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"Addiction" versus "Dependence"

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  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Posts: 1,431Member Member Posts: 1,431Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.
  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    This is true. But are there any circumstances where someone would HAVE to risk arrest to get a brownie? They are inexpensive and legal. We are arguing a distinction that is not relevant to the definition.

    Obviously there are biiig differences in types of and degrees of addiction.

  • makingmarkmakingmark Posts: 672Member Member Posts: 672Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    makingmark wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

    Exactly.

    Cigarettes are addicting; but people don't steal from there family etc...to engage in this addiction.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,504Member Member Posts: 9,504Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    @lemurcat12 hit on a valid point. There's a biiiiiiiig difference between "I'm craving these cookies so much that I'm going to eat them even though they will make me fat" and "I'm craving cookies so badly that I'm willing to steal from family members, abandon relationships and sell my body for a hit of tollhouse."

    That's right.

    But the definition doesn't require that people steal from people before you have an addiction. It just says you have to engage in harmful behavior. Knowingly making yourself obese is harmful, even if it isn't exactly like crack cocaine. That's just what the word means, according to the OP.
    edited May 2016
  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Posts: 1,431Member Member Posts: 1,431Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    makingmark wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

    Exactly.

    Cigarettes are addicting; but people don't steal from there family etc...to engage in this addiction.

    Sure they do. You don't think no one's ever taken a few dollars out of a family member's wallet to buy a pack of cigarettes when they're broke?

    Yes, the brownie thing is a false equivalent. They're not illegal, they're readily available, and if you can't have a brownie, you can have ice cream or a cookie or some other sweet. But I do think availability is a huge contributor to the "addiction" - if it weren't readily available, I don't think self-proclaimed sugar addicts would suffer physically or mentally on the same scale as a drug addict.
  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    makingmark wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

    Exactly.

    Cigarettes are addicting; but people don't steal from there family etc...to engage in this addiction.

    Sure they do. You don't think no one's ever taken a few dollars out of a family member's wallet to buy a pack of cigarettes when they're broke?

    Yes, the brownie thing is a false equivalent. They're not illegal, they're readily available, and if you can't have a brownie, you can have ice cream or a cookie or some other sweet. But I do think availability is a huge contributor to the "addiction" - if it weren't readily available, I don't think self-proclaimed sugar addicts would suffer physically or mentally on the same scale as a drug addict.

    No, it's not on the same scale.
  • snikkinssnikkins Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    In my days as a therapist, although food issues was never my specialty, I remember someone sitting in my office in tears because they went to multiple fast food drive-throughs the evening before because they were ashamed to have the fast food workers see how much they were eating.

    The emotional pain was real, and the behavior was dangerous and dysfunctional.

    No this person didn't steal from relatives, or spend the night in prison. But clinically, this behavior fits the criteria for addictive behavior.

    Now is this as bad or dangerous as drug addiction? No.

    Incidentally, in this example, the person was NOT trying to say it was not his/her fault.



    I think you're getting to the part where it's appropriate to point out that most mental health diagnoses come with a list and you have to hit a certain number of behaviors on the list before you qualify (3 of 5 behaviors; at least 5; etc.).

    Sure, you can say this behavior fits the clinical criteria for addiction, 1 out of how many? It's like me triangulating someone in an argument once doesn't make me borderline.
  • zyxstzyxst Posts: 9,154Member Member Posts: 9,154Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    makingmark wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

    Exactly.

    Cigarettes are addicting; but people don't steal from there family etc...to engage in this addiction.

    I did. Stole plenty to keep smoking. Also did a few more questionable things to get a smoke. When I "need" a smoke, I did whatever to get it. Tobacco is easy to get because it is legal and not many people realize how far someone is willing to go to get their fix. Never assume because a substance is legal that someone won't commit illegal acts to get it.

    Though I don't have an ED or out-of-control eating, I did steal a fair bit of food from shops when I was child, usually because I couldn't afford to buy what I wanted.
  • 2011rocket3touring2011rocket3touring Posts: 1,350Member Member Posts: 1,350Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Generally, from what I've experienced here on MFP, when people say "I'm addicted to sugar" they are really saying two things:
    1) It's not my fault I'm fat
    2) Sugar is the devil...
    Sugar IS the devil!
    I've recently been "enjoying" sugar withdrawal. Trying to get as close as possible to my MFP numbers I've cut down most of my sugar and have had headaches as a result which will hopefully go away over time.
  • stevencloserstevencloser Posts: 8,917Member Member Posts: 8,917Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Generally, from what I've experienced here on MFP, when people say "I'm addicted to sugar" they are really saying two things:
    1) It's not my fault I'm fat
    2) Sugar is the devil...
    Sugar IS the devil!
    I've recently been "enjoying" sugar withdrawal. Trying to get as close as possible to my MFP numbers I've cut down most of my sugar and have had headaches as a result which will hopefully go away over time.
    Low carb flu is not sugar withdrawal.
  • Carlos_421Carlos_421 Posts: 5,073Member Member Posts: 5,073Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    @lemurcat12 hit on a valid point. There's a biiiiiiiig difference between "I'm craving these cookies so much that I'm going to eat them even though they will make me fat" and "I'm craving cookies so badly that I'm willing to steal from family members, abandon relationships and sell my body for a hit of tollhouse."

