Government Says You Can’t Overcome Addiction, Contrary to What Government Research Shows

Why does the National Institute on Drug Abuse contradict its own research?

(Page 2 of 2)

That’s not all. "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and Alcoholics Anonymous. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.” Wow. As the director of the research project at NIAAA, Mark Willenbring, notes, “These and other recent findings turn on its head much of what we thought we knew about alcoholism. As is so often true in medicine, researchers have studied the patients seen in hospitals and clinics most intensively. This can greatly skew understanding of a disorder,” especially in the case of alcoholism and addiction.

Actually, the NESARC results are not surprising, and are consistent with what others have found in alcoholism and addiction. I have been announcing them since the publication of my book, The Meaning of Addiction, in 1985. Willenbring notes the NESARC results are similar to those from another massive NIAAA study conducted ten years earlier, the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, as I pointed out in my review of the downsides of “Addiction as a Disease.”

But Willenbring himself was incapable of fully interpreting his results. In a workshop I gave in Minneapolis, where Willenbring now has his private practice,  when I announced that in fact drug addicts more readily give up their habits than alcoholics, he objected strenuously, saying that heroin addicts and others couldn’t give up drugs. As I told him then, he was dead wrong.

The study Willenbring supervised, NESARC, which also assessed drug addiction, tells us so. Looking at the point at which half the people who were ever dependent on a substance recovered, NESARC investigators found this was 26 years out for those who were ever dependent on cigarettes, 14 years for alcoholics, six years for marijuana addicts, and five years for those addicted to cocaine. As with alcohol, only a minority of drug addicts achieved recovery through treatment.

What about narcotics addicts? The NESARC research simply didn’t uncover enough heroin addicts to include in the survey to analyze. But a separate review of research that included narcotics addicts found similar results. Although these addicts had a longer half-life for their addictions than those addicted to other illicit drugs, they still often concluded their addictions and achieved recovery in less time than alcoholics and, certainly, cigarette addicts.

It turns out that Willenbring, an M.D., couldn’t escape the conventional notions of addiction he and American medicine are saddled with. For Willenbring, discovering the unimaginable—that most alcoholics recover over time without treatment and while continuing to drink—left him with something else he couldn’t imagine: drug addiction shows the same tendency to correct itself.

Why wouldn’t alcohol, cocaine, and narcotic addictions follow the same patterns as NESARC found to hold for alcoholics? After all, why should one substance addiction differ essentially from other substance addictions or, really, from all of human behavior? As I said in 1985 in The Meaning of Addiction: Compulsive Experience and Its Interpretation:

The conventional concept of addiction this book confronts—the one accepted not only by the media and popular audiences, but by researchers whose work does little to support it—derives more from magic than from science. The core of this concept is that an entire set of feelings and behaviors is the unique result of one biological process. No other scientific formulation attributes a complex human phenomenon to the nature of a particular stimulus: statements such as “He ate all the ice cream because it was so good” or “She watches so much television because it’s fun” are understood to call for a greater understanding of the actors’ motivations (except, ironically, as these activities are now considered analogous to narcotic addiction). Even reductionist theories of mental illness such as of depression and schizophrenia seek to account for a general state of mind, not specific behavior. Only compulsive consumption of narcotics and alcohol—conceived of as addictions (and now, other addictions that are seen to operate in the same way)—is believed to be the result of a spell that no effort of will can break.

That drug addiction, including its remission, is simply an extension of ordinary human behavior has actually been known for some time, as I noted in Love and Addiction in 1975. It had been discovered by Charles Winick, and announced in his 1962 paper for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Maturing Out of Narcotic Addiction,” in which he found that from two-thirds to three-quarters of addicts registered by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics had quit their addictions by their mid-thirties. Indeed, in a sense, Winick was moved to understand why the minority of heroin addicts did not recover. He surmised, based on his investigations of New York City street addicts, "The difference between those who mature out of addiction and those who do not may also mirror the difference between addicts who struggle to abandon addiction and may develop some insight, and those who decide that they are 'hooked,' make no effort to abandon addiction, and give in to what they regard as inevitable."

Thus, ironically, it is those who are most convinced by the “chronic brain disease” narrative who are least likely to overcome addiction! This paradox was contemplated by the distinguished addiction expert William White, who is often associated with the American “recovery movement” (read Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps). Analyzing 415 scientific reports of recovery, from the mid-19th century to the present, White was moved to contemplate the addiction-as-disease philosophy’s claims that addiction is a chronic—even, in AA’s view, a progressive—disease when, actually, “Recovery is not an aberration achieved by a small and morally enlightened minority of addicted people. If there is a natural developmental momentum within the course of these problems, it is toward remission and recovery.”

Nadine was facing a formidable set of foes when she decided to quit her addiction—the NIDA, Alan Leshner, Nora Volkow, Alcoholics Anonymous, neuroscience, what have you. But, it turns out, the forces of science were actually propelling her forward. And she did quit drinking—so far for six years. In White’s words: “The central problem is not the difficulty of making recovery possible—that potential clearly exists. It is instead the long time between problem onset and successful recovery stabilization.”

As I say in my new book with Ilse Thompson, Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The PERFECT Program.

