PSH [Philip Seymour Hoffman] has died; discuss drugs and addiction here

To avoid more sidetracking and tangents from this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=714759

It would seem that you have tried to defend this “addiction is a disease” nonsense before. Addiction is a personal condition, but it’s not a disease.

And how is this related to PSH taking heroin and dying because of his addiction? His addiction was NOT a disease. As for Type II diabetes, are you saying that people who don’t watch what they eat, don’t exercise, and don’t take care of themselves but have the ability to do so are victims of circumstances and have no personal responsibility for their condition? So if I eat 3 Whoppers every day for lunch and dinner, and don’t exercise, I’m not to be held responsible for my plight? If I have the ability to eat a proper meal and I am physically able to exercise and make conscious choices not to, isn’t that my fault for getting Type II diabetes? Sounds to me like in your world that’s not my fault. It’s a disease!

Who put that burger in my mouth? Who stuck that needle in PSH’s arm? People should be held accountable for their choices which lead to bad consequences.

Developing addictions can happen to just about anyone, any race, sex, age, sexual orientation, or whatever other category you can divide people into. Addiction is NOT a disease. What does Native American Alcoholism rates have to do with anything here?

No kidding. I think most people who read my “sneezing” comment didn’t take it literally. As you correctly point out, most diseases are not passed through a sneeze. That was a poor attempt at hyperbole. However, addiction is NOT a disease. Addiction is not “caught” by anyone. Addiction is the result of behavior that is often the choice of the person who is addicted. If someone is prescribed pain killers and becomes addicted to them, that’s a by-product of the medication and how it affects the brain. That’s not the fault of the person taking the medicine. However, if the person continues to seek that medication out once the medical need for the medication is over instead of weening themselves off of the medication with the help and supervision of a doctor, the person is taking the responsibility of being addicted to that medication by their actions.

Maybe. Maybe not. However, even if your premise is true, Addiction is NOT a disease.

And yet… What?

And yet… What?

And yet, your information blurbs don’t change the point: addiction is NOT a disease.

That’s your point? Why didn’t you just say that? I can’t blame and shame PSH. HE’S DEAD. Maybe, if someone had the stones to get in his face and tell him he was risking his life, he’d still be here. You say “blaming and shaming addicts leads only to worse outcomes.” What’s worse than death? You seem to be trying to inject some rehab philosophy into this. I’m not talking about how to get someone to break their addiction. I’m talking about the idea that addiction is a disease. Addiction is NOT a disease.

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Yeah, you have me here. :rolleyes: demonizing addicts only leads to more deaths. I guess it’s a good thing no one said anything to PSH, then, right? Because it would have pushed him over the edge. Oh wait. He’s dead. And it would seem by his own hand. It would seem your idea of treating addicts as victims and having an illness just perpetuates the problem. After all, it’s not his fault he needed to pump heroin into his body. It was a disease. :rolleyes: :dubious:

Please.

I did not demonize addicts. If by saying that addiction is NOT a disease is demonizing addicts, you need to adjust your demonizing-meter.

I am not saying that addiction is not a real condition. I’m also not saying that it is exactly easy to break an addiction. However it can be and is done all the time.

How about this? Giving an addict an out by telling him that it is not his fault, but instead he suffers from a disease is not helping anyone except the burgeoning substance abuse/recovering industry. Doing this only leads to more deaths. Stop it.

No one said *anything * to him about his drug addiction?
Really?

Why not both?

Some fool spends 6 months on a coke fueled unprotected sex adventure in South Africa and comes back with HIV, he’s got a disease. A disease that is a direct result of bad choices, but he can’t just fix it by making better choices now.

PSH made bad choices in the past, and set his future self up for a drug fueled death. He can be pitied for being in a state that he had no control over, and blamed for putting himself in that state to begin with.

Actually, no - it isn’t.

Drug abuse and addiction is not a disease. It is the living embodiment of the phrase “you can’t fix stupid”. I don’t care how talented someone may be in their lives. Drug abuse and addiction is an incredibly stupid and incredibly selfish action. It is purely voluntary on the person’s part, and the sad thing is this: they know it’s stupid and they do it anyway.

Yes, Hoffman was a talented actor. But he pissed it away and died on a bathroom floor with a needle in his arm because he was stupid. And I have no sympathy for that.

right, now ask yourself how on earth it is possible that an intelligent person would continue to do it while they know it’s stupid and potentially lethal.

Addiction does not simply equal stupid. That’s the whole problem with it.

