The alcoholism a disease
was defined as a disease and described per se for
the first time by several doctors from England
and Germany at the end of the XVIII-th century.
However, it took awhile until this concept was
Despite the fact that World Health Organization
(WHO) also declared the alcohol addiction a
disease, this statement still brings ironic and
doubting smile on people's faces. Nevertheless,
this statement can be proved by medical and
We talk about a disease
when there are present physical and/or
psychological changes which: differ from a normal
healthy state, might be subjectively or fairly
perceived, request medical attention or
are not consciously cause by the person, and can
cause work impaired abilities.
The disease represents an involuntary
imbalance caused by external and
internal factors; involves a specific
group of symptoms of a medical disorder
and undergoes a predictable and progressive evolution.
According to this definition, alcoholism
or alcohol dependency syndrome is
a primary and chronical disease with a
progressive evolution influenced by a complexed
interaction of personal and environmental
factors. It displays a predictable evolution,
often fatale, characterized by (1) loss of
control over alcohol consumption, (2) constant or
periodical alcohol consumption, (3) constant
preocupation towards alcohol, and (4) alcohol
consumption despite its negative consequences.
Alcoholism is a primary disease
because is not a symptom of another medical
condition, and it causes physical and
psychological symptoms or emphasies the already
existing symptoms. As a disease, alcohol
addiction can be diagnosed according to the main
intoxication consequences caused by the alcohol
suck as liver, stomach, central and peripheral
nervous system lesions.
Alcoholism, as a chronic disease,
refers to its permanent character.
An alcoholic has to struggle with this disease
for the rest of thier life similar with patients
that suffered from heard attacks or diabetes. All
these conditions are caused by similar factors,
such as unhealthy habits and inability to cope
with stressful life events. A long-lasting
improvement of the medical condition can be
obtained only through behavioral and bahit
changes. A diabetic can live a normal life as
long as they keeps their medical condition under
control, and an alcoholic can also live a guality
life if they quit drinking.
The treatment goal in patients with chronic
diseases is to reduce the impact of the stressful
events and improve the quality of life, not to
restore the initial health state. A chronic
disease onset (alcohol addiction, diabetes, heart
problems) is also influenced by genetic factors.
However, even if the genetic factors play an
important role, they do not directly cause the
The alcohol addiction has a
predictable and progressiv evolution. According
to this statement, the alcohol addiction
undergoes a similar evolution in all alcoholics.
Also, left untreated the disease worsen.
Unfortunately, alcoholism is a disease
with a negative impact over multiple
aspects of the individual's
life, such as family life, finances, profession,
social, emotional, and intellectual dimensions.
Loss of control and incapacity
to be abstinent are two other signs of
alcoholism. When a peson becomes addicted to
alcohol, they forever lose the ability to control
the alcohol consumption (ability that cannot be
regained with treatment).
When a person becomes so addicted to the alcohol
that they cannot control their life without it,
they won't ever be able to return to a normal
drinking (where the alcohol consumption is kept
However, this disease is so perfidious that
not even the addiction specialists can
effectively predict who will become alcoholic.
The alcohol addiction treatment focuses on
alcoholic's personality as a complex structure,
targeting each aspect of the alcoholic life
including the behavioral dimension. It dose not
However, the alcohol addiction
is a complex problem, and its specialists come
from different fields than specialists that treat
common medical disorders. A positive contribution
to a better outcome in alcohol addiction
treatment is offered by psychologists, social
workers and alcohol addiction therapists.
Effective results are also obtained in support
groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Even if the alcoholism was declared a disease
according to all its characteristics explained
above, it is still not a disease
in its usual meaning. Its negative
health effects are not the cause of the disease,
but are essensial for its diagnose.
Alcoholism is also a disease that is not
contagious. Only the alcoholic is responsible for
Another major difference between usual, common
diseases and alcoholism is that the pacient is
actively involved in their own treatment. When
treated by appendicitis, the pacient is passive
during the surgical procedure, and the treatment
outcome depends on the surgeon's skills. Also,
there is no medication that can effectively
treatment the alcohol addiction.
The alcoholsim is a
disease where the outcome mainly depends on the
active role in their own treatment.
One of the mottoes used by the addiction
"I help you to help yourself".