By reinforcing the myth that addiction is uncontrollable and permanent, neuroscientific models make it harder to overcome the problem, just as the 12-step disease model has all along. Telling yourself that you are powerless over addiction is self-defeating; it limits your capacity to change and grow. Isn’t it better to start from the belief that you—or your spouse, or your child—can fully and finally break out of addictive habits by redirecting your life? It may not be quick and easy to accomplish, but it happens all the time. In this book I will show you how it happens and what it takes to do it.

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  • Irish||

    Tea Party and grass roots conservative groups outraising the Republican establishment.

    In other words, groups started by plumbers and electricians have used post-Citizen's United spending rules to outraise the establishment organizations that are mostly run by Karl Rove, corporations, and big businesses.

    I'm expecting progs to retract all their attacks on that decision and admit that it empowered grass roots activists and shifted power back to the people.

    You know, be honest for once.

  • anon||

    I'm expecting progs to retract all their attacks on that decision and admit that it empowered grass roots activists and shifted power back to the people.

    Ahahahahahahah hahahahaha
    haahahahahaaha

    Oh man, that was good.

  • kris713||

    what Patrick said I'm shocked that a mom able to get paid $5552 in four weeks on the internet. did you read this site link ..,.,..,.,.,., jobs80
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

  • ||

    I'm expecting progs to retract all their attacks on that decision and admit that it empowered grass roots activists and shifted power back to the people.

    Uh...wrong activists and people, Irish. Remember: only (stated) intentions matter, not results.

  • Irish||

    Uh...wrong activists and people, Irish. Remember: only (stated) intentions matter, not results.

    Sort of like how gun control advocates outspending grass roots organizations 7-1 with Bloomberg money lost and it was a catastrophe. It was a catastrophe even though 'the people' defeated a coercive billionaire which is what progressives pretend to want.

  • ||

    We can come up with examples of anti-Citizens United douchebags being hypocrites all day, Irish. I'd rather hear about your addiction to ether.

  • Agammamon||

    I thought it was phlogiston.

  • Agammamon||

    And I'm surprised the spell-checker knew that word.

  • lap83||

    You mean groups started by plumbers and electricians who have been paid by the Kochtopus.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    The Kochtopus controls everyone except those with pure intentions on the left.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    But, ASTROTURF!

  • ||

    "You know, be honest for once."

    At least you are not thinking that they have ever been honest in the past.

  • AdamJ||

    The article mentions that the Donkey party doesn't have this "problem" of warring factions. Which is exactly why it is not inevitable that they will remain in power permanently. Most Ameeicans are pissed at the establishment on both sides of the aisle, albeit for very different reasons. So if te Dems think they can just keep business as usual and be the permanent party of power, I think they are mistaken. The Republicans were taught that lesson in 2008 and again in 2012. Some of them actually learned the lesson too!

  • AdamJ||

    Unintentionally created a new country:
    Amee-ica. Either defines current crop of younger generation or is in reference to a country ruled by the sweet sounds of Pure Prairie League.

  • anon||

    Addiction can only be suspended while the Federal Government is there to help you. If the Government weren't helping you, you'd be addicted. God, it's like you teathuglican libtardians don't know anything.

  • Irish||

    Ironically, what had most kept Nadine from deciding to quit and staying quit—and what frightened her most—was what she had heard in rehab and what she had seen on television. She had a brain disease, everyone said. What did that mean? Was she incapable of quitting drinking, at least without joining an AA group or returning to rehab? Nadine couldn’t understand that.

    This is a big issue. I think when psychiatrists, therapists, and treatment groups focus so much on the fact that their patients are supposedly 'diseased' they remove from that person the idea that they have any personal initiative.

    This actually makes them more likely to behave badly or screw up their lives. There are a lot of people who will act badly if they can say "You can't be mad at me, I'm bi-polar" or "How can I quit, I'm an alcoholic."

  • anon||

    they remove from that person the idea that they have any personal initiative.

    Yes. It's actually one of their goals to make the person not feel bad or guilty for their own actions. Despite what "everyone" says, AA/rehab programs are SHIT. They basically tell you not to feel bad for anything you've ever done because it's not your fault. Just submit to a "higher power," aka big daddy Government.

  • ||

    Well, in AA the "higher power", while not stated in so many words, is really God. But yes, AA actively preaches that you are not in control of your drinking problem, and cannot control it on your own, which is why you must turn/submit to the "higher power".

    I think that's absurd, but it does seem to work for some people. But I'm sure it utterly fails for others who might do much better with a program that teaches that you can in fact control it.

    Penn & Teller did an interesting Bullshit! episode about it.

  • anon||

    Yeah, I vaguely remember that episode.

    I instantly enrage at the thought of 12-step programs. Especially when the state forces people to attend them for DUI's.

    I had a "driving after consuming while under 21" charge a long time ago; which of course meant that the State declared me an alcoholic, because who else would blow a .03 on their 20th birthday.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "I had a "driving after consuming while under 21" charge a long time ago; which of course meant that the State declared me an alcoholic, because who else would blow a .03 on their 20th birthday."

