Is Alcoholism a Disease?

People who drink too much alcohol are at risk of developing a host of health conditions and disorders including certain types of cancer, liver disease, and heart disease. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the brain and other organs, and it also increases the chances of developing sleep problems, depression, and other mental health problems. Alcohol can interfere with a person’s ability to care for their other medical conditions or make other medical conditions worse.

  • There were 158 questionnaires handed out and 60 of them were suspiciously not included.
  • As is the case with other addictions, alcoholism is considered a disease by many in the medical community, including the American Medical Association.
  • Mental and emotional symptoms occur long before physical symptoms appear.

It doesn’t look, sound, smell and it certainly doesn’t act like a disease. To make matters worse, generally, it denies it exists and resists treatment. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction https://www.excel-medical.com/5-tips-to-consider-when-choosing-a-sober-living-house/ medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

I’m In Recovery

This can make it difficult for a doctor to identify who might benefit from alcohol dependency screening. Some signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse may be due to another condition. A  causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.

is alcoholism a disease

While no cure may exist, many chronic conditions can be managed or treated with lifestyle changes or certain medicines. While medications can treat the symptoms of many chronic conditions, these drugs often have their own side effects and may also interact with one another. There is no religion, social standing, or love that gives full protection from the disease of alcoholism.

Mavoglurant in Alcohol Drinking

Examples of behavioral treatments are brief interventions and reinforcement approaches, treatments that build motivation and teach skills for coping and preventing a return to drinking, and mindfulness-based therapies. Several evidence-based treatment approaches are available for AUD. One size does not fit all and a treatment approach that may work for one person may not work for another.

Is it OK to just stop drinking?

Please note, when someone who has been drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time suddenly stops drinking, the body can go into a painful or even potentially life-threatening process of withdrawal. Symptoms can include nausea, rapid heart rate, seizures, or other problems.

The dopamine neurotransmitters that manage pleasure are also responsible for eating food, engaging in social interaction, and having sex. When our reward system suffers from substance abuse, it often results in people experiencing less and less enjoyment from other areas of their lives when they’re not under the influence. “We tend to look at smaller and smaller parts of the human body, and the human mind and the human brain,” to find the cause of something, Young said. In doing so, we lose sight of the bigger picture, including social and cultural influences that may play a role in alcoholism development.

Addiction and Mental Health Resources

Behavioral therapy, also called talk therapy or alcohol counseling, is recognized by the medical community as one of the most effective methods of alcohol rehab. It has been recognized as a mental illness since the 1980s, when the American Psychiatric Association identified alcoholism as a primary mental health disorder. Interestingly, the American Medical Association recognized alcoholism as a disease as early as the 1950s.

Because so many cues in their life are reminders of their drinking, it becomes more and more difficult for them to not think about drinking. A mental obsession can be defined as a thought process over which you have no control. Psychotherapies can help a person learn to cope with everyday stress without alcohol. Women have a faster progression of AUD than men and are at greater risk than men for certain alcohol-related consequences. Services span from outpatient therapy and medication appointments to more intensive inpatient treatments. When you take a drug, your brain releases a flood of dopamine, much more than it would when you’re eating your favorite pie.

A disease cannot be cured by force of will; therefore, adding the medical label transfers the responsibility from the user to caregivers. Inevitably, the users become unwilling victims, and just as inevitably they take on that role. In retrospect then, the disease concept has effectively increased alcoholism and drug use. Furthermore, its only benefit has been vast monetary reward for the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services.