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Is Alcoholism A Disease Or A Character Defect?

is alcoholism a diseaseEven though The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has declared alcoholism as a disease, there is still debate on the subject at hand. Many people view alcoholism, and any other addiction, as a character defect.  The disease concept just doesn’t seem to make sense and as a result people who suffer from alcoholism find it difficult to get treatment. We can’t very well treat something if we don’t understand it, so let’s break this down so we can clearly see how alcoholism is a disease.

Is Alcoholism A Disease?

In order to fully comprehend and accept alcoholism as a disease, it might be best to rephrase the question from “is alcoholism a disease?” to “what is the description of a disease?” A disease is chronic, progressive, and incurable (although can be treated and placed in remission).  Alcoholism is a chronic primary (meaning nothing causes the alcoholism, but alcoholism itself) disease and it’s deadly if not treated. Alcoholism could best be compared to someone with diabetes. If the diabetic is not treated and the person is not taking care of themselves through a daily maintenance routine, it will become progressive and potentially deadly. Now if the diabetic is treated in time and takes care of themselves daily, they will have a less likely-hood of relapse. Once a diabetic always a diabetic and the same will go for the alcoholic and their alcoholism. The same goes for alcoholism – once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, but they can recover too.

The alcoholic does not just suffer from a disease of the brain, but they also have a physical allergy to alcohol. This is why they have little to no control over their drinking. Their bodies are as sick as their minds when it comes to dealing with alcoholism. This is also why abstinence is suggested as the best practice of recovery from alcoholism.

Some people may drink to cope with life and later they either become a heavy drinkers or an alcoholic, but some drink to overcome a craving that just can’t be satisfied. That craving is their alcoholism. It is time that we start looking at mental health illnesses as real health problems, and not just chuck it up to a person’s upbringing, moral beliefs, or will power. If we put more effort in preventing and treating mental health illnesses, we would most definitely see a decrease in depression, heart attacks, addictions, strokes, and any other illness one can think of.

Treating Alcoholism As A Disease

So is alcoholism a disease? Yes, it is most definitely a disease, and this is not a theory, it’s a scientific fact. The way we think can and will directly affect the health of our bodies as well as our health, but we can’t help those who are suffering if we keep blaming the person and not focusing on the disease. If we don’t believe in the disease concept off alcoholism, how will the person get the treatment they deserve? Help break the stigma by learning more about alcoholism and sharing this information with others. Alcoholism is a disease, but with proper treatment, people do recover.

To find out how you or a loved one can recover from alcoholism, contact us today at 1-800-439-5959. We understand the disease of alcoholism, and we know how to help.

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