    The definition of an alcoholic that the State and other institutions come up with are ridiculous. The written tests have questions like, "do you drink when you're sad?", "do you drink to forget?", "do you have more than 4 drinks in one night? (Binge Drinking!)".

  • Irish||

    I think that's absurd, but it does seem to work for some people. But I'm sure it utterly fails for others who might do much better with a program that teaches that you can in fact control it.

    AA has virtually identical success rates to quitting cold turkey. Given that cold turkey is basically the most brutal method you can utilize, I have to imagine that a more reasonable treatment program would have much higher success rates.

  • ||

    AA is cold turkey, just with God stuffing and gravy. That's what their achievement chips are for: 10 days sober, 30 days sober, 6 months sober, 10 years sober. If they fuck up at all, they go back to a one-day sober chip.

    So that's not surprising at all.

  • MSimon||

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

    PTSD mostly. And the cure for PTSD? Varying amounts of time.

    i.e. you can quit easily when the pain goes away.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    " AA/rehab programs are SHIT. They basically tell you not to feel bad for anything you've ever done because it's not your fault. Just submit to a "higher power,"

    Sorry, but that's BS. The whole point of AA is for you to take responsibility by admitting to yourself and to someone else that you have a problem.
    The Higher Power thing is just a mental exercise to try to lift the weight off your shoulders, as alcoholics blame themselves for everything.

  • ||

    They want to create a culture of helplessness. Southpark nailed this pretty well: GIVE ME SEVEN MARTINIS!"

  • MSimon||

    If they focused in "they are in pain" they would do much better.

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

  • steedamike||

    I keep thinking of this term as I read certain Reason articles every day:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control

  • Snark Plissken||

    After Leshner came Nora Volkow, who doubled-down on everything Leshner claimed about, addiction, the brain disease when she replaced him as NIDA’s director. Volkow’s role at the ostensibly scientific NIDA was correctly termed by the New York Times to be “A General in the Drug War.”

    I'm familiar with Volkow. Her glib definition of addiction is as follows:

    Addicts and first-time users alike get the high that correlates with the dopamine wave. Only a minority of novices, however, will develop the compulsion to keep taking the drug at great personal cost, a behavior that defines addiction.

    Any behavior that is done at great personal cost, that's the definition of addiction. How's that for "science", eh? Also, it's all about dopamine.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So people are "addicted" to education, parenting, travel, and staying out of jail for not paying their taxes?

  • Snark Plissken||

    Of course behavior of personal cost is defined as behavior that isn't conducive to being successful in modern society. Also, something something something dopamine. She talks about how she's addicted to running, but it's okay because that's a healthy addiction, even though healthy addictions don't fit into her nebulous definition of addiction other than something something dopamine. Or do they?

    The important thing is, she's a mover and shaker in the politics of addiction so give her more money and prestige.

  • anon||

    Yeah, that's what I took away at first glance. "Wow, this lady is full of shit."

  • Irish||

    As someone who had problems with alcohol for a short period (I know, stereotypes!) I think the entire way they look at addiction is moronic. I didn't even quit drinking. I just decided it would be best if I cut back from what I was doing and only drank a few beers on the weekends.

    I was drinking at great personal cost, which she says defines addiction, and cut back without quitting. That's the sort of thing addiction experts assure me is impossible, but clearly it's not.

    I actually think I'd be more likely to fall off the wagon and start drinking excessively again if I didn't responsibly have a few beers with friends on weekends. After a certain point you'd start craving booze and would be more likely to binge.

  • anon||

    That's the sort of thing addiction experts assure me is impossible, but clearly it's not.

    IMPOSSIBRU!

    You must either snort a 1/4 oz of coke every day or do none at all. There's no such thing as partying occasionally.

  • lap83||

    I have known people who can't drink even one drink without it taking over their life. I think that kind of person is what the "addiction experts" are referring to.
    Not that I really think it's possible to be an expert on the subject.

    Bottom line, I think addiction is a very personal thing. The individual has to decide to what extent it is hurting them and what measures are required. For some people, they need to find new non-alcoholic friends and never go to bars, much less drink anything. For others, cutting back might just be enough.

  • anon||

    Bottom line, I think addiction is a very personal thing. The individual has to decide to what extent it is hurting them and what measures are required.

    Duh. Value is subjective.

    To which I'll add: I don't give a shit if you're addicted to crack or not.

  • Irish||

    I have known people who can't drink even one drink without it taking over their life.

    I agree. I just think that's a smaller percentage of people than the claim it is.

    Bottom line, I think addiction is a very personal thing. The individual has to decide to what extent it is hurting them and what measures are required.

    Also agree. The problem is these programs don't treat people as individuals. It's assumed that you can plug someone into a program and the program will help them. That implies that there isn't much difference between the individuals, which strikes me as incorrect.

    I think that for EXTREME addicts the current view of addiction is probably correct. Some people really can't have a single drink without falling off the wagon. The problem I have is that the current view of addiction in American culture assumes that everyone is like that.

  • ||

    The reason people assume that is that the media, entertainment, and the government bombards people with DRUGZ and ADDICT and LIFE-DESTROYING constantly, because it gets viewers and increases control.