People do stupid things all the time, that they choose to do. Smoking is one example. Lacking some amount of self displine is a personal problem, not an addiction IMHO.

It does not work to stand in someone’s face and tell them they are going to kill themselves if they keep doing drugs, at least in my experience. I literally fought with my son over his drug use for 15 years, the last 8 or so being pretty intense. I used examples… see how this person died, see what happened here, you may not die but end being a vegetable… and on and on an on.

After several close calls, it finally came to be. He died of an overdose. He just never seemed to truly care. It was like talking to a brick wall. I believe addictions are probably a bit both genetic based as far as tendency to get addicted, but I am not so sure either it’s a disease or just plain I don’t give a crap… depression, or many other issues play into it. It gets complicated. And yes, I loved my son, but I did call his actions stupid many times. He had a SON to think about.

I am still dealing with a lot of anger over it, along with grief. ( It’s been less than a year , and his birthday is coming up in a few days , which probably is making me really sensitive to this issue)

Too many people have this attitude of ascribing most/all agency to the individual, with the implication that addiction is a choice. Behavior is shaped by past experiences, over which we often have no control. And anyone who was raised by neglectful or abusive parents is going to be more prone to addiction later in life. They may have witnessed drug use in their home as a child, so they internalized early on that drugs are just another thing adults do. They may have turned to food or alcohol for comfort at a young age, because every other aspect of their life was horribly shitty. Especially when the positives of their substance of choice feel like they outweigh the negatives, which they usually do early on.

I have a cousin who struggles with a heroin addiction, and it’s very easy to see why. Her mom has treated her like shit at the expense of her brother (who could do no wrong) her entire life. She’s made some horrible choices, but at the end of the day she’s chasing the things that make her feel good to compensate for the void her mother left inside her. CPS was called on my aunt multiple times, and she even lost her kids for awhile when they were tweens (my mom took them in, my sister and I were in our mid-teens at the time). But the system sucks, because they let her have the kids back about 6 months later.

I still think everyone should be allowed to take whatever drugs they want.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that most people know this and would probably stay away from it…if we weren’t human and beholden to our nature.

The average person gets hooked not because they perform a faulty risk analysis, but because they first experience it while they have lowered inhibitions. You go out for your 21st, get plastered on booze and someone offers a hit of coke. Your brain doesn’t go “WHOA HOLD ON THERE.” It goes “Well alright!”

In addition, depending on your current maturity level, you can get peer pressured into something like that all the way up to 25. “Everyone’s doing it, maaaaaaan” actually works. And one can hurf and blurf about personal responsibility, but we were ALL like that. We all did stupid things. Some of them were incredibly so, but for every dumbass who was pulled behind a car on a skateboard in traffic that got his ribs broken, there were 100 people who only sprained something while jumping off a roof and missing a pool.

Celebrities are also a different animal. There is no end of drugs that half of them walk around with and use like it ain’t no thang. If you don’t use, you are ostracized. so you dust a bit, shoot up a bit, whatever. Then some of the celebs go and die on the floor of a bathroom while most of the others are still using and aren’t on a trajectory towards the molten core of the earth.

And that’s the problem: For every horror story you hear about some person self destructing on drugs, there’s probably five that use them functionally and without much issue. This isn’t to say there isn’t a problem, but acting like it’s a puritan yes or no choice isn’t useful to the discussion.

I suppose my comment in the other thread would have better fit here, so:

Rachellelogram, what you stated may be true in many cases, but not all. I can tell you for SURE neither my son’s father nor I did drugs or abused him or neglected him… in fact, he had a pretty damn good childhood. I have another son who went through mulitiple surgeries as a teen and stayed on painkillers for years through the surgeries and won’t touch any sort of drug.

But on the other hand, I do believe there is merit in what you are saying, that CAN be the case.

Just not always.

I too think drugs are over regulated. As I said, no amount of rehab, or him seeing what drug addiction did to others seemed to phase him. It just didn’t register with him. He did go through a bad breakup with his child’s mother who also did drugs. And I believe that she was an influence. However he was a grown man , and not only that, a grown man who I took to doctors to receive care for his depression and tried to help in any way I could. What the hell else I could have done I do not know…

It puts a heavy burden on many parents and families and friends to point fingers and say it’s because of their circumstances… because while true in some circumstances, I’ve just seen too many cases having been exposed to that whole world where that is not the case.

