Whether alcoholism and other addictions are a choice or a medical disease process is being fiercely debated, including in several social media groups I belong to, such as social work groups, grief groups, and pretty much anywhere the topic could arise.
There are those who argue that since some can overcome their addictions, it’s clearly a choice and the others just aren’t trying hard enough. Those in this camp come across as insistent, angry and unbudge-able in their contempt for the user who cannot – will not – clean up their act.
I’m of the opinion – based on years of work in the social services field, my knowledge of the struggles of some friends, and personal experience of someone very close to me who died in large part because of his alcoholism, that addictions, like cancers, heart disease and diabetes, are a complicated mix of genetics, environment and – to a lesser extent – choice.
According to a recent WebMD article:
Not only are you more likely to drink alcohol if your eyes are blue, you’re also at a higher risk of becoming addicted to it, according to a 2015 study. It’s possible that genetic linkages and othert variables may also be involved.
If additional studies can replicate these findings, it could change the way we presently view alcoholism, and start a process of eliminating the shaming that is so prevalent now…. goodness knows, shaming has never worked in the past, so why so many – including some social workers – are insistent on continuing is beyond me.
Other resources on the topic:
Missouri Medicine – The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association
Eye Color Linked to Alcoholism Risk | Live Science
The Strange Link Between Blue Eyes and Alcohol Addiction Risk
Categories: Alcoholism & Substance Abuse