    The thing is, if you sat many people down and went "your uncle Bob who you always see with a beer in his hand, and he is never falling down drunk, or hungover the next day, is he an addict" Or "you had to take Vicodin every four hours for four months because of a car accident, and then you stopped no problem, are you an addict?", you might get them to think about it more.

  • anon||

    " Or "you had to take Vicodin every four hours for four months because of a car accident, and then you stopped no problem, are you an addict?", you might get them to think about it more.

    I'll admit, when I took vicodin for 2 months straight, I exhibited some drug seeking behavior when it came time to quit.

  • Mark22||

    We also have murderers and child molesters in our society. Does that mean we should treat everybody as a potential murderer and child molester?

    Some people clearly think that we should assume the worst about everybody and set up society accordingly. But that's no way to live.

  • playa manhattan||

    "My name is Randy, and I just really really like beer".

  • Whahappan?||

    Same thing with me and cigarettes. I smoked regularly as a teenager, then quit, but shortly after started smoking when drinking with friends who smoked. Smoked regularly a couple of times for maybe a year or so since then, now am back to smoking only when drinking with friends who smoke. I drink pretty regularly, but not to excess, I think. I've gone a few days without taking a drink for various reasons, no big deal but I don't see any reason not to have a coupla three drinks during/after dinner.

    Once recently went two days without caffeine. Just forgot to get more coffee at the store, wasn't trying to give it up or anything. I only drink 2 cups of coffee a day, mostly for the taste. Holy shit, I felt like crap and the next day had my coffee and was fine. Didn't make the connection at first, but when I googled "caffeine withdrawal symptoms" sure enough that's what it was.

  • lap83||

    It does raise the question of what defines addiction. Obviously firemen could suffer great personal cost every time they go into a burning building, but that doesn't mean they are addicted to it.

    To me, addiction is a matter of control...which could also be interpreted vaguely. But is it really possible to be that specific about it when so many things can theoretically become addicting?

  • anon||

    DSM 5 changes this a little by combining "substance abuse" and "substance dependence", but the DSM4 lists these criteria:

    Substance dependence, or addiction, as defined by the DSM-IV, is indicated by the presence of three or more of the criteria listed below in the last 12 months. Note that all but the first two criteria reflect some form of loss of control over the use of or effects of the drug.
    Tolerance: Does the patient tend to need more of the drug over time to get the same effect?
    Withdrawal symptoms: Does the patient experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she does not use the drug?
    Continued use of drug despite harm: Is the patient experiencing physical or psychological harm from the drug?
    Loss of control: Does the patient take the drug in larger amounts, or for longer than planned?
    Attempts to cut down: Has the patient made a conscious, but unsuccessful, effort to reduce his or her drug use?
    Salience: Does the patient spend significant time obtaining or thinking about the drug, or recovering from its effects?
    Reduced involvement: Has the patient given up or reduced his or her involvement in social, occupational or recreational activities due to the drug?

  • Snark Plissken||

    The big three concepts in addiction and reward (such as food reward hypothesis) are:

    -Liking or hedonic impact, often referred to as palatability in food.
    -Wanting or incentive salience, craving, jonesing, etc.
    -Learning.

    They are all extremely intertwined of course, one learns to love the taste of say, vodka, from the repeated hedonic impact of being drunk or hedonic impact. Wash rinse and repeat, add a healthy dose of politics and pseudo-science.

  • Robert||

    Firemen may not be "addicted", but they're some kinda crazy.

  • MSimon||

    There is no such thing as "addiction". People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

    And the pain? PTSD mostly. For which time is a cure. Varying amounts of time. So can you overcome addiction? When the time is right.

  • Irish||

    There is no such thing as "addiction".

    This is idiotic. There is such a thing as physical addiction, I just think it's overdiagnosed.

    When someone has delirium tremens they could die. That's not a psychosomatic symptom.

    Of course, only half of serious alcoholics develop any sort of withdrawal symptom, which shows that a large portion of people are capable of quitting with no adverse physical side effects.

  • MSimon||

    Uh. Addiction is what you have when you are detoxed and still go back to using. Look it up.

    My diagnosis? The pain has not gone away.

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

  • anon||

    Addiction is what you have when you are detoxed and still go back to using. Look it up.

    That's both retarded and wrong.

  • Irish||

    Uh. Addiction is what you have when you are detoxed and still go back to using. Look it up.

    Not in any definition I've ever seen. Physical addiction means your body actually needs something. That physical addiction can be broken, but with hardcore addicts it's possible to restart that physical addiction with very few drinks and small amounts of drugs.

    There can also be negative physical side effects when you quit a drug for months after you're done detoxing. In the case of cigarettes there is no extreme 'detox' in the way there is with booze and heroin, but physical side effects persist for months. That's why it's so hard to quit smoking. You can have a sudden extreme craving 5 months after your last smoke.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Man gets offered a job (food services director) at a Catholic school. The job offer is retracted once they realize he is SSMed to another man. He naturally goes to the Massachusetts anti-discrimination agency.44

    He admits they told him "that employees recognize church doctrine, but he believed that meant participating in prayers." Incidentally, he was "raised Catholic."

    Now, with Pope Francis' commitment to the New Evangelism and "messy" outreach to the world and to the lapsed, one could certainly argue that they should have let him have the job. Dining with tax collectors and sinners, and all that.

