Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
32k Members
3197167 tn?1348972206

Do we addicts have a disease? For real? How do we know that?

Whether it's opiates, cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamines, nicotine, gambling, food, or any other possible addiction whether behavioral or substance originated...this video CONVINCED me addiction is a brain disease.  I have already been doing extensive research to better understand myself , other addicts in my life and addiction in general, but this video???  It's the bomb diggity, guys!  I mean it......it made me laugh, cry, understand things I have ALWAYS questioned.

How do we KNOW it's a disease?  Are we a dependent abuser/user or truly an addict?  Why do we have cravings?
What makes the cravings intensify and drive us crazy (like for me the past few weeks?)  Really?  For Real?
Why do our personalities and interests change?  Why do we do things we would never find ourselves EVER doing if it wasn't for the addiction? Behaviors and things considered "morally wrong"?....are we bad people?

I have two addicts in my family that I love with all my heart and soul.  I helped them both A LOT when I was newly clean....almost too much...risking my own recovery by wearing myself out.  But you know what, they both CONVINCED me they wanted their children back....and they were gonna stay clean when they got out of jail/prison THIS time.  One is back in jail being held by the feds....the other is MIA and out using again and making no contact with our family or his children.  I was really trippin about this....and I'M A DRUG ADDICT MYSELF, guys!!  But I allowed myself to develop "an attitude" and it's been creating TONS of stress.  I love them SO MUCH....and after I watched this video, I balled my eyes out.....and I told my husband..."Honey, I can't believe it....I understand them NOW"  You see, they are both methamphetamine addicts, one has been since she was 12 yr old and she's 38 now!
I thought I understood A LOT before......but now, guys?  You just gotta find an hr in your life to watch this.  

It is a long video, yes.  About 1:12:38 running time.  But I promise, it will be the best hour you could spend if you have an interest in addiction.  There is an introductory speaker at the beginning because the keynote speaker is at a seminar of some kind.  I was GLUED to it.  I learned SO MUCH.  This information has just been published in the last 3 to 5 yrs so some treatment centers and outpatient facilities are most likely using it.  But what about all of us that don't know about it?  Every single person, addict, non-addict, wife, husband, parent, that loves an addict or IS an addict HAS to watch this.  I've seen clips of this guy's videos before...but not THIS ONE!!!

I feel transformed after watching it....like an enlightenment.  Blessed me BIG TIME.  Don't let the title throw you.....it's about addiction being provable as a disease.....it starts off a tad slow....but watch it ALL.....please.  I'm sending the link to every person I know.  Some, maybe most, may not carve out the hr of time to watch it.....but at least I passed it on.  Right?  Can't control others....only me, myself and I.


It makes me appreciate every struggling, suffering, addict ALL THE MORE.

God bless you all, each and everyone of you~
50 Responses
4522800 tn?1470329434
Connie Lee we are on the same wave today. I just asked a question too. Regrading what you said in my Journal. I will say we do think alike..lol
1970885 tn?1435864028
I used to poo poo the idea of addiction being a disease. Cancer is a disease. You can't "quit" cancer, but you can quit putting pills in your mouth or a needle in your arm. But as the years passed I found that, in fact, I couldn't quit. At best I could do without for a time, but eventually and predictably I'd start again. One day I watched my wife flush a new script of Vics...Her tooth pain had stopped so she really didn't need them anymore. I almost puked. That's when I understood. My brain is wired differently. My addict's brain. A disease? I think so. My brain isn't normal. What else do you call it?
4522800 tn?1470329434
Ok I just found out that this is the Video that I have been talking about since Sept. It is so so so good and this video was what got me going on learning all I can about this Disease. If you guys can see it all the way though without having to order it and spend money, I would Highly Recommend it. It is really, really good and you can get some insite on how this disease works and what transmitter are affected by substances. He also has a drug chart that shows all the drugs that affect the brain and that are very addicting. I know there are a few on here that has seen it..It is a Must....!!!
Thank You Connie!!! You are my Rock Star.
495284 tn?1333897642
I seriously cant look at it as a disease in my head as it will allow room for a pity party for me and i dont need to open up any new avenues.
3197167 tn?1348972206
First, I wanted to share...that this video is NOT the one that uses the landscape of Utah to help explain our brains and addiction.  It was totally new information for me.  It explains cravings, WHY, scientific proof, hard facts that this recovering addict dr. spent years researching to HELP all other addicts in the world.  He is a recovering addict, he was in the military, he was a flight surgeon in the Navy, he went to prison....and so began his journey into understanding and proving the whole "disease" concept of addiction.

