Should Alcoholism Be Considered a Disease?

1276 Words6 Pages
Should Alcoholism Be Considered a Disease? Many articles have been written which ask the question: Is alcoholism a disease or not? We will look at both sides of this issue, see what the experts have to say and come to realize that alcoholism should be considered a disease. In 1849, Swedish physician, Dr. Magnus Huss coined the term “alcoholism” to describe a diseased condition caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. Also in 1849, a French doctoral candidate, M.Gabriel, first used the term in its modern sense, as a disease which causes one to lose control over his/her intake of alcohol, leading to excessive use of alcohol, what we now call addiction ( Keller & Doria,1991). Kishline (1994, p.105) challenges the disease theory of alcoholism. She states that other treatment professionals hold the view that some who use alcohol are only problem drinkers and that moderate drinking may be a treatment for the problem drinker. However, in all actuality, accumulated evidence indicates that physiology, not psychology, determines whether a drinker will become addicted to alcohol or not (Ketcham & Asbury, 2000). Those who consume alcohol on a regular basis, will, over time, develop a tolerance to alcohol, requiring the drinker to us more alcohol to achieve the same effects. This is how the disease of alcoholism is acquired and the only cure is complete abstinence. Gorski (1996, p.98) stands by his belief in the disease theory of alcoholism. Although some drinkers do not have the disease of alcoholism, more severe drinkers do and are seen as suffering from a biological disease and need to be treated as such. In the late 1950’s and 60’s research projects at Yale and Rutgers concluded that alcoholism is a disease. As a result of the... ... middle of paper ... ...f Alcoholics Anonymous describes alcoholism as a “cunning, baffling, and powerful “ disease (Alcoholics Anonymous 2001). So when it is said by opponents of the disease concept that alcoholism is a condition of moral weakness or a behavioral condition, I am reminded of people I have met or personally known who have the disease of alcoholism. Most of them were good ,hard working people whom one would never suspect of being alcoholics. But over time alcohol took its toll on their bodies and minds, and, before long they were only shells of their former selves. Many of these alcoholics ended up in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, not because they were “bad people” or had “behavioral problems” , but simply because they had a disease called “alcoholism”. Because of what chronic drinking does to the mind and body, alcoholism should definitely be considered a disease.

More about Should Alcoholism Be Considered a Disease?

Open Document