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Several friends and colleagues sent me the DIALOGUE & DISCUSSION that medical doctors had during their “intensive” investigation of 4 years regarding their re-definition of “addiction.” As of August 15, 2011, they are characterizing “addiction” as a PRIMARY, CHRONIC BRAIN DISEASE (not just bad behavior or bad choices which are “moral”). Wow! From a “theory” of disease to now a proclaimed “fact” that addiction is a disease. But is their proclamation correct? Would God agree with their new definition?

Ok, so I’ve read the actual ASAM (The American Society of Addiction Medicine which is about 3,000 doctors) report and here’s what they are saying:

1) Chronic – means it will never get any better to the point of a cure. Where is the hope in that? So “addicts” just have to cope with their disease until they die? Give me a break! Better yet, give the “addicts” a break and a little hope!

2) Primary – means (to them) that “addiction” is a disorder all to itself meaning that nothing else (like other psychiatric or emotional problems) causes “addiction.” Addiction is its own FIRST cause and that’s important to them. Why? Because they must treat the “root” of the problem which to them is simply the “brain” and how it is diseased. No one chooses this “disease” just like no one chooses “diabetes” (I’ve heard that for over 20 years now) and so it must be treated with MEDICINE. Ah, now we are getting to the real “root” of the issue – how do Doctors practice medicine? How do Doctors get paid? Hmmm…I’ll take a wild stab at this one and say through their prescription of MEDICINE for DISEASES. Sounds like a coincidence to me that “addiction” can now be treated by medical doctors as a primary, chronic disease…they can now bill insurance companies…interesting coincidence.

I’m not a rocket scientist but I see a correlation here between calling something a “disease” and treating it with “medicine.” How does a diabetic treat his disease? Medicine is usually the primary means though other behaviors like diet and exercise can positively impact it (but they don’t want us to talk about bad behaviors, only good ones, because this is NOT a “moral” issue according to them! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone that you cannot have good choices without bad choices – morality – and that any and every behavior is truly “moral” by definition. They are trying to IGNORE God Almighty and thus call something that is moral not a “moral” issue. God is not fooled or mocked and He does not bow down to man’s best ideas or re-definitions of sin problems!).

Here’s a critical excerpt from the ASAM news release which I am going to CRITIQUE line by line in BOLD letters (my comments are in BOLD below): 

Two decades of advancements (THEY USE THE WORD ‘ADVANCEMENTS’ AND NOT EVIDENCE BECAUSE THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE) in neurosciences (MAKING IT SOUND SO SCIENTIFIC SO THAT THEY THINK WE CANNOT ARGUE WITH THEM – BY THE WAY, I READ NOT 1 SHRED OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN THEIR DEFINITION OF ADDICTION DOCUMENT – NOT 1 ARTICLE SUPPORTING THIS IDEA!) convinced (THEY ARE ‘CONVINCED’ BY FAITH IN THEIR CONCLUSIONS SO IT IS A FAITH ISSUE TO BE PERSUADED/CONVINCED ABOUT SOMETHING – NOTE THAT THEY HAD TO BE CONVINCED AND IT TOOK 4 YEARS OF DISCUSSION TO CONVINCE THEM) ASAM that addiction needed (NEEDED NOT WANTED TO MAKE IT MORE URGENT AND IMPORTANT – IF IT WERE SUCH A ‘NEED’ WHY DID IT TAKE 4 YEARS?) to be redefined by what’s going on in the brain (WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE BRAIN? PLEASE TELL US IF YOU REALLY DO KNOW!). Research shows that the disease of addiction affects neurotransmission and interactions within reward circuitry of the brain, leading to addictive behaviors that supplant healthy behaviors, while memories of previous experiences with food, sex, alcohol and other drugs trigger craving and renewal of addictive behaviors (NO ONE DISAGREES THAT ADDICTIVE PLEASURES FEEL GOOD – BRAIN CIRCUITRY IS IMPACTED BY FOOD, SEX, TV, INTERNET, ETC. – THIS IS A “NO BRAINER” PARDON THE PUN BUT IT TOOK 80 EXPERTS TO FIGURE OUT THAT NEUROTRANSMISSION IN THE BRAIN CHANGES WHEN SOMEONE EATS CHOCOLATE OR PARTAKES IN OTHER PLEASURABLE SUBSTANCES…I COULD HAVE TOLD THEM THAT). Meanwhile, brain circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment is also altered in this disease (MAKING PEOPLE INTO VICTIMS WHO CANNOT CONTROL THEMSELVES IS DANGEROUS BECAUSE HOW DOES ANYONE EVER GET OUT OF THE ADDICTION AND INTO TREATMENT OR RECOVERY?), resulting in the dysfunctional (WHO DECIDES WHAT BEHAVIORS ARE DYSFUNCTIONAL AND WHAT BEHAVIORS ARE FUNCTIONAL? I KNOW THE ANSWER: GOD ALMIGHTY – BUT THESE DOCTORS WANT TO SAY THAT THEY DETERMINE WHAT IS A DYSFUNCTIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL “PURSUIT”) pursuit of rewards (I DON’T CALL ALCOHOL OR DRUGS “REWARDS” FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST EVERYTHING DUE TO AN ADDICTION…DO YOU?) such as alcohol and other drugs. This area of the brain is still developing during teen-age years, which may be  why (NOTE: THEY SAY “MAY BE WHY” SINCE THEY DO NOT REALLY KNOW “WHY” – THEY ARE CONVINCED AND ACTING OUT OF FAITH IN THEMSELVES IGNORING GOD’S WORD) early exposure to alcohol and drugs is related to greater likelihood of addiction later in life (WAIT A MINUTE – YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS – EITHER THEY HAVE A DISEASE OR THEY DON’T – WHAT IS MEANT BY “A GREATER LIKELIHOOD OF ADDICTION LATER IN LIFE” BECAUSE I THOUGHT THEY HAD A DISEASE CALLED ADDICTION? I’M CONFUSED BY THEIR DOUBLE TALK AND DOUBLE STANDARDS…MAYBE THEY ARE REFERRING TO BEHAVIORS WHICH THEY REALLY WANT TO AVOID BECAUSE THAT WOULD UNDERMINE THEIR POINT THAT IT IS A DISEASE).

