ADDICTION: Sin or Sickness?
1. What the Bible says:
Noah Genesis 9:21
The Effects of too much alcohol PROVERBS 23:20-35
2. What is a Disease?
Psychological illness: Any mental or psychological condition (In the areas of perception, emotions, thinking, volition or behaviour) that would:-
1. Impair productivity (work or education roles)
A classification (nosological) history of the term:
DSM I(1952): Addiction and Alcoholism put under Personality Disorder, Psychopathic Personality Disturbance;
DSM II(1968): The term is replaced by "drug dependence" incompletely separated from personality disorder;
DSM III(1985) and DSM IV (1994):
ICD Classification followed a parallel route but ICD 10 (1992) is almost similar to DSM IV.
Although the terms Substance dependence and Substance Abuse are the more "officially" scientific terms, addiction is still maintained as a term in a number of scientific and official organizations, journals and publications.
3. Addiction as disease: Primary or Secondary?
Addiction as Primary Disease (not caused by anything else)
AA, NA, 12 Steps, The Minnesota Model....etc.
Addiction causes depression, anxiety, antisocial behaviour and psychotic symptoms.
Addiction as Secondary Disease
A manifestation of a psychodynamic disturbance
The popular disease concept:
Genetics: Twins and adoption..
The Naive Disease Concept
You treat me: If I have a disease, you're the Doctor, treat me!
May be I (the addict) am not responsible but I can and must do something now. In many diseases the patient has to change his life style if he wants to improve or recover e.g. hypertension, angina, allergies, asthma...etc.
It is interesting that those who advocate the disease concept most vigorously advocate spiritually, reliance on God and spiritual growth with the same vigour.
4. What is Sin?
1. Popular (Non-Christian) sense; Something you do that: is hurting others:
is bad and you can stop doing it if you choose.
5. Addiction as Sin
1. No help is needed. If they choose to they will stop it. They just need to pull themselves together.
1. Sin is not overcome without grace. Grace is normally mediated through people and relationships, the 'normal' sinner needs our help as much as a sinner who happens to be an addict too. Proclaiming God's grace is a demanding commission.
Addiction as Sin: The particular picture.
Pre-occupation with one's favourite sin.
"Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgement, but those of some men follow later" 1 Tim 5:24
6. Proposed formulation : Addiction as both Sin and disease;
Sin can be manifested in :
Disease (Primary, secondary or both);
Through genetic, psycho-dynamic, social learning socio-economic, and other factors help in determining the ways sin is manifested;
Some people appear to vulnerable to some forms of sin this is the disease concept.
The disease can make discipleship (spiritual growth) more difficult. Yet makes the need of it more evident. Treating the disease without treating sin is possible, but sin will manifest itself in another way.
Our task is to deal with both.
12 steps programmes great success related to the spiritual/faith element.
Therapeutic communities, and existential approaches dealing with emptiness and despair. Breaking the extreme social and human isolation.
Even cognitive approaches speak of lifestyle change, and commend "religious belief" as helpful.
7. Addiction Affects:
The addict's health (physical, mental, spiritual)
Relationships and family (breakdown)
Society (Crime, Health, Social fabric)