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Is alcoholism a disease?

Bliss

Sally Twit
As part of a friend's NVQ she had to have a debate over a topic of her choice. She chose alcoholism and asked me to join her in the debate. She didn't believe it is a disease, where as I did believe it to be a disease.

It was only a short debate but it left me thinking it would be an interesting topic to discuss on GF.

A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism.
Do you believe alcoholism is a disease?
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
I do believe it's a disease...I don't have time to talk deeply about it, but everything I've learned in my education and studying alcohol/drug abuse from the perspective of social work and counseling, it is one. It has hereditary components, for one, which is a big indicator of it being a disease.

I do think it's possible to drink too much and it be a matter of poor choice, but I think when it becomes chronic the disease of alcoholism is taking hold. Genetics seems to back this up, as well. I know of people that were aware of addiction being a strong presence in their family background, consciously fighting it and avoiding narcotics/alcohol, and eventually having a fight with addiction.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Technically, no it's not, it's a disorder. But it is however medically defined as a disease. My opinion is mainly that it's not a disease in the way we traditionally think of a disease. It's equal parts personal weakness and biological factors much like smoking.
 

EllyDicious

made of AMBIGUITY
V.I.P.
I think of alcohol more as a habit rather than as a disease. It is like a reflex of your organism which craves for alcohol.
 

Bliss

Sally Twit
Like Dan mentioned, it's been proven that genetics are involved in some cases. And like many diseases, it slowly progresses. The need to drink takes control of your life. That's what makes me believe it's a disease because you lose control. What starts as as two drinks turns in to twelve and then you need to do it all over again.
 

Dabs

Registered Member
Whether it be a disease or a disorder, it is quite largely one of the most known addictions, and once someone becomes somewhat dependent on alcohol, it is very hard to just stop.
From my own personal thoughts, I can't fully comprehend what an alcoholic is going thru, since I don't drink beer.
But, having had a real Dad and a step Dad who were both alcoholics, as well as being married to 2 alcoholics ......I have seen the devastation that the disease/disorder/habitual problem can do...to a someone, and a someone's family.
They have so many programs out there now, for alcoholism......and so, I reckon many see it as a disease.
 

icegoat63

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
I do thoroughly believe Alcholism is a disease. For a few reasons, but predominately the fact that it is passed down through genetics is enough for me to believe that the dark thirst for alcohol is much akin to a parasite.

Those with their genetics engrained with Alcoholism almost always turn to drinking. Not all... but the vast majority that I know of always do. I see it in me and my siblings. Being adopted I see a huge difference in my tolerance and craving to alcohol versus my two siblings who are both avid drinkers. Now all three of us were raised around Alcohol, my dad and his side of the family have always always always been drinkers for as long as I can remember. Yet I'm the only child that turned away from drinking?

I find it a disease much akin to Diabetes. The more you feed it the worse it gets. You can live with Diabetes, but if you dont mold your life around eating properly and avoiding certain substances that Diabetes will become a big problem. Alcoholism to me is the same, you can live your life as I've seen without a drop of alcohol... but the moment you feed it just a little, it doesnt take much for it to flare up and become something uncontrollable.

Maybe diabetes isnt the greatest example as maybe something like ADD or ADHD may have been more apt. But the point that I see is, there are ways to live with it and ways that it gets worse. Thats probably the biggest characteristic of a Disease to me.

I know that segways off into "well if dirnking is a disease, so is Obesity!" and although I find that harder to believe, I do in fact believe that Obesity is yet another genetic disease almost identical to Alcoholism. Completely avoidable.. but once fed, the floodgates break.
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
I'd be hesitant to call it a disease, since it doesn't have a specific pathology like other diseases such as diabetes. I'd be more inclined to call it a disorder.
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
I definitely think it's a disease. Getting over alcoholism for a lot of people isn't as simple as just changing their behavior. For some people it is something that is with them their entire lives. Even if they have it under control for years it can be reignited with just one drink. Plus there's the proven fact that can be hereditary.
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
I definitely think it's a disease. Getting over alcoholism for a lot of people isn't as simple as just changing their behavior. For some people it is something that is with them their entire lives. Even if they have it under control for years it can be reignited with just one drink. Plus there's the proven fact that can be hereditary.
the same goes for other mental disorders, particularly the mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders) as far as genetic heritability, but they're not necessarily classified as diseases, again because there's no specific pathology, at least not that's been identified yet.
 
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