If I was diagnosed with kidney disease, or diabetes, or Hep C, or cancer...I'm just one of those people that would learn everything... ALL points of view...to assist me in living with my diagnosis.

Even tho I AM a recovering drug addict.  I STILL did not understand how an addict could go use the day before a huge, very important court date...or a big event like "getting your children back" when staying clean meant EVERYTHING in order for certain things to happen.

To KNOW....really KNOW what my brain is doing.....what causes the cravings to be there regardless of "time in".....helps me to put in place, find the tools, live the life that can keep the very stress hormones down that CAUSE cravings.  The fact that an addicts frontal lobe of the brain "actually lights up" on an MRI when drugs are introduced.....and WHY.....well, it teaches me to be AWARE, feel EQUIPPED, have the correct weapons in my arsenal to fight the disease that I have.  I would do the same thing if I had kidney disease.

I didn't figure many would actually take an hour out of their lives to watch this.....because so many of us think we already know all we need to know...or simply have no interest in understanding the brain of an addict.
But.....it transformed me to learn this.....it helped my heart....it created new understanding within me.  It helped me understand forum members who don't hang around anymore because the constant talk and reminders of drugs can be a trigger for them.  I didn't understand THAT before either.

What can I say?  Nothing I haven't already said.  It's there if you are one that would like to understand what makes addicts different...medically.
495284 tn?1333897642
There will come a time when i will watch this.  Let me explain where i am coming from and you will see one of the areas that i need to work on.....When my mom found out she had MS she gave up and used it as an excuse.  Her favorite saying was "I cant, i have MS".  It was total blackmail on my dad as he felt guilty.  Those 2 should of never been together to begin with and their marriage was always in shambles.  Alcohol and affairs is what i remember.  I saw the progression of her downward spiral going from walking to ending up in a wheelchair as she used her disease to get sympathy, and she got it.  Even her doctor didnt understand why she was in the condition she was.  Sooo, here i sit, afraid of history repeating itself.  
480448 tn?1426952138
The problem with this (and other mental illnesses) is that there really IS not any solid scientific proof of anything.  EVERYTHING, from causes, treatment modalities, predispositions are based entirely on theory.  Sure, those theories result from extensive scientific studies, but again, nothing is written in stone.

Just like with depression or anxiety disorders, doctors can look at brain scans and can SEE that they are different, but they cannot fully understand WHY.  They suspect that causes could be genetic, environmental, etc.  Nothing is "nailed down", which  makes it frustrating.

Anything involving the brain is largely a mystery.  Hopefully one day that will change.  While I accept the addiction as a disease concept, it is so hard for people to wrap their brains around, because there's nothing tangible to study.  You can see cancer under a microscope, you can't see addiction under one.

I think sarah has a good point too...and I have seen people use the disease angle as an excuse.  I've had many patients at the sub clinic that would excuse their bad behavior and choices because they "couldn't help it", they "have a disease".  While that's not untrue, it's a double edged sword because one of the symptoms of addiction is the maladaptive behavior that addicts display, so it IS part of the disease process, but also one must be accountable for their decisions and choices at the same time.  It's a valid concern.  

This is a good topic, and one that will always generate interest.
Avatar universal
Hi  I believe this is a disease and is incurable , however it can be arrested you don't have to live in active addiction the rooms of N/a teach this give them a try and it will open your eyes everybody here should give N/A a try...............Gnarly........................
1235186 tn?1549261219
was the brain already diseased? or once the drugs were used and abused it caused the diseased brain?
3197167 tn?1348972206
Watching the video will change your understanding, NG~

It's precisely for ALL the reasons you mentioned above that this doctor chose to devote his life to it.  It's new thinking....new discoveries...

It doesn't have to be a mystery~
4522800 tn?1470329434
OK, Thank You Connie, I thought you already had that one I am talking about. I will check this one out. This info really enlightens me alot. Also I do understand what Sarah is saying because my Mom and her Cancer. I can make a Choice to get better. There is nothing she can change to make it go away. But she is a very strong lady about this all and I highly look up to her and her strength through this all. Even the staff is amazed how she is.
Avatar universal
My research has opened my eyes to the disease part if addiction. I do not like the diabetes comparison, I think of it more like cancer. It can be genetic, social, and it is acquired by the use of drugs or compulsive behavior. It can go into remission, but some lifestyle changed are required. I will watch the video, I have no fear of using it as an excuse. That's like saying I have cancer, I deserve to die faster and ruin the lives of my loved ones.. I also see how it could be a crutch, we all have our own needs and path. There is a time and place for everything under heaven. Thanks for sharing Connie.
Have an Answer?
Top Addiction Answerers
495284 tn?1333897642
City of Dominatrix, MN
Avatar universal
phoenix, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.