Is my drug addiction really that much worse than her alcoholism? - page 5
This morning I noticed something, and it didn't really upset me, it just confirmed what I've been told over and over.. and what I thought I've seen in the past. I was skimming through the posts here, in the recovery forum..... Read More
0Nov 1, '11 by sissiesmamaQuote from jackstemThank u for that, Jack!Interesting reply. Scientifically, they are the same thing. Regardless of the substance (or activity), they ultimately cause the same thing...an elevation of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain...a SIGNIFICANT rise in those with a genetic predisposition to developing addiction. While some substances prevent the re-uptake of dopamine and others cause an increased release of dopamine, the final result...the "high"...is all that matters. The various genetic expressions (allele) determines an addict's "drug of choice". For me, it was opioids. I didn't care much for alcohol. I'd have a beer now and then, or a glass of wine, but opioids were what got me going.
I never smoked marijuana (still haven't), never tried cocaine or any other illegal substance. I received legitimate prescriptions for pain from spondylolisthesis. I'd had my fair share of broken bones (thanks to football) and surgeries (T&A, septoplasty, medial meniscectomy, pilonidal cyst X2) and never really had an urge to go out and buy heroin. But in late 1989 my back pain lasted longer than usual. For whatever reason my gene for addiction was activated and within 6 months I was almost dead. (Thanks to fentanyl and sufentanil. Increased potency speeds the rate at which addiction progresses).
I didn't commit any drug related crimes until AFTER I became addicted. While many people do buy illicit substances and become addicted, criminal acts aren't a necessary part of becoming dependent. Judging whether one addiction is "worse" than another by criminal activity has nothing to do with the science of addiction. This is one of the biggest problems addicts face (including alcohol addicts) in seeking treatment. Stigma prevents early assessment and treatment, allowing the addiction to progress, making treatment less effective and long term recovery less likely.
Alcoholics commit crimes as well. The disease of addiction causes loss of control and inhibitions. As Richard Pryor said, "Drugs and alcohol make you more of who you are...and if that's an a_ _ hole, that's not a good thing." Alcohol is involved in significantly greater incidents of violence and accidents than other mood altering substances.
- The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in general, the heavier the alcohol use, the more likely an adolescent will be involved with criminal behaviors.
- The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S.
- An analysis of dependence among trauma center patients found that the prevalence of alcoholism was substantially higher among vehicular crash victims and other trauma patients than among the equivalent general population group. More than half of trauma patients with a positive BAC at the time of the trauma were diagnosed as alcoholics, and nearly 1 in 7 patients who were not drinking at the time of the trauma were diagnosed as alcohol-dependent.
While it generally takes years for an alcoholic to reach the same "level" of addiction as a heroin or crystal meth user, the damage done to a variety organs is significantly greater than for other drugs, especially opioids.
Addiction is addiction.
3Nov 2, '11 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorQuote from MagsulfateI'm late to the party, I know.It's in the posts,, I don't have to explain myself, just look. An alcoholic can be "thanked" numerous times for sharing their story,, and a drug addict might get thanked a few times for sharing.
To be honest, I would not put so much weight on or read too much into being "thanked" on internet forum, because the thanks (i.e., kudos) system isn't exactly an accurate measure of the public opinion of substance abuse issues. People use the kudos system for various reasons...so you can't go by the number of kudos you get and say, "oh, people must think I'm scum compared to the alcoholics." Have you seen some of the posts here that get insane amounts of thanks? I think there's one that was just a smiley posted at the right time and it racked up 30-something thanks. Correct the spelling of HIPAA--yet again--without contributing to the thread, and you're guaranteed to get 15 thanks right there.
Seriously...you are right: an addiction is an addiction. You've come a long way in your recovery and you should be proud of your progress. Nor should you think yourself any less of a person because of the substances you abused. The fact that you abused drugs instead of alcohol does not make you any better or any worse of an addict. It just makes you an addict.