Ok, their news release gets better because the next paragraph says:

There is longstanding (I WOULD SAY THOUSANDS OF YEARS SINCE THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO WOULD QUALIFY AS “LONGSTANDING”) controversy over whether people with addiction have choice over antisocial and dangerous behaviors, said Dr. Raju Hajela, past president of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and chair of the ASAM committee on the new definition. He stated that “the disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them. (THEY DON’T WANT HELP TO STOP!) Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”

“Addiction is not a choice.” – Really? Tell that to God who deals with the choice of drunkenness repeatedly in the Bible (Deut. 21:18-21; Prov. 23:19-21; Prov. 23:29-35; Prov. 31:5-6; Eph. 5:18-21; I Cor. 5:11 & 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; I Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7). Jesus Himself never called it a “disease” but a choice (Matt. 11:19 & 24:49; Lk 7:34 & Lk 12:45).

Clearly, the Bible calls it a choice so mankind cannot change the TRUTH though man tries unsuccessfully to do so! No wonder their efforts at treatment and recovery are ineffective!

Now, here is what I don’t understand: If someone NEVER takes a drink of alcohol, do they still have the chronic disease of addiction? If they never drink alcohol, then they never have to deal with this “disease” because the “disease” never manifests. Isn’t that interesting? Hmmm…that is NOT the same for a DIABETIC whose disease manifests regardless just as a CANCER patient’s disease manifests, too! This is where their “disease” talk breaks down!

Last paragraph from their press release that I’d like to critique:

“Choice (CHOICE CANNOT BE AVOIDED COMPLETELY!) still plays an important role in getting help (THEY PUT CHOICE ON THE BACK END OF THE PROBLEM NOT THE FRONT END WHICH IS WHERE I TOTALLY DISAGREE – IT IS ON BOTH THE FRONT AND THE BACK END OF THE PROBLEM). While the neurobiology of choice may not be fully understood, a person with addiction must make choices for a healthier life in order to enter treatment and recovery (NOW, IT IS A CHOICE TO BE ABLE TO ENTER TREATMENT OR RECOVERY BUT IF I HAVE A DISEASE THAT I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AND IT IMPAIRS MY ABILITY TO CHOOSE, WHAT DO I DO? HOW WILL I EVER GET INTO TREATMENT? I CAN NEVER CHOOSE PROPERLY BECAUSE OF MY DISEASE SO I AM DOOMED!!!). Because there is no pill (YES AND AMEN) which alone can cure addiction, choosing (I CANNOT CHOOSE BECAUSE I HAVE A DISEASE IMPEDING MY JUDGMENT, YOU JUST SAID SO 2 PARAGRAPHS ABOVE) recovery over unhealthy behaviors (HERE IS THE JUDGMENT OF “UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS” AGAIN – WHO DETERMINES WHAT IS “HEALTHY” AND “UNHEALTHY”? I GUESS THESE DOCTORS THINK THEY DO BUT I KNOW DIFFERENTLY THAT IT IS TRULY GOD ALONE IN HIS WORD ALONE) is necessary,” Hajela said.

 Did you catch what Dr. Hajela just said to contradict himself? “Choosing recovery over unhealthy behaviors is necessary” because there is “no pill” that will “cure” the problem. So once again, these guys put it back on the addict to CHOOSE life and not death/unhealthy behaviors. Sounds like the Bible to me: choose life! Joshua 24:15 says: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Ok, ok. I’m done with this. Bottom line: Which is your higher authority: doctors or God?You can CHOOSE to BELIEVE these doctors or you can CHOOSE to BELIEVE God.  Either way, faith is required.

-Mark (thankful that God is NOT a liar and His Word is always true and dependable and that the news reports of mankind do NOT determine my reality – God determines my reality!)

Go to www.asam.org for an uninterrupted version of their new definition of addiction! Read it now because it will likely change down the road in several years! Truth be known, money has a lot to do with most of the changes in psychiatric disorders!