Is alcoholism a disease Is alcoholism hereditary Is alcoholism a disease or disorder Is alcoholism inherited Is alcoholism curable Is alcoholism a myth Is alcoholism a disability Is alcoholism a mental illness Is alcoholism a choice Is alcoholism an addic. Why is Alcoholism a Disease? The Disease Theory of Addiction, Destination Hope Men s Program

“Why do people consider alcoholism a disease?” Is alcoholism.

These are two commonly asked questions about alcoholism that can be answered by the Disease Theory of Alcoholism.

The Disease Theory of Alcoholism became widely accepted in the medical community around the end of World War II, just two years after the repeal of Prohibition. This theory states that alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that can be systematically diagnosed, observed, understood, treated, and even prevented.

The diagnosis of alcoholism under the Disease Theory is made based on four symptoms, according to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:

Developing a tolerance for alcohol so that more is needed to get the desired effects

The onset of withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued

Is alcoholism a disease Is alcoholism hereditary Is alcoholism a disease or disorder Is alcoholism inherited Is alcoholism curable Is alcoholism a myth Is alcoholism a disability Is alcoholism a mental illness Is alcoholism a choice Is alcoholism an addic

A loss of control over the amount and frequency of drinking

Experiencing negative consequences as a result of drinking, such as relationship problems and poor health

Like other chronic diseases, alcoholism can go into remission, and it can relapse. There is no cure, only recovery.

Implications of the Disease Theory of Alcoholism

The Disease Theory enables both society and the person with alcoholism to see people who are addicted to alcohol as sick people trying to become well, as with any other disease. It’s a theory that’s brimming with hope for recovery through complete abstinence, medical interventions and therapies that draw on a number of scientific disciplines, and self-help programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Long before the Disease Theory of Alcoholism was adopted by the medical community and society at large, drinking alcohol was widely accepted, but being drunk wasn’t, according to the Baldwin Research Institute. Drunkenness was seen not as the cause of violence and crime, but rather as an indication that an individual was capable of engaging in those behaviors. As such, being drunk was considered deviant and undesirable, and people were less likely to over-imbibe.

Is alcoholism a disease Is alcoholism hereditary Is alcoholism a disease or disorder Is alcoholism inherited Is alcoholism curable Is alcoholism a myth Is alcoholism a disability Is alcoholism a mental illness Is alcoholism a choice Is alcoholism an addic

The disease model removed the stigma of alcoholism and, in doing so, opened the doors to compassion and acceptance by society and removed some of the burden of responsibility from the individual.

What the Detractors Say

But some say that this is precisely the problem with the Disease Theory of Alcoholism. Once the stigma was removed, drinking – and drinking heavily – became socially acceptable, and even the liquor industry embraced the theory because it implied that most people can drink freely without the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol, according to addiction experts Reid Hester and Nancy Sheeby, who believe that this theory effectively removed personal choice and responsibility from the equation.

The Baldwin Institute agrees, suggesting that the Disease Theory’s central idea of alcoholism requiring medical intervention transferred the responsibility of problem drinking from the individual to the caretaker.

The New Disease Model

According to an article published in the Western Journal of Medicine, new research that’s emerged since the the early days of the Disease Theory of Alcoholism has found genetic predispositions to alcoholism, and risk factors for alcoholism have been identified that relate to deficiencies in certain neurochemicals.

These and other findings, according to the author, indicate that alcoholism is a multidimensional disease that encompasses biological, socio-cultural, and psychological factors that combine to form an illness. This new model makes some room for choice and personal responsibility by acknowledging that those factors, as well as the changes in brain structure and function caused by alcoholism and the ability to systematically diagnose and treat alcohol addiction, make the disease of alcoholism a biopsychological one.

Is alcoholism a disease Is alcoholism hereditary Is alcoholism a disease or disorder Is alcoholism inherited Is alcoholism curable Is alcoholism a myth Is alcoholism a disability Is alcoholism a mental illness Is alcoholism a choice Is alcoholism an addic

Perhaps the most important benefit of the Disease Theory lies in its effect on the self-perception of the person who is addicted to alcohol and the beacon of hope for recovery it offers. As one patient noted, “It is much easier to think of myself as an ill person working to become well, rather than a bad person trying to become good”.

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