everything they have, all that they hold dear, friends and family slip from their life, Knowing that it is the drug abuse that is causing these life shattering events. but won't make the 'simple decision' to stop using drugs. Living in drug addiction isn't fun and carefree contrary to popular belief. It isn't an equal trade off. Some believe that when addicts get high they live in this carefree state of euphoria. It isn't like that at all. It's more like A miserable, cloudy, state of constant fear, stress and anxiety. Yet an addict is locked in a pattern of self destruction. It makes no sense. If addiction was just a matter of choice, the choice would be simple. In some people it just doesn't add up, something is off. At the same time though I have learned nothing to convince me that it is a disease. If there was some kind of evidence out there to help me understand what makes addiction a disease, I haven't seen it. Using drugs is a choice. That is common sense. But for reasons unknown that choice is missing in drug addicts, and that is widely documented. Our society is plagued with evidence of that.

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