Is obesity a disease?
Is alcoholism disease?
Recently my husband, Matthew and I had a conversation about this and today something brought it to mind again. Seeing as I have struggled in both areas I am only speaking from my experience. This is just my thoughts, I’m not an expert in this field, I have just lived it.
When I was morbidly obese and given a death sentence, I guess I saw the benefits of my obesity being called a disease. It definitely caused a lot of disease. It caused my diabetes, it caused my fatty liver disease, it caused the joint degeneration disease to rapidly increase, it caused the cysts on my kidney, and it attributed to my depression. It also caused my hypertension.
When I struggled with drinking too much, it caused a lot of trouble also. It skewed my judgement, made me lose track of myself, and time. It attributed greatly to my obesity and my depression.
Now, when I think about these things, I think that I can see why they are now being classified as disease, but I also think that it removes human responsibility. It completely removes “action causes an equal reaction” rule when we talk about consequences.
If we over eat, we get fat. If we continue to over eat, we get fatter. We cause our bodies harm. We hurt ourselves by not having self-control. This is a result of our choice to eat too much of the wrong food. If we do this long enough and yo-yo up and down we do cause disease that makes it impossible or near to impossible to lose the weight. It becomes a disease, but it starts off with a choice.
It’s the same with alcohol. See, I knew that it was in my blood to have a problem controlling alcohol usage but I didn’t pay it a lot of mind. I chose to drink, I chose to not pay mind to the advice I was given and before I knew it I almost lost control over it. It all started with a choice.
I can see where calling both of these things, obesity and alcoholism, a disease, would benefit a lot of people. When something is called a disease, it removes personal responsibility. Insurance companies are more likely to pay for the treatment of it. People are less likely to judge your bad choices as that because they say, “Well, they have a disease, they can’t help it.” It’s a cop-out. I don’t believe it and I will no longer be buying into it. I may stand alone but that’s okay, it’s better to have a clear conscious and stand alone than to buy into something that you know is wrong.
When we are able to see clearly that we are making a choice in these matters, we can begin to heal from our choices. Do I think that food and alcohol can be addictive? Yes. Do I think that we have a choice of whether we allow that to happen? Yes. Addiction happens when we allow the things we are addicted to, to have control in over us. It doesn’t stem from disease, it’s not a matter of having willpower to withstand it, it comes down to choice. Do we choose to do what is right for ourselves or do we choose what makes us feel good at the moment? Do we choose health or the sickness that these bad choices bring?
Disease or Choice? I guess every person has to choose for themselves.