    I woul argue that the 600 pound person who persists in overeating despite being bedridden fits your definition. In extreme examples, people have devistated their families.

    But the degree of damage you describe is NOT required for something to be a clinical addiction.

    600 lb people are willing to commit crimes for a hit of sugar when vegetables and lean proteins are available?? They're so desperate for a fix of candy that they'll directly engage in dangerous activity to get it???

    Come on...obesity can be harmful to family members who have to care for sick and dying loved ones, sure...
    But fat people are fat because of consistently eating in a surplus...not because they're so desperate for a hit of sucrose that they're willing to do whatever they can to get it.

    Wow...
  • Carlos_421Carlos_421 Posts: 5,073Member Member Posts: 5,073Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Generally, from what I've experienced here on MFP, when people say "I'm addicted to sugar" they are really saying two things:
    1) It's not my fault I'm fat
    2) Sugar is the devil...
    Sugar IS the devil!
    I've recently been "enjoying" sugar withdrawal. Trying to get as close as possible to my MFP numbers I've cut down most of my sugar and have had headaches as a result which will hopefully go away over time.

    Sugar =\= caffeine
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    makingmark wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    @msemotan I think a lot of people who start threads like that do so with the same intent as you - trying to be silly/funny /witty/generally make light of the situation while reaching out for strategies on how to limit their sugar consumption.

    Yeah, I agree with this, and don't want to seem like some humorless word police. When this is the intent I don't usually say anything and just give strategies, since I know what the person means and I understand the non-serious use of the term or the frustration being expressed.

    What bugs me (although I try to not argue, just disagree) are things where it's clear the direct comparison is intended or, especially, where it's asserted it's just like heroin (or whatever) or often "even worse than any other addiction, since you can't stop eating food." Yeah, it's just not.

    Ugh, tell me about it. I know a cocaine addict who's nearly been busted on airlines twice traveling with the stuff, but he keeps doing it because he can't imagine going a whole trip without it. Let me know the next time someone risks arrest because they can't go a few days without a brownie.

    If brownies were illegal there would be a huge number of arrests I am sure. Not a valid argument

    I seriously doubt it. (Well, people likely would not respect the law, so would violate it, but I don't think the craving for a brownie is ever such that you would risk arrest.)
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    The problem with this is that bad eating behaviors are easily and fully explained (in most cases) by a combination of habit and people being horrible at weighing consequences when those consequences are long-term vs. short-term. If eating one cookie (or having one bad eating day) directly caused serious negative consequences and people still did it, that would be one thing, but I bet given a choice between a "cheat" day and heart disease or a "cheat" day and their job, virtually none of the self-proclaimed sugar addicts on MFP would choose the "cheat" day (those suffering from BED may be an exception, but I think BED is a separate thing).

    I'm not sure how any of what you just said is different from a mild drug addiction, I've known people who smoke marijuana every day, it's also explained as a habit and people making poor choices. Smoking one joint didn't directly cause these people to be broke, it's all of the joints they smoked. The one who failed a drug test, wouldn't have chosen a smoke over his job, it's just the way it happened. Most of society would call it an addiction because drugs are involved; change it to food and you're certain it's not an addiction even though we've just described exactly the same sets of behaviors. That's weird.

    Are they addicted? Do they think they are? (Failing a drug test, unless it was a surprise, seems like a pretty good sign, though. If you knew you'd be tested for brownie consumption -- let's pretend that's possible -- and nevertheless ate one the day before, then that would be an addiction in my mind. I don't see that happening other than in quite rare circumstances (the eating addiction I mentioned above).)

    The consequences that addicts willingly face are typically more immediate, and they make choices -- or are on a path where they will make choices -- to put the addiction over all else. I don't think that's the case with people who struggle with food other than the rare eating addict. Yes, getting obese is bad for your health, but you aren't choosing to eat brownies over your family. You simply don't believe that one brownie or one more day is going to make a difference and perhaps don't believe that cutting down on the brownies will matter that much. This is why understanding the consequences and LOGICAL thinking about food choices and how diet works is so important. They would never say "I care about my brownie more than anything else," even secretly to themselves -- again, with the rare exception. This is normally not what's being discussed on MFP, and it's certainly not the main reason for obesity. Obesity has much more pragmatic solutions and focusing it on this idea that fat people must be addicted or how could they let themselves get fat is really unhelpful IMO, as well as just wrong.
    edited May 2016
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