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Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:50 pm
by Vik
“Addiction”: What’s it mean anyway?

You said you wanted information, we heard you. We’re introducing a new content series where we will be starting a number of discussions and activities about the experience of substance use, making change and staying changed.

In this topic, we will be discussing the word "addiction", its meanings and how we feel about it as a label.
There are a number of ways in today's world which the word is used, understood, portrayed and applied. We will be chatting about this, what we think about it, and what impacts we think the word has. This will be a great way to reflect on our understandings, experiences and reactions to the word and support one another in the process.

Like this post now and we'll send you an email when the topic is open.

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway? Opens Oct 21

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:14 am
by Vik
The terms 'addiction' and 'addict' are problematic and cause a lot of debate – some people find them helpful to identify with, and other believing them to be damaging, or a hindrance to recovery.

While 'addiction' is a legitimate medical term, there is debate about what it means. Some believe that it’s a brain disease, others a psychosocial condition, some believe it’s for life, some believe it’s something which can end (see Don’t call me an addict. I don’t live there anymore.). It’s also a tough word to identify with, and many of us aren’t sure when we cross the line into being addicted. Maybe it doesn’t matter… it’s important to remember that you don’t need to feel like it’s an addiction to seek help in changing your use.

'Addict' is even more problematic, with many feeling it disempowers people and stigmatises them. Nowadays it’s much more standard to use people-centred language such as 'people with an addiction', as formalised in the American Press’ Guide in 2017. However there are definitely people who don’t have a problem with it, including some people in our community. Even health care workers can’t agree on whether to use it - Johan Hari calls it “an interesting internal debate among those of us who are basically all on the same side”

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So a few questions to discuss:
How do you feel about the words ‘addiction’ and ‘addict’? Do you personally identify with either of them?
What impact do you think they have? Positive or negative?
Do you agree that they can be a hindrance to recovery? Why?
Are you always in recovery or are you recovered? Once recovered do you identify as recovered?

Re: Topic series - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:13 pm
by Chip
As someone who has explored many addictions, i will only comment on drugs and alcohol.

Over my 40+ years exposure to addiction, i often find it's truly self medication initially experienced as a response to various forms of child trauma but can occur anytime.

Often linked to mental illness, it gets even more complex.

But to keep my reply short, addiction is initially about the journey of instant benefit to the user and through to self paliative care.

The body always deploys homeostatic responses expressed in your DNA so being addicted means that your physiology has been irreversibly modified (long term tolerance and receptor dysfunction) and you are deeply driven to maintain such so you will do what it takes to feel what was once almost "normal".

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:58 pm
by Vik
Thanks for your reply @Chip, nice one.

What do you think about the use of the word 'addict' - do you think it's positive, negative, or just a word?

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:13 pm
by Bardot
Being an alcoholic is hell

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:36 am
by Jack23
hi @Bardot

Welcome to the forum.

Please share your experiences here and hopefully you find assistance from the community and also provide help to other members.

Take care.


Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:42 am
by Chip
Vik wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:58 pm
What do you think about the use of the word 'addict' - do you think it's positive, negative, or just a word?
Words like "clean" (I knew someone that was addicted to drinking detergent but he's clean now :) ) and "addict" carry negative connotations.

"tolerant users" sounds so much nicer.

Notice how they don't call alcoholics "Alcohol addicts ?"

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:01 am
by Charliez83
** I do hope the following makes some sense to the readers**

I am a high functioning drug user (not to be confused with abuser).
The extent to which i use drugs is largely dependent on how my body is reacting to the rising/falling levels of the drug in my system. This in turn means that my body has a need to have the drug in my system for me to continue to be a functioning userdeeming me to be "addicted" to drugs.

To continue to be classed as a "functionion user" i am required to use drugs to satisfy my body's addiction to it.

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:13 am
by Justme_au
The terms 'addiction' and 'addict' don't think they are good or bad.
weather your into drugs or alcohol it's all the same both are drugs with mind altering affects.
the words 'addiction' and 'addict' are just a word to have a label.
it's no different to the words cat, dog, people we use it to define something so everyone is on same page.
so with that been said if you go to the doctor and say I have a problem with 'addiction, addict' or what ever. if you could not use the words how would you be able to talk about it.

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:40 pm
by Vik
Thanks for your points @Chip, @Charliez83 & @Justme_au - all great ones.

I always think it's interesting how we all have different associations with the words - such as how Chip sees the negative connotations.
I think it's also interesting to consider how we relate to these words over time with our journeys, maybe no longer identifying with them after a period of sobriety? Like the Don't call me an addict piece in my earlier post.

There's no right answer of course, just food for thought.

Re: Let's talk! - 'Addiction': What’s it mean anyway?

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:01 pm
by Midge0z
I read a terrific book a while back called "In the Realms of Hungry Ghosts - Close Encounters with Addiction" by Gabor Maté. Maté work as resident GP for around 8 years in Vancouver's Lower East Side. This area is the drug use capital of Canada. Maté speaks of his days there and the people he try to help. He believes that not everyone who suffered childhood trauma becomes an Alcoholic but every Alcoholic suffered childhood trauma. Anyway, I found it an excellent book (i listened to it as Audio Book). If you search on YouTube for Gabor Maté there are some excellent lectures.