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Doctor insights on: Why Are People Referring To Alcoholism As A Disease Not A Lifestyle Choice

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Dr. Kevin Passer
1,575 doctors shared insights

Alcoholism (Definition)

Also known as alcohol use disorder, is an addiction characterized by increased cravings, consumption, and failed efforts to ...Read more


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I know that doctors are not totally in agreement as to whether obesity is a disease. What about whether obesity is psychological or physical?

Excellent question!!: Obesity is a condition that may result from another illness but it almost always will lead to "secondary" illnesses such as hypertension, type ii diabetes, degenerative joint disease, reflux, sleep apnea, heart disease, etc. The primary cause of obesity in america today is a combination of poor diet management and too little physical exercise. Psychology plays a huge role, which is great for tx! ...Read more

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Can you please explain why cirrhosis is not considered a disease found in young people?

Can you please explain why cirrhosis is not considered a disease found in young people?

It could be: It depends on what you consider young. The reason cirrhosis is considered a disease of mid to older age people, is because it goes unrecognized for years. It can be present in your 20's, although much more infrequently. Cirrhosis = scars in the liver and that takes time, occurs because of chronic inflammation (from viral hepatitis, alcohol, metabolic, fatty liver, etc.) if concerned, see a doctor. ...Read more

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Alcoholics are considered to have a disease, but smokers, for example, are just addicted. Is there a double standard?

Alcoholics are considered to have a disease, but smokers, for example, are just addicted. Is there a double standard?

See below : No double standard. Both suffer from the disease of addiction. However, nicotine (from cigarettes) are more addictive in that a greater percentage of total smokers use compulsively suggesting that this addiction occurs with minimal biological predisposition. ...Read more

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What are the most effective ways a person can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease if there is a family history? Assume already healthy lifestyle

What are the most effective ways a person can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease if there is a family history? Assume already healthy lifestyle

Several things: Control risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetis, check you lipid profile and keep LDL below recommended level according to your risk factors, no smoking, decrease sress, excercise frequently but not excessively. Taking some medication otc like 81 mg aspirin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin d and c supplements can be helpful although no strong evidence in healthy persons. ...Read more

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Is it good or not for people with autoimmune disease to consume herbal medicine?

Is it good or not for people with autoimmune disease to consume herbal medicine?

Can be good if...: There are literally thousands of herbs with medicinal benefits. Some of these may be very beneficial for people with autoimmune disease and some may aggravate their condition. People with autoimmune disease should not take herbs without professional guidance, but with the help of an herbalist, naturopath or holistic md, medicinal herbs individualized for you can be extremely beneficial. ...Read more

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Is it common for a teen with mctd or any autoimmune disease to turn to using illegal drugs? If so why?

Is it common for a teen with mctd or any autoimmune disease to turn to using illegal drugs? If so why?

No link: Drug addiction is an individual trait although one can understand that those who are in constant pain and discomfort may be more prone to take mood-altering drugs. ...Read more

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Can you please explain why alcoholism is a disease and other addictions are just addictions?

Complex Diseases: All are complex chronic diseases, not just the disease of alcoholism. Alcohol is just another drug. Like most chronic disease, addiction has genetic and environmental factors; requires lifestyle modifications commitment, finding the best treatment and avoiding that which makes the individual vulnerable to his disease. True for addiction, diabetes, high cholesterol. Promise of health, hope--awaits. ...Read more

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What do you call a disease which you were born with that is not pathological b/c you unconsciously compensated for it with your lifestyle?

What do you call a disease which you were born with that is not pathological b/c you unconsciously compensated for it with your lifestyle?

Congenital: Congenital- refers to a disease that a person is born with. This can be due to genetics such as sickle cell anemia, malformation during pregnancy such a hole in one's heart or exposure such as fetal alchol syndrome. Some congenital diseases are obvious at birth others become more apparent later in life such as severe high cholesterol/lipids causing early heart attack and stroke. ...Read more

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Should prediabetic person treat himself as diabetic in eating and life style? Or it is not a serious thing to consider.

Should prediabetic person treat himself as diabetic in eating and life style? Or it is not a serious thing to consider.

Definitely: It's all just different stages in a long-term progression. Diet, exercise and weight loss plus education and maybe even medication are essentially. ...Read more

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Can you believe that alcoholism is a disease?

Yes: Like other diseases, alcoholism has strong genetic links- moral weakness does not. Like diabetes, alcoholism requires lifestyle changes, commitment to an entire pattern of living, and sometimes involves the entire family. Alcoholism is a sometimes relapsing brain disease for which successful treatment has been found. Approaches tailored to each patient save lives. Chronic means no quick fix. ...Read more

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If some people are more athletic due to good genes, can there be a genetic influence on how much exercise is healthy for you?

If some people are more athletic due to good genes, can there be a genetic influence on how much exercise is healthy for you?

Probably: However, since no one knows anything about this, and it's really impossible to study scientifically (since the benefits of exercise are long-term and experiments can only be conducted short-term), take this experienced physician's advice -- find some kind of exercise you enjoy doing, and do it, and if you have someone to join you, count yourself lucky. And thanks for an excellent question. ...Read more

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What is ubiquinol? And why would someone with dysautnomia take it; I am not but in a support group with those who try "other methods of treatment"

What is ubiquinol? And why would someone with dysautnomia take it; I am not but in a support group with those who try "other methods of treatment"

Pop treatment: This is an interesting biomolecule that's part of our body chemistry within our mitochondria. There's some interesting work in some high-level journals and it's probably inexpensive and safe. It's been promoted as protecting muscle from damage by statins. I can't see any harm in her experimenting; most dysautonomias are mysterious enough in any case. Wishing her luck.. ...Read more

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Ex-Abuser curious to find out if drug abuse is considered a strong risk for developing diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis? Thank you :)

Ex-Abuser curious to find out if drug abuse is considered a strong risk for developing diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis? 
Thank you :)

Interesting question: At this time, answer is a definitive NO, as we do not find either legal or illegal drugs associated with MS risk factors. Some drugs, such as amphetamines, and cocaine, and METH, cause risk of stroke and/or heart attacks, and other drugs can cause Parkinson's like symptoms. But not MS. ...Read more

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Interested to know if people with MS have to take injections as a part of treatment?

Interested to know if people with MS have to take injections as a part of treatment?

Not necessarily: Although historically self injections were employed, now we have three oral agents and one monthly infusion. Various pts require different approaches, but the injectables are rapidly being phased out due to convenience, and efficacy of newer oral agents. ...Read more

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What are considered the most effective carbs for a person with type 2 diabetes to eat?

What are considered the most effective carbs for a person with type 2 diabetes to eat?

No: To control diabetes, the best way is to control the total calories based on the body weight. Carbs proportion should be reduced. There is no evidence indicating one kind of carbs better than others. ...Read more

Dr. Heidi Fowler
405 doctors shared insights

Alcohol Dependence (Definition)

Alcohol and any other form of dependence can be thought of as a need to drink, not to feel good, but rather, in an effort ...Read more