Posts Tagged ‘definition of disease’

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Lets first define the word disease. According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary the word disease is defined as: a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.

OK. Then the dictionary gives types, examples and origins of diseases. You can look up other resources and other dictionary sites but overall the definition is pretty much the same.

I decided to write about this topic as it seems many people do think that drug addiction and alcoholism is a disease and there are others that do not. Most of society, yes the place where substances such as alcohol, Oxycontin (Oxycodone) and where most mind altering chemicals are produced, believes it’s a disease. Which is understandable. The blind leading the blind. Again, the same pharmaceutical companies that produce these drugs also have an alternative drug to help get off the initial one. For example, Suboxone, Methadone, Naloxone and Narcan for opiate users. Like walking into a store. You see cigarettes. Next to those cigarettes are an alternative vapor cigarette with a pamphlet on how to stop smoking. Makes sense right?

I could do some crazy research and find the Greek origin of the word disease and I can go into a concordance and look up the word disease, which will come up hundreds of times, and I could really get into a study of biblical proportions. But that’s another place and another time. Lets keep this simple.

There are hereditary diseases. There are viral diseases. There are bacterial diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases. Mental diseases. According to the dictionary a disease is a condition. There are hundreds of conditions a human can have. As a matter of fact, we, as humans, are coming up with new conditions every day. Almost like excuses. Reasons for why we act and do what we do. Yes, there are diseases that are legitimate. Actual diseases and conditions which are out of our control. Physical diseases. Immune deficiency. Infections, illnesses, diseases that are obvious and diseases which are contagious.

I am going to speak from experience. Experience from being an addict for 10 years and also experience from being around other addicts. I was in a rehabilitation center for a total of 10 months. I saw a lot and heard many stories, I have been to many NA and AA meetings and I have spoken to many counselors and therapists alike.

And I’m not talking about just a pill here and there. I’m talking 1000 mg of Oxycontin, an 8 ball of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, some benzos and God only knows what else, all in one days’ time. I’m not bragging, I’m just giving you an idea of where I was at, during my destructive path. I still attend meetings to this day. I say all this to paint a picture for you; so you understand that my ‘experience’ is sufficient enough to make judgment on this topic.

So plain and simply, do I think addiction is a disease? No, I do not. It may feel like one because there is a point where all self control is lost, but it is not a disease.

Here’s my explanation:

Addiction is not in the air. You can not catch it. It is not contagious. It is not a bacteria. It is not hereditary. It is not in our genes. It is not an inheritance passed down from a family member. Addiction is not in our blood. It is not a virus. It can not be injected into our bodies. Addiction does not leave rashes and boils on the skin. It is not an immune deficiency. There are no pills to become addiction free. There is not an antidote for an addiction.

Now is addiction a condition? It sure is. Is it a state of mind? Yes it is. Is it physical? No, however it does affect the body tremendously. Is addiction a spiritual problem? Yes. It is a three fold problem as the mind, body and soul are affected as a result of being addicted. There are multiple symptoms of an addiction however the drug or whatever you are addicted to is only a symptom of something greater. Our poison is not the main problem, it is a symptom of an underlying issue. Just as guns don’t kill people, we do, we pull the trigger. See ‘Drugs Subsidiary to the Underlying Issue’.

So if addiction is a condition and the word disease means having a condition, then how is it not a disease?

Here’s why. Addiction is the only condition in which we made a voluntary choice to have. It’s the only condition where we expected a euphoric reaction. Yes, we can choose to catch another disease but addiction spawned from an enjoyment. It took us away from pain. It took us away from the past, from stress, from anxiety and daily strife. I don’t think there is any other disease in which one would result in an enjoyment from and would catch it over and over. You may say addiction was not a choice to have yet we made a choice to use, right? We did not know which drug it was going to be. We did not know if it was even going to be a physical substance! Pornography. Lust. Gossip. Fashion. Work. Obsessive compulsive behaviors. Who knew? I smoked weed. I didn’t love it. I drank alcohol, I didn’t love that either. I sniffed a rail of Oxycodone, I fell in love immediately. For many reasons. It was the most euphoric experience I had ever had. Ever. See ‘Is Addiction a Choice?’

Addiction sets in shortly after multiple bad decisions. We find something that makes us feel really good so we continue to do it. Responsibilities and priorities go out the window. Our poison becomes number one and we will do just about anything to get that feeling as often possible. After time we make an attempt to stop and we can’t. It feels like a disease because we are stuck. We feel like we can’t get out. Our hope, our faith and everything we know and learned has been erased, a thing long gone in the past. This is why some may call addiction a disease. Our love for whatever we are addicted to overcomes us. We get into an autopilot mode. The only thing we think about is to feed it.

But there is hope. We do come back. We do fight and we do persevere. We do win. We do overcome. We do conquer. We can learn how to come out of the place we put ourselves in. The chains of addiction can be broken. We can get our self control back. We can renew our minds. Addiction is not a disease. Once and addict NOT always an addict. Once an alcoholic NOT always an alcoholic.

Telling someone that they have a disease because of a series of bad decisions is just dreadful. It destroys all hope for that person. It’s telling them not to take responsibility for the decisions they made. Where is the accountability? Are we just going to let them live this way? Life is unmanageable for this person. So let them continue? This is enabling in a whole new sense. Enabling destruction. We have the power to use and the power to destroy ourselves then we have the power to uplift and the power to help others.

We made a bad decision and we have to deal with the consequence. When we start making good decisions we can deal with the rewards. We reap what we sow. When we surround ourselves with like minded people, productive and strong people, we become like them. God has a purpose for each and every one of us. Set Him as your platform, your foundation, a Rock in which you stand and watch your world change and watch your purpose be revealed. Here’s ‘How to BecomeFree!’

Be Strong, Be Courageous.

Become Free… Become the Difference.

“He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Believe it!!!