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El_Cadejo's avatar

Addicts, mentally ill or weak minded?

Asked by El_Cadejo (34524points) April 17th, 2008

Not just referring to drugs or alcohol i mean in all aspects of life.

I’ll reserve my opinion until later.

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29 Answers

soundedfury's avatar

Chemical addiction is neither.

wildflower's avatar

I think all humans seek patterns and predictability to some degree, but some have a stronger need for it than others and those are more likely to take up habits and if the person also has neurotic tendencies, it’s very possible for that habit to become an addiction.
So, do I think a strong need for patterns/habits and neurotic tendencies are illnesses? well Neurotic tendencies is a form of psychosis, but not necessarily an illness. Need for habits, that could just be an insecurity, which again may be a form of psychosis, but doesn’t have to be an illness.

Of course, as soundedfury mentioned, if it’s habit-forming, chemical substances, it may be a different matter.

scamp's avatar

The emerging paradigm views addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder to be managed with all the tools at medicine’s disposal.. The addict’s brain is malfunctioning, as surely as the pancreas in someone with diabetes. In both cases, “lifestyle choices” may be contributing factors, but no one regards that as a reason to withhold insulin from a diabetic.

LunaFemme's avatar

I think some mentally ill people self-medicate in order to cope better. It probably helps for a time until the negatives of the chemical dependecy out weighs its beneficial aspects. But I don’t believe this is true of all addicts.

Bottom line—some addicts & probably mentally ill but not all and the same is probably true of weak minded individuals.

iwamoto's avatar

i have a high operating form of autism, you could say i do have my addictions, but some of them are just there because they give me the routine i so desprerately seek in life, for instance, i always get the same kind of drink from the supermarket, not because im addicted to it, but because it’s routine

but okay, it’s a mental illnes, so yeah, addiction is metally ill ;)

scamp's avatar

@iwamoto I’m curious. Are you talking about Aspergers Syndrome? People very close to be have this, and I’ve seen that routines are very important to them.

iwamoto's avatar

yeah, that’s the one, been living alone for a year now, and just like i thought i’ve realy build more routine for myself,but in a good way…aaah, good old asperger, made me the man i am today ;)

scamp's avatar

My SO is an aspie. He lives by his routines. For instance, we do our laundry for the week every Tuesday night at 8pm, then go out to eat afterwards. I knew nothing about Aspergers before I met him, but now I am fascinated by it.

iwamoto's avatar

i have pizza on monday and friday, i always buy taksi blue, i always hang my ibanez RG in the middle (i have 3 guitars hanging on the wall) etc.
at first i was realy frustrated about being abnormal, i blamed it for ruining my childhood, but now i see i should live my life with that exception, i guess it makes me a little more unique than the rest ;)

scamp's avatar

I don’t see it as being abnormal. I see it as being exceptional. My SO has musical talent as well. He plays amazing piano. But he is set in what he will play. He is a ragtime enthusiast, and plays little else. But he can listen to a piece a couple of times, then sit down and play it as if he wrote it himself.

It ruined his childhood also. His parents were not helpful at all. They kept telling him “There is something wrong with you” but they never bothered to find out what it was. So he lived with scorn and not being accepted by society in general. I’m glad he never gave up tho. He is finally coming out of his shell, and learning that not everyone out there is cruel. You and he are in good company. Some of our greatest thinkers were aspies. I hear Einstein was one.

LunaFemme's avatar

Its looking like my nephew, who is 6, has some type of high functioning autism & he is currently under going tests for aspie. I think he is one of the most remarkable kids I’ve ever met. I watch him put together a 500 piece Lego battleship thingie in 15 minutes. It blew my mind!!!

LunaFemme's avatar

It was @ Christmas & one of his gifts. He look at the directions once for about 30 seconds & next thing I knew it was built. I took on of his older 20 piece sets & he had to help me finish it.

The kid is definitly a genius – maybe that’s the trade off???? Sometimes I wish I was smart like that.

Spargett's avatar

Apspergers is one of the most incorrectly self diagnosed syndromes.

Too many nerds write off the fact that they’ve never developed socials skills to
a mental illness that’s out of their control.


scamp's avatar

@Spargett But it is a real condition, and attitudes such as yours towards it serve to make many who suffer with it much more miserable. I’m really surprised to see you being so judgemental about this. I thought you were a better person than that.

iwamoto's avatar

trust me spargett, i know what you’re thinking, just like AD/HD “hmm, yeah, my kid is active and playfull too, must be ADHD”
but i was professionaly diagnosed by a psychologic institute, no self diagnose involved whatsoever. and i can understand where the feeling is comming from, but no, im the real deal :p

LunaFemme's avatar

my nephew is being tested by a neurological psychiatrist. I know it involves MRI & a whole host of tests / evaluations. I don’t think a 6 yr old can diagnose himself & I know it’s not his parents