    But that would have justified appealing to the bishop, or to the Church courts, not going into secular courts to instruct the Church on who gets to help in her ministry.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/met.....story.html

  • Irish||

    OT: Glenn Beck is apparently in talks about making a Kronies cartoon show for The Blaze. I can take or leave Glenn Beck, but I would watch the hell out of that show so long as they let Papola and Emergent Order maintain creative control.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm expecting progs to retract all their attacks on that decision and admit that it empowered grass roots activists and shifted power back to the people.

    Those "grass roots activists" run around primarying incumbents. Anything undercutting the advatanges of incumbency is bad. Incumbents must be protected, because if they were elected once, they should hold that seat until death. That's what democracy means!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think when psychiatrists, therapists, and treatment groups focus so much on the fact that their patients are supposedly 'diseased' they remove from that person the idea that they have any personal initiative.

    You can't make a long term career out of telling people "Knock it the fuck off. Now get out of my office, and don't come back."

    You must make them permanently reliant on your superior intellect.

  • MSimon||

    But they are not "diseased" they are in pain.

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

  • ||

    "People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers."

    You keep saying that as if that's a valid example of anything.

    Some people in chronic pain might chronically take pain relievers.

    Pain is not a disease, it is a symptom.

  • pob||

    Carter. even though Raymond`s postlng is astonishing... on monday I got a new audi since getting a cheque for $8920 this-past/four weeks and-just over, $10 thousand this past-munth. this is definitely my favourite-job Ive ever had. I started this five month ➤➤➤➤➤➤ www.works77.ℂℴ¬m

  • MSimon||

    Riddle me this. If drugs (alcohol whatever) cause addiction why doesn't every one who tries the get addicted?

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

    Pain causes addiction.

  • anon||

    No matter how many time you repeat this childish bullshit, it's still wrong.

    Drugs don't "cause" addiction. Addicts are weak-willed people that allow drugs to have power over them.

    It's -entirely- the addict's own fucking fault.

  • anon||

    Granted, this is for the psychological addiction aspect, not physical dependency.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I've thought about this quite a lot and I find the either or dichotomy to be sophomoric. I've known plenty of people with addictive personalities, these people can have tons of drive and willpower (whatever that is). I've known a lot of people who seem to have no propensity to indulge in anything who weren't exactly what I would call strong-willed. People with addictive personalities tend to be much more interesting as long as the don't flame out.

    Trying to define it all away with a nebulous term like willpower seems to me as silly as current attempts to define addiction.

  • Irish||

    You can assert this over and over again and it doesn't become true. I think part of it is genetic, which is why drug use can run in families and even skip generations to reappear. Part of it has to do with pain or problems in your life. People drink or use drugs to forget divorce, because of a death in the family, or because of serious depression. Some of it could just be physical addiction where your body becomes accustomed to the drug.

    The point is there are a lot of different reasons you can get addicted, so a once size fits all addiction treatment system is bound to fail for the vast majority of people. You need to figure out why a certain person has the problem before you can treat the issue.

  • anon||

    . You need to figure out why a certain person has the problem before you can treat the issue.

    And most importantly, consider whether an "addiction" is a problem for the person.

    I'm physically dependent on Caffeine. I don't consider this a bad thing.

  • ||

    This is beyond absurd. There are other addictions beyond pain pills or having to combat chronic pain. Most alcohol use has nothing to do with chronic pain. Nor does cocaine use. Or benzodiazepene use. Or even often heroin use.

    Your cultish obsession is showing.

  • ||

    "Pain causes addiction."

    No it doesn't, chemical dependency does. Most people suck it the fuck up.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Reading over this thread, I am reminded of the parable of the blind men arguing over the qualities of an elephant.

    What is pain? Pain is an mental state that is a function of a certain electrochemical processes within the brain that are induced by certain internal or external stimuli. Pleasure is also such an induced functional state.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Pain is an mental state that is a function of a certain electrochemical processes within the brain that are induced by certain internal or external stimuli. Pleasure is also such an induced functional state.

    Writing a post on H&R is also a function of blah blah blah, as is anything that involves the human brain. What's your point?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The point is that if one accepts functionalism (and there is no good reason you shouldn't) then addiction is merely a function of certain electrochemical states in the brain. The "I take opiates to relieve my pain/I take opiates to maintain neurochemical homeostasis in my brain" debate above is chicken and the egg.

  • Snark Plissken||

    then addiction is merely a function of certain electrochemical states in the brain.

    Yeah, still not seeing it. Everything humans have ever done is merely a function of certain electrochemical states in the brain. Everything my computer does is the function of states in the transistors of the processor, hence Windows sucks.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Everything humans have ever done is merely a function of certain electrochemical states in the brain. Everything my computer does is the function of states in the transistors of the processor

    Right. I don't see where we disagree.

  • ||

    Fair point. 23andMe also tests for certain genes that I suppose test for dispositions towards pain sensitivity. According to them, I going to sense pain cery acutely. However, I would guess that most pain is a Result of damaged neurons or something firing off randomly. I just don't think it follows that a certain genotype makes you prone to addiction from it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    However, I would guess that most pain is a Result of damaged neurons or something firing off randomly.

