Addiction Ideology

alec ramsdell a_ramsdell at
Mon Jul 13 16:39:23 PDT 1998

Thank you Marta and Doyle for the clarifications-


>Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 11:31:51 -0800
>From: Doyle Saylor <djsaylor at>

>Hello everyone,
>Alec Ramsdell wrote July 13 1998:
>By saying "addicts can easily qualify . . ." I had in mind dual
>diagnosis. When I was at the treatment center I talked to others who
>had received disability through being additionally diagnosed with
>deppression by a psychiatrist. I saw a psychiatrist too and discovered
>it's not too difficult to be diagnosed with depression, you just don't
>even have to really ask nicely with some doctors, just as many doctors
>are pretty generous with doling out opiate pain-killers.
>Is the dual-diagnosis qualification true?
>A doctor knowing someone is an alchoholic would assume a late stage
>alchoholic is depressed because that is a standard effect of alchohol
>a mood depressor. The doc would hardly need to think about that one.
>That would be a medical cinch. It is not that simple in reality. I
>have a friend in Social Security benefits review process. They have
>docs for some addict to see. The doctor is paid for, and it is hard
>penniless addicts to have an alternative to the Social Security Doc.
>The Doc is biased to the Social Security system views. You might be an
>addict, but can you work? What is medical about such a diagnostic
>technique. But that is Doc-work nevertheless. And if you can work,
>then no you can't have the benefits. The process takes a long time.
>you fail to hang in there because you live on the streets, and get
>confused in the day to day, not just the month by month slow drip drip
>of Social Security, then off you go from the process to start again, or
>perhaps through an appeal stay stationary for months.
>My wife does peer counseling. She sees people in crisis. Again
>depression. Getting treatment for depression is very problematic. You
>need insurance to get the better kind. Suppose you threaten suicide.
>The system is designed to immediately alert the cops. Your treatment
>to be depressed and go to jail for a day, or go to county lockup in the
>psych ward. Then 72 hours later with some strong tranqs back on the
>street. That person is very clearly depressed. Not an addict, but
>can't get any kind of aid. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
>Nothing. And Nothing. Every day thousands of people in every damn
>major city in this country. Every layer of the process is about making
>it clear to you they can be as arbitrary as they want. If they make a
>mistake it is your fault. If you make a mistake, start all over again.
>The only point I'm trying to make is that in the U.S. by rejecting
>addiction as a qualification for Social Security benefits, the
>accompanying symptoms of addiction which result from long term physcial
>abuse do not necessarily qualify you for Social Security. There is a
>lengthy problematic process to run the gamut of. There is the fact
>depression or any other medical diagnosis does not by any means make
>itself into the right hands, or when in the hands of "qualified"
>evaluators get accurate judgements done. At best all that seems to
>happen is if the addict lives long enough, (more than a year really)
>they "may" find a way to qualify under other rules of eligibility.
>Doyle Saylor

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