Spargett's avatar


That’s a fact, not my opinion. I’m not attacking people from suffer from Aspergers, I’m attacking the people to pass it off as an excuse for their laziness, in defense of the people who legibly suffer from it.

scamp's avatar

Thanks for clairifying that. When you said “Too many nerds write off the fact that they’ve never developed socials skills to a mental illness that’s out of their control”, it seemed to me like you were bashing the idea of Apsergers as a legitimate ailment. My respect for you has been restored.

iwamoto's avatar

well, the same goes for ADHD or ADD, as soon as a parent thinks the child is hyper active (wich is often just caused by high quantities of sugar or just childlike enthusiasm) the child is automaticly branded with it, and gets a special treatment wich in some cases is just bad for the education, so i fully agree with spargett.

nocountry2's avatar

I really think that genetics play an influential part in susceptibilities – for example, I smoke socially, and have so for many years, but if I go a few weeks or months (or many) without a ciggy, big deal. Take it or leave it. But my grandparents were pack-a-day Marlboro smokers, and some of my friends are addicted to smoking, so even though I have had plenty of opportunity I really feel that I just didn’t get the smoking gene. I can see how this would apply to drinking, drugs, etc., and also why it would be physically difficult to quit. If you really want to quit something, I think you can, but it’s not necessarily as easy as “putting your mind to it” or some kind of weakness or laziness if you have difficulty with it. When I had trouble with depression, it was incredible how many people – even my loved ones – accused or implied that I was weak in the head or could just get over it if I really wanted to.

LunaFemme's avatar

@uber – are you ever going to weigh in with your opinion??

scamp's avatar

@nocountry2 Well put!

@LunaFemme I agree. I’d like to hear his take on this.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I think its weak-minded. I am willing to accept the fact that some people do have some imbalance in their brain that makes them prone to addiction. But just because of that doesnt mean you will be addicted. I know a lot of people who have been addicted to various things. Ive even seen it happening with myself sometimes but i notice and take care of the problem. And obviously the bigger the pay off from whatever it is your hooked on the harder it will be to break the habit. But that doesnt mean it cant be done. To just say its a mental illness seems like a scapegoat and makes people think its not their fault. Like there was nothing they could do about it. This isnt true however because not all people that are prone to addiction are addicts. Why is that? My only explanation is they have a greater will power to not let any substance control their life.I would hate to think that i am being controlled by anything.

scamp's avatar

I see what you are saying, and this could be true at the beginning of an addiction. For instance with an alcoholic, They may not know they have the “gene’, and think they just enjoy drinking. But if they begin to see the signs of having a problem early on, and do nothing to stop it or get help, it could be seen as being weak.

But there may be something else happening here. Maybe those with certain genes or mental illnesses continue because they are seeking a band-aid for their pain, and want a more immediate form of relief, and think they will stop tomorrow. then tomorrow becomes next week, and it snowballs on them. By the time this happens, the addiction itself has taken hold, and the brain/body connection with the substance takes over, changing the way the addict thinks.

I’ve gone through something similar with my ex. At first, he just liked to have a few beers on the weekend. Now, It takes a six pack just to be able to get out of bed. It’s both sad and pathetic at the same time. I think addictions are really a little of both weakness and illness to be quite honest.

LunaFemme's avatar

@scamp – great answer!

Trance24's avatar

Im with Uberbatman on the fact that most addiction can be stopped at the source. But when they do not it is because they do not want to. And then they begin to fall into utter choas with their own mind. It begins to be hard to distiguish between having an addiction problem or not. Some people can not escape this, and it is a problem with many people around the world. It is always possible to concure addiction, its the want and the will that is hard to grasp. I am very familiar with this. My mother is an alcoholic (non active) she struggled for years and years to get out of it. But again and again she relapsed, it destroyed her life an the lives around her. Today she is over a year sober, and clean of her addiction. She told me no matter how many times she stopped before it wasnt enough, because she didnt want it bad enough. Today she is stronger, and today she has met on common ground with her self and that is how she managed to save herself. That is what addicts need, they need to find that common ground with theirselves, they need to look inside and evaluate. This is not an easy thing for us, we struggle with our inner selves constantly trying to make excuses. So yes addiction is escapable, but you need the want, the will, and to be at peace with yourself.

scamp's avatar

@Trance24 I’m so glad you Mother was able to stop, and I hope she is able to keep up the fight. She is at a turning point in her life and that is very good, but the addiction still remains. Alcoholism has no cure, just non-drinking alcoholics. That’s why you hear the term “recovering alcoholic” for someone who has stopped. There is something about the one year mark that can give an alcoholic a false sense of strength. They may think they have it under control, and they very often may think they can drink in moderation. That’s why the people at AA will tell someone that “one thousand drinks is not enough, but one drink is too many.”

I hope your Mother has continued strength, and with your help will never drink again. Unfortunately for some people this is a life long battle, and I wish you all the best.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Mental illness and weak-mindedness (lack of willpower?) are not the only possible explanations. Another is the making unwise decisions.

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