I’ve seen kids raised in families with multiple children and all seem to turn out fine, expect for that one who just can’t seem to get it together. So it’s got to be a bit more complicated than blaming on environment alone.

And I’m not blaming it on the person ( or my son in this case) … I always said he was a troubled soul right from the time he hit puberty, he seemed to go through some change. He never felt good enough, he never thought he had enough, he always felt he was entitled to more, he never understood personal responsibility.

I sound like a conservative lunatic, when actually I’m way too liberal for my own good… don’t I? I really believe we put too many people in prison over drugs,we spend far too much money on stupid drug wars and it accomplishes nothing.

I also found it hard to get my son help because of our limited financial means. I couldn’t afford the expensive rehab, so he got the kind where he would take too much of something and they would put him in the mental institution for a few days and call him all fixed … the system fails people, and I don’t KNOW the answer. God I wish I did… I’ve seen this happen to far too many families. It destroys families, it leaves a gaping hole of unanswered questions…

There is no help for people on drugs unless you have money and clearly, even that doesn’t help often times. Just look at the celebrities that have overdosed over the years…

So anyone who says they know the answer, I call bs on…

The harsh fact of the matter is that it’s not a simple problem. Everything that both Rachellelogram and myself said is absolutely true, even though they somewhat contradict each other.

Addiction, like almost any other biological process, is not a social problem. It’s an individual problem. You can have some people who are completely fine on most drugs and then have people who are powerless against them. How those particular chemicals affect and mix with the chemicals already in your brain soup depends on pretty much everything: Past experience, maturity, particular emotional state at the time, biological resistance to any of the chemicals present, and so forth.

Turn and look at an actual disease, even something as simple as the flu. Some people get violently ill and pray to the porcelain goddess for a few days. Other people get a fever for half a day and are then absolutely fine. It’s all an intricate dance played out based upon your meat sack’s unique internal geography.

You have my sincerest sympathies for the loss of your son, however.

Yes, I agree absolutely. I think I’m just overly sensitive to the subject because it was so frustrating to NOT be able to figure out how to help him… and I don’t mean to offend anyone , as every one’s opinions are valuable and valid. Thank you btw for your sympathies …

I probably need to just read and not post on this one.

Post all you want. Posters in this thread may be able to give you the only thing that will help you over the long term: understanding.

I hate to be cliche, but the only one who could have helped him was him. Only after he made the decision to try and get better* could you be there as his support to help him with his issues.

*for other readers: some drug users do this to manipulate you, treat each situation individually and use your good judgement about when and how to help.

Drugs are bad, m’kay?

Drug addicts have to want to get better before they can get better. They have to ask for help. How many of you enjoy asking for help and admitting you can’t do something on your own?

PSH asked for, and received, help many times. Did he relapse because of weak will? Did external circumstances weaken him? Or did mental illness?

One thing about drugs is that it’s not just bravely saying no once, being strong once, it’s saying no a thousand times a day, every day, and saying no to something pleasurable or pain-relieving. Recidivism is about 25% in drug courts, 50-80% for alcoholism.

Combating this issue has to be more than saying “Get over it.” If only because saying that isn’t working. What is a practical and successful way to prevent drug overdoses in users?

The disease model of addiction describes an addiction as a disease with biological, neurological, genetic, and environmental sources of origin.[1] The traditional medical model of disease requires only that an abnormal condition be present that causes discomfort, dysfunction, or distress to the individual afflicted. The contemporary medical model attributes addiction, in part, to changes in the brain’s mesolimbic pathway.[2] The medical model also takes into consideration that such disease may be the result of other biologic, psychologic, or sociologic entities despite an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms of these entities.

According to the disease model, the onset and development of addiction are influenced though genetic predisposition and environmental factors. These hypotheses would explain the result of adoption and twin studies that have been carried out, indicating that twins separated at birth have a higher likelihood of concordance for addictive disease than would be expected were there not a genetic component, and indicating that these twins have a lower likelihood of concordance for addictive disease than do twins who remain together in identical environments.[3]

From Wikipedia

So this just comes down to how the word “disease” is defined?

It seems entirely reasonable to me that the people affected by an addict’s addiction will have complicated reactions. If Hoffman had gotten behind the wheel while high and killed a father of three, I think we would have no hesitation at being angry toward him for what he did, even while fully understanding the nature of addiction. Here, the father of three that he killed was himself, but there are still three children left behind. I can understand having multiple reactions all at once to Hoffman’s death, one of which being angry at him just as one would be angry at a drunk driver.