8 thoughts on ““Mom, You’re A Junkie!” Explaining the Disease of Addiction to Children

  • January 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease.

    But it’s not enough just to assert that addiction is a disease. People, kids included, need science-based education that describes what part of the brain is diseased and how that disease manifests behaviorally. Only by providing that information will people be willing to reconsider their preconceived notions about what addiction is and what it isn’t.

    People need to know that addiction is a disease of the Limbic “reward” system, which is not only involved in the experience of pleasure, but is also central to learning, decision-making and motivation. Addicts make terrible decisions because it is their brain’s decision-making apparatus that malfunctions.

    For a website that discusses the science of addiction in accessible English (what makes it a chronic, progressive disease; what parts of the brain malfunction; how that malfunction results in addict behaviors; how addicts’ decision-making is skewed by substance abuse; why some get addicted while others don’t; how treatment works; why relapse is common; what family and friends can do; etc.) please click on http://www.AddictScience.com.

    • February 13, 2013 at 5:39 am

      Hi Steve! Thanks so much for sharing the valuable information. I’m sure some readers will find it extremely helpful.

    • February 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Steve, thank you for your comment. I don’t think it’s fair for “experts” to appear on any platform and say this is what is is without the scientific explanation in concrete terms. It’s too easy.

      And it either turns people into followers or pisses people off. I think the goal should be to educate consumers scientifically and let them draw their conclusions that way rather than just giving them a label that is meaningless for many.

  • February 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I am sorry, but l dont consider it a disease. I disease is something you cannot help. Being an addict (junkie) whatever ia something you started on your own. Now that it has gotten out of hand, then want start calling it a disease! Please that to me is a load of bunk!

    • February 13, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Hi Donna, thanks for chiming in with your thoughts.

      Thinking of addiction as a disease certainly still is a hot button topic. Some people think of it in terms of black and white.

      Some find more middle grounds, though. For example, Dr. Sack, quoted in the article, points out that the intital choice to take drugs or drink alcohol is a choice – as you’ve stated, too – but as the brain and body becomes addicted, it’s no longer a choice.

      I invite to you study some of the available research on addiction and disease, as well as check out the blogs and websites of the two addiction specialists quoted in the post.

      Again, thanks for your thoughts!

  • March 9, 2013 at 1:55 am

    The disease model of addiction is a bunch of garbage. The main argument against the disease model of course is spontaneous recovery. Sure we see spontaneous recovery with other illnesses, but we call that a miracle.

    With substance abuse however spontaneous recovery seems to really be the norm for most people in sobriety. Most modern studies put the spontaneous recovery rate at 50%-80% for alcoholics.

    For those of us that profit off of court ordered substance abuse clients that is good news however, as a large percentage of the population will stay addicted and we can keep our meager paying jobs.

    For stats citation and to read a peer reviewed case study either google spontaneous recovery rate or click this link: http://www.og-psykologen.dk/Litteratur-misbrug/03-08-15%20Spontan%20helbredelse%20fra%20alkoholproblemer-klingemann.pdf

  • March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Funny how addicts tend to be liars and manipulators and criminals and mob wives (how can you sleep at night??). It’s no coincidence: Addiction isn’t a disease. It’s a Big Lie! It’s just a great strategy to get your own way on things, and avoid being held responsible for your decisions.

    But there are other reasons that people drink and drug to excess. I know a guy who was systematically emasculated by a power hungry wife (she wanted him to leave but wouldn’t say so). But instead of leaving, he dealt with it by drinking too much. This lasted for years. He thought he was addicted to alcohol when really it was his way of dealing with the situation (also he might have been slightly gay). Eventually he left her and guess what? His desire to drink went away COMPLETELY. Go figure.

    • March 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      @ Addiction Myth – It sounds like what your friend was doing was something called self-medicating, which is what a lot of addicts deal with (and often “start out” with). Had he also been dealing with depression (I’m definitely not suggesting he was, I’m just saying if he was also depressed), then most likely he would have had what doctors refer to as a dual diagnosis, co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse.

      Congratulations to him for no longer drinking, and also getting away from a bad situation. That’s great!


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