    I've heard that with chronic pain, neurons can get so used to firing that even when the physical cause of the pain is eliminated the neurons still fire and cause pain. There exist drugs that help end this cycle, but I don't know names off hand (medical doctors and such, help me out here.)

  • Vincent Milburn||

    But they are "born that way."

  • lap83||

    OT: I'm on a documentary kick lately and it's the weekend. Can anyone recommend a good one?(esp if it's on Netflix or Amazon Prime) I like interesting and informative, but not too biased. (for example, I loved The Thin Blue Line but I hate Michael Moore)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • lap83||

    Thank you. I actually grew up in MN which has a sizable Hmong population. That looks interesting.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You're welcome.

  • Irish||

    I've heard the Romney documentary on NetFlix is great.

    I've even read progressive blogs saying that they thought it was really good. It's apparently not pro or anti-Romney at all, it's just a guy following him and his family through his presidential runs in 2008 and 2012.

    I haven't seen it, but I plan to.

  • lap83||

    I've seen that advertised on Netflix too, I might check it out.

  • playa manhattan||

    Is that the one that just came out?

  • Irish||

    Yes.

  • ||

    What kind do you like? I like darker ones, that maybe show areas of life that I'm not particularly familiar with. HBO (I think) did two documentaries called Black Tar Heroin and Crank that were really good, mostly unbiased views into street drug life. They used to be really hard to get, though.

    Stevie by Steve James (who did Hoop Dreams, which you would also want to check out if you haven't) is very good, though quite depressing, and it has some really fucked up moments (which is, of course, why I like it).

    And the ultimate, if you can find it, is Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys. This is a documentary where the filmmakers went to several NAMBLA members and asked to film them, and promised to not be biased. And they didn't have to be; the interviewees bury themselves without any help. It's quite creepy, and it's also not graphic in any way, just in case you were worried. It's just talking to these guys (and other people in the community) and letting them say things in their own words. Fascinating.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Anyting by Werner Herzog, such as "Grizzly Man" or "Into the Abyss."

    Grizzly Man is a delight!

  • lap83||

    I like Werner Herzog as well. The most recent of his, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, had some impressive footage.

  • Ted S.||

    What about Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe?

  • lap83||

    I enjoy the occasional dark documentary too. On the subject of street drugs, I thought Cocaine Cowboys was great, although it wasn't so much about drug use as drug running. Unfortunately I don't have cable, so an HBO produced documentary might be off limits. I'll keep those in mind next time I'm at the library though.

    That Chicken Hawk film sounds interesting too. Who am I kidding? None of these films will be at the library :)
    Although maybe It would be fun to ask the librarian for it, just to see the reaction.

  • Irish||

    I enjoy the occasional dark documentary too. On the subject of street drugs, I thought Cocaine Cowboys was great, although it wasn't so much about drug use as drug running.

    Cocaine Cowboys is fucking awesome. All of Billy Corben's documentaries are good. He also did The U about the University of Miami football team for ESPN, a documentary about drugs in New York's 1980's nightlife called Limelight, and a hilarious documentary called Square Grouper about 1970's Florida pot smuggling.

    They're all very good.

  • playa manhattan||

    Charles Crosby really took one for the team when he was shacked up with Griselda Blanco.

  • ||

    Oh shit, Limelight is about Peter Gatien. He was still a nightclub king for part of while I lived in NYC (he in fact owned The Limelight itself). A girlfriend of mine knew his daughter and he gave them a ride home once. She described him as "taciturn". Man, I need to see that.

  • ||

    I forgot to add the guy was missing an eye and wore a fucking eyepatch like a pirate, and looked scary as hell, which is what made my girlfriend's choice of taciturn so funny.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I've been to Limelight.

    In Denver, they copied the place and made a great club called The Church.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Both Cocaine Cowboys and Cocaine Cowboys 2 are worth watching for sure.

  • ||

    Yeah, some of these are going to be hard to find, though if you aren't opposed to torrenting it might get a lot easier. If you have an eclectic video store in your area, check with them. The Steve James ones shouldn't be too hard to get, though.

    For Chicken Hawk, try this, and I have heard some people claim it's actually on Youtube, so check the interwebz.

    Also consider The Titicut Follies, and finally on a lighter note, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. You'll want to go get some sushi after that one.

  • playa manhattan||

    Chicken Hawk sounds interesting, but I don't know if I want that in my history.

    Richard Prior: Omit the Logic was pretty good, but I think it is Showtime only.

  • ||

    You might not want it in your history, but it's really fucking good. It's everything a documentary should be: informative, somewhat shocking, while attempting to be unbiased without becoming absurd about it.

    Oh and lap? If you haven't seen Waco: the Rules of Engagement, check it out, but make sure you have nothing breakable nearby when you watch it.

  • Robert||

    Hoop Dreams was interesting for the disconnect between its content and the attitude of people in the education establishment promoting it to children.

  • playa manhattan||

    Bones Brigade. Should be on netflix.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

    Are they addicted to the drug, or are they "addicted" to not being in pain?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm physically dependent on Caffeine. I don't consider this a bad thing.

