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December 05, 2008

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yanub

I certainly wouldn't call EDS a disease. I am not even certain about calling it a disorder. A condition, yes, that makes sense. A heritable condition that has its plusses and minuses, though some people mostly get the plusses and others mostly get the minuses. Even addiction--well, maybe the ability to become addicted isn't so bad. Maybe people who become addicted have some other associated trait that is a good thing, the way being able to easily pick things up off the floor with our toes is a good EDS thing, or wash our backs without a scrubby, or clean the bottom of ice tea glasses without a special brush. The doctors always ask me why I don't take XYZ medicine everyday as prescribed, and my answer is always the same. I just can't get into the habit. And I wonder, maybe having a propensity for acquiring habits is something addictive personalities have that I don't.

Autism--there's something else I don't think of as a disease or a disorder or a malady. It's a condition, too. Not necessarily bad, not necessarily something to get rid of. Something to take into account and live with. Like being lefthanded or having oily skin.

Seizures, though, that's a disorder and something it would be nice to have cured, no matter what the condition that brings them about. And a dislocation or hemorhage--those need to be cured. And a health-threatening addiction, like heroin or tobacco, needs to be cured.

Now I'm wondering...it's the normal, healthy condition for humans to have certain bacteria on our skin and in our guts. But either too much or not enough of any particular type can make us virulently ill--can cause disease. Maybe, then, what disease is is a lack of balance.

Well, this appears to be making less and less sense, so I appear to have come to a natural end. Good bye, cruel paragraph!

One Sick Mother

Yanub,

Yes. I hear you on the lack of balance thing; the whole "hemeostasis" issue. I totally get that (because I'm there).

And indeed the same argument may translate to alcoholism and other addictions. That people are self-medicating to redress an imbalance is certainly possible, and indeed is well documented in some conditions, most notably bipolar disorder.

It is easy to talk oneself into a circle on this stuff, isn't it?

But it's an interesting topic to explore, all the same.

Lisa Moon

Late comment, but here it is nonetheless.

I've wondered the same thing, actually!

I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as, and still often referred to as, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). CRPS develops often after an injury - even a very mild one - which triggers a reaction in the nervous system... it's a syndrome, which means mostly that they still don't know all the Whys and Hows, and are still learning so much. In a nutshell, the nervous system is 'stuck' in the phase of acute injury, even when the injury is healed. It also progresses, causing muscle spasms and can lead to bone density loss and more.

I didn't 'catch' anything contagious and I don't have something growing, like a tumour (thankfully). Although I've seen people refer to CRPS/RSD as a disease, I tend to think it more fits the term 'disorder' or perhaps 'condition'.

I have to say, I've used the word disease when trying to convey a sense of severity in a couple of situations where the explanation was extremely limited.

Also, when I was in school studying social work, we did cover topics of addiction. I, too, questioned the use of disease for alcoholism, to some controversy. It seems like a way to deflect responsibility, which doesn't seem to fit with my understanding of recovery; doesn't one need to take responsibility for their alcohol use/abuse?

I certainly do NOT want to offend or hurt anyone with my thoughts.

Your comments above about self-medicating is also quite an interesting point. But as you say to 'redress and imbalance' is that disease, or dysfunction?

Might be splitting hairs to some, but it's certainly rich fodder for thought! Thanks for the posting. :)

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