Monday, May 08, 2006

Addiction, neither disease nor defect

Have you noticed that Rush Limbaugh's addiction is a character flaw or moral defect, while Patrick Kennedy's addiction is a disease or illness?

My own view: I don't follow either model. I don't think addiction is a disease, but I sure as hell don't believe it's a moral defect.

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Anonymous Jean-Claude said...

Addiction is certainly a dis-ease. It even has a desription in the DMS-IV.R. It has its own etiology and affects people in the same way. If not treated it leads to the physical addiction and eventual destruction and demoralization of the patient. Alcholism is also a "family dis-ease". It is called a "family dis-ease because it eventually affects ALL members of the alcoholic's family who are in constant turmoil due to the alcoholic's behavior. The family doesn't know what to do and do not understand the alcohlic's inability to stop drinking. It is then that some family members and of his/her friends, faced by their well intended inabilty to make the patient stop drinking, revert to calling the sick person many pejorative terms. Alcoholism is NOT a moral defect. Alcoholism is a disease that kills all aspects of the patient's life if not treated. Alcoholism is a disease that crosses all economic social settings. An unfortunate example is the Kennedy family who seems to be afflicted by alcoholism and the unfortunates on the streets due to alcoholism. It is equally destructive to both genders. It takes a lot of compassion and patience to really help an alcoholic.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Pip said...

Thanks for your informed and considered comment, jean-claude. I'm not sure that disease and dis-ease are quite the same thing. And I'm sorry that I'm ignorant about the DMS-IV.R. I'm also quite certain that although addiction is horrible, it doesn't affect all people the same way. However, I agree with you that addiction is a terrible thing, and not a moral defect, and causes havoc not only for the sufferer but in many cases for their friends and families. Thanks again for your comments.

8:50 AM  

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