    I ran completely out of coffee recently. I did not notice any physical manifestation of withdrawal but it completely screwed up my morning routine, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Sugarsail||

    there is a ritualistic aspect to most addictions and it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

  • playa manhattan||

    Depends on your usual dosage. I take 400mg a morning, and if I don't, I get headaches by the end of the day.

    It also depends on if you use coffee as a laxative. If you do, it will definitely mess up your morning routine, as your AM dump will not happen at the correct time.

  • Robert||

    You are not taking 400mg of caffeine, unless the "m" uncharacteristically means "micro" rather than "milli"!

  • playa manhattan||

    I take 2 of these every morning(generic store brand). 200 milligrams + 200 milligrams = 400 milligrams, or .4 grams. Xanthines aren't as strong as you think they are.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Reading over this thread, I am reminded of the parable of the blind men arguing over the qualities of an elephant.

    Most of our threads involve people arguing from widely divergent premises and poorly defined concepts.

    That's what makes it so dadgum amusing, sometimes.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Better:

    Most of our threads involve people arguing from widely divergent premises and over poorly defined concepts.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fair enough.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I had a DUI in New York State. I had to attend mandatory group therapy for fifteen months, $40 a session, twice a week for the first eight months, and then once a week the second seven months, one hour per session. It was a complete and utter waste of time. The head douchebag/social worker/counselor was addicted to weed! Weed gave him the DT's...

    I also had to attend AA meetings twice a week, and under the conditions of my probation I think I still have to.

    Although I have not had a drink since my arrest, I was and still am constantly told that I have a problem and I cannot control it, that willpower does not work, and that unless I pay a guy to tell my family history is the reason I did it, or if I twelve step it, I will never stay sober.

    It is mind-boggling.

  • ||

    Well, the whole DUI system has become a complete scam designed to fleece the public.

    First a person gets arrested for DUI, processed, and released. The cops get to add to their stats. Then the person goes before a judge, where, depending on their representation, they will almost assuredly be fined even if the charge is reduced, which means more money for the state. Then they will often lose their licence.

    They will almost always be ordered to undergo some kind of post-conviction therapy or class, ranging anywhere from one day to months of meetings or therapy. The classes and meetings are always run by one connected company, and they cost a lot of money, so the crony now gets to make some money. Therapy is always given by therapists who are "in the system", and are usually total scumbags who do nothing but take these patients which are thrown their way automatically by the courts.

    Upon completion of the above, after a certain amount of time, they will be able to get their license back, which costs more money and fees. Not to mention the entire time they have had to rely on family and friends or public transportation (or take the risk of driving without a license).

    And through the entire process, they will be hectored and lectured and treated like criminals and scum, giving a nice moral frisson to all the people involved. And this is for a first time offender. Think about that. The system is utterly perverted.

  • playa manhattan||

    Same with the anger management cartel. My buddy was sentenced to 40 sessions with a shrink. The first session, he bribed his way out of the rest.

  • ||

    Yes, this formula has been applied across a number of compulsory "treatment" systems, from DUIs to "anger management" to "troubled teens", and in every case you will find that connected/in the system people and companies are doing all the "treatment", and it is expensive. It's just another government-enabled scam to fleece people of their money. As always.

  • playa manhattan||

    My buddy was able to treat it on his own. He started smoking weed for the first time in his mid-30's, and he hasn't been in a fight since. It's great, I can take him nice places now without worrying about getting a lifetime ban.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    For a first offender in New York they have have an interlock device installed for six months or something like that. The devices fail, or a person does not use it properly, or they drink the night before, and they "fail" and then their problems just become worse and worse.

    With regard to the forced therapy, in my situation I I had to attend the twice weekly, or weekly sessions, with ten to fifteen other people all stuffed together inside of a stinky room. We were almost all court ordered, so we had to do our best to participate. However, no matter what our answers were we did not satisfy the counselors for at least a year, or until he could fill the slot we were to leave behind. Twelve people, $40 a pop, twice a week for one hour is a pretty damn good scam. IF you do not show up you go to jail!

    One of the members of the group rode his bike seventeen miles, one way, in all weather, to attend the meetings (remember, we cannot drive). He was not the loquacious sort, so it was determined that he was not adequately participating with the process and he had to leave. I do not know if he ended up going to see other people, or if they put in an in-patient program or he had to county jail.

    Either way, riding your bike in the rain for thirty-four miles was not enough of a commitment.

  • ||

    I know, man, it's unbelievable. It's literally designed to suck people back in to keep them paying, or to just fuck those who can't. It's disgusting. The best is when they order people to attend meetings or therapy or probation without a license, and will fuck them if they get caught driving or don't show, and often in semi-rural or even rural areas where there are no buses or even taxis. It's fucking evil.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    This is so true. Two therapy sessions and two AA meetings each week, all while holding on to a full-time job without having a drivers license. Any failure to do these things can result in a probation violation.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    The one thing you left out is the screwjob you get from the car insurance companies.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Oh and the antebuse they make you take and pay for. A pill that causes your heart rate to skyrocket and face to turn red if you drink.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Quitting drinking doesn't mean you're not still an alcoholic. I know it's a huge cliche, but it really is all about that first drink. Most people can have a couple of drinks and stop. Some people can't Something kicks in, and I have no idea if it's a gene thing or whatever, that just suspends your judgement, and if there's alcohol around you will drink until the bar/party closes.

