Is alcoholism a disease? The answer to that question depends on a wide range of variables. While most professionals agree that alcoholism is complicated, they do not always agree on what causes or whether it is a disease. One of the most challenging aspects of recognizing alcoholism as a disease is that it does not appear to have the same elements as a classic physical illness.
Alcoholism does not operate as a classic disease. However, what most treatment specialists at an alcohol rehab treatment center in Scranton PA mean by that is that you still have a sense of control over your addiction. You have the choice to end it if you want to. As many alcoholics can tell you, however, ending your addiction is not that simple.
What Exactly is Alcoholism?
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcoholism is a disease or mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink. Although the definition is fitting, there is much room for interpretation. Therefore, many medical experts categorize alcoholism as a disease, as it has many of the symptoms such as:
- Primary – A primary disease is a disease that is the root cause of a medical condition. Most medical specialists diagnose alcoholism as a primary cause of other health or medical conditions
- Chronic – The saying, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” is not just a catchphrase. Many alcoholics struggle not to take another drink their entire lives. At any given time, a person can relapse and return to their addiction
- Progressive – Like any other disease, alcoholism grows slowly over time. Many people do not even realize that they have a problem. Even when it is pointed out that you have a problem drinking, you may still be in denial. Eventually, your alcoholism takes over your life and affects your health
- Fatal – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIAAA), close to 90,000 people die from alcoholism each year. Alcoholism can lead to DUI-related deaths and a wide range of health-related fatalities
Is Alcoholism a Disease?
One of the reasons why it is difficult to get a consensus of categorizing alcoholism as a disease is due to the mental connection that people have with drinking. After all, if you can obsess over something, then you should be able to find a way to stop obsessing over it, correct?
Unfortunately, this is not the case with many people who struggle with alcoholism. A mental obsession is a thought process over which you have no control. Therefore, when the thought to drink enters your mind, you have a challenging time overcoming it. This mental obsession with alcohol could be characterized as a mental disease and require dual diagnosis treatment.
Get Treatment for Alcoholism
Is alcoholism a disease? Find out more about the answers to this question by contacting Silver Pines Treatment Center. We offer a wide range of evidence-based and holistic treatment for alcoholism at our alcohol rehab treatment center in Scranton PA. Call us at 866.345.2147 to speak with a medical specialist.