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Doctor insights on: Why Are People Referring To Alcoholism As A Disease Not A Lifestyle Choice

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Dr. Kevin Passer
1,541 doctors shared insights

Alcoholism (Definition)

Visibly, it is continuing to drink in ways that are "out of control" despite negative consequences.It is a metabolic disorder where alcohol is not processed normally. Over time tolerance develops, (it takes more to get the desired effect). In later stages there are often withdrawal symptoms when you stop, but not always. Many relapse after abstaining for a while, esp. ...Read more


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Supposing that alcoholism is a disease then why are people mad at alcoholics?

Supposing that alcoholism is a disease then why are people mad at alcoholics?

Good question: One - because many people give lip service to the disease concept, but believe in their heart of hearts that this individual is making a choice, and it is a bad choice. Alcoholics' behaviors affect and hurt ones they love and care about, and this makes people angry - they take it personally. "if you really loved (or cared about) me, you wouldn't drink like that!" family therapy is important. ...Read more

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Help please! is alcoholism a disease?

Help please! is alcoholism a disease?

Yes : As i understand it, the brains of alcoholics process alcohol differently than the brains of those that are not alcoholics. Therefore, they become addicted more quickly and easily and have much more difficulty stopping drinking than others. This is only part of the explanation of alcoholism as there are psychological components, as well. Both md and addictions specialist need to treat together. ...Read more

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Can you believe that alcoholism is a disease?

Yes: Like other diseases, alcoholism has strong genetic links- moral weakness does not. Like diabetes, alcoholism requires lifestyle changes, commitment to an entire pattern of living, and sometimes involves the entire family. Alcoholism is a sometimes relapsing brain disease for which successful treatment has been found. Approaches tailored to each patient save lives. Chronic means no quick fix. ...Read more

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I've heard alcoholism described as an illness/disease. What is the difference?

Semantics: An illness is a disease. What they mean is that research supports aa's belief that the cause is physiological, like diabetes although there is a psychological component and some learned patterns, an addiction is an illness. If you are addicted you cannot just drink socially now and then. To recover you need to abstain forever. ...Read more

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Please answer! what physical diseases does alcoholism cause?

Please answer! what physical diseases does alcoholism cause?

Every organ system: in the body is adversely affected by alcohol. It damages the brain, peripheral nerves, heart, liver, immune system, bone marrow, muscles and can cause many different kinds of cancer. It also can cause overdose with respiratory depression, coma and death - particularly when combined with other drugs (tranquillizers, sedatives, pain medicines). It ages the body prematurely. In low doses, it's fine. ...Read more

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Can you please explain why alcoholism is considered a disease?

Many reasons: Like hypertension and diabetes, alcoholism has a genetic component. Alcoholism is a brain disease. Animal models and human evidence shows altered chemical neurotransmitter response to alcohol in alcoholics. Diabetics can't handle sugar, alcoholics can't handle alcohol--never, ever, for the rest of their life. Treatment is available and is successful and is lifelong. Chronic illness requires work! ...Read more

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How can alcoholism be a disease?

How can alcoholism be a disease?

Many reasons: Like heart disease ; diabetes, alcoholism is due to genes ; poor life style choices- diet, no exercise, smoking. Genetics are 50% responsible. Children of alcoholics are 8 x more likely to become alcoholics. Alcoholism is a brain disease. Evidence shows altered neurotransmitter response to alcohol. If one of your family members is alcoholic, you risk surprise addiction to a prescribed pain pill. ...Read more

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Could you tell me what are arguments for and against the claim that alcoholism is a disease?

There is no doubt: It has a very stong genetic component of risk. Once alcohol dependent, individuals suffer withdrawal if they attempt to stop drinking. ...Read more

Dr. Alan Wartenberg
394 doctors shared insights

Alcohol Dependence (Definition)

Alcohol dependence is a condition where significant alcohol overuse is accompanied by lifestyle dysfunction and by symptoms of alcohol withdrawal ...Read more