  • Garth Algar||

    Thank you for writing this... I am so tired of hearing that the "only way" to stay clean is go to NA meetings.

    Also, there is another huge irony in these doctors telling us we're inherent drug addicts. These doctors who say this also prescribe the Suboxone and Methadone and never, ever take you off or taper/reduce your prescription unless you beg them or you stop going.

  • Sugarsail||

    A.A. was heavily influenced by a misunderstanding of the works of Carl G. Jung who felt that in lieu of any real spiritual experience, alcoholism would be difficult if not impossible to cure since he felt the underlying cause of alcoholism was a ritualistic thirst for spirit and not just a physical ailment. A.A. translated this into "Alcoholism can't be cured" and our modern physical bias ignores any psychological roots of the addiction. Our culture's understanding of all addiction is primitive at best.

  • Number 2||

    "The NIDA wants us to know that drugs (and alcohol) are so inherently dangerous that human beings can never be trusted to manage these substances or recover from an addiction to them."

    I said this before and I will say it again: The "alcohol is just as/more dangerous than pot" riff is not intended to lead to reform of drug laws, but to demonize alcohol.

  • Grey Dread||

    I was an alcoholic for over 20 years. I used a non-addictive plant that is supposed to be growing freely from every green continent to break it. The government prohibits the cure.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Willenbring, et al, suffer from the medical model of agency, which is to say, they don't believe in it. The medical model of "mental health" is mechanistic in the extreme. We now know that the mindset (see the book by Carol S. Dweck) of a person has an enormous influence, maybe even all the influence on behavior. These dim-wit, non-scientific mechanistic medical model douchebags are now having their ass handed to them by the developments in neuro-psycho-endocrinology, -immunology, etc.

    Free will in attitude rocks!

    "If you think you can, or if you think you can't: you're right."

  • Jerms||

    I have been clean for eleven years, and got clean with the help of a few rehabs and a few years of meetings. The meetings can help, but I dont think they are necessary. I havent been to one in years. Its a great place if you like to raise your hand and have a captive audience listen to your problems. As for the whole "disease" thing, I never bought into that shit. Some people are more suceptible than others, and some people want to quit more than others. Some can cut back, some, like me, need to completely abstain. Some just smoke weed to get by. To each his fucking own.

  • RishJoMo||

    I dont really like the sound of that at all man.

    www.AnonStuffz.tk

  • Christopher_T.||

    To go a little farther into this, I wonder (based on my own experience) if those who "mature out" (a wonderful phrase) have an easier time of it than those who stop because they're denying themselves.

    Is it better (in the sense of being happier) to be able to say "this isn't me anymore" versus "I will not permit myself this"? "Maturing out" seems to imply growth and wisdom. Denying yourself is just gripping the opposite pole from addiction.

    I also think that realizing you can direct the change in your life is more self-empowering than rigidity. I realize this is something subjective and not easy to quantify, but believing yourself capable of positive change because you've done it seems much more adult.

  • julia14juli||

    my best friend's sister-in-law makes $70 /hour on the computer . She has been without work for 7 months but last month her check was $12532 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can look here

    =========================
    http://www.tec30.com
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  • Jayburd||

    Mr Peele is selling things.

  • Grumpy Old Timer||

    To all the glib comments above, hope you attend Phil Seymour's funeral. 23 years straight, one/two years off the wagon, dead.
    From first hand experience I can tell you that certain types of alcoholics are doomed short of some type of major rearrangement of psyche.
    If you have not been there, be glib, and thankful.
    TADA.

  • Brian_N_Cols_OH||

    It really doesn't matter what you think about whether addiction is a disease or not. What matters is what works to make people healthy. What I do know from experience is that people who drink at the rate I did (daily, nearly a fifth a day) rarely get better on their own. In fact, I'v never seen somebody from that point stop on their own (although I'm sure there are some). What I see more often is that they find a recovery program (yes, AA) or they die. I have watched many a friend die because they could not stop.

    So you may believe whatever you want about AA but the real truth should be easily measured. Find 2000 alcoholics/addicts and have half of them each go through this author's program vs. AA/NA. Then, see the results. And to make it more thorough, measure their quality of life 5 years after.

    If you can show me that this author's program works better than AA, then hats off to him. Based on how my life is today compared to what it was 6 years ago, I will take my AA recovery because I am proud of every bit of it and my new life is awesome.

    Incidentally, did nobody else catch the irony that the article is criticizing government research? When has anyone in this forum trusted the government anyway?

  • Cosmic Surfer||

    Of course Drug Treatment is a self perpetuating business model..Christ - hand enough "dis-ease" off to corporatists, they will always find a way to drain every penny, nickle and dollar from the goose and find a way to get the state to pay more.

    That is the very thinking is what has caused health care costs tho explode, NSA over-reach and perpetual war..

    By the way - it is called "Reaganomics"

  • Cosmic Surfer||

    That is the very thinking that has caused health care costs tho explode, NSA over-reach and perpetual war.....

    and no..not high just dyslexic

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