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Alcoholism: Disease or a Choice? Considered a Brain Disease

Alcoholism: Disease or a Choice? Considered a Brain Disease

Alcoholics should learn how to manage themselves from alcohol to live healthy and to avoid alcoholism. Alcoholism can cause bad habits and it may build to a more serious health problem later such as cancer. Some people argue that alcoholism is a disease concept and other believes alcoholism is a choice. According to Hobbs, “the debate on whether alcoholism is a disease or a personal conduct problem has continued for over 200 years” (2000). Many alcoholics continue to deny that they have a problem with drinking. As a result, they endure job loss, multiple DUIs, and experience financial hardships.

The American Psychiatric Association recognizes the existence of alcoholism as the equivalent of alcohol dependence. The American Hospital Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American College of Physicians classify alcoholism as a disease. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health. Compounding the problem is the progressive nature of the disease. In its early stages, taking one or two drinks may be all it takes to get the « song » to stop.

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But many outside the medical profession as well as some inside the medical profession do not see it that way. They think a disease has to be “caught” from another person or biological entity such as bad food or “gotten.” People “get” cancer or “catch” a cold. Chronic, long-term drinking can contribute to malnutrition by replacing foods needed for essential nutrients and by interfering with absorption, storage, or metabolism of the essential nutrients. This can also lead to anemia, when your red blood cell (RBC) count is lower than normal or there’s a problem with the hemoglobin protein inside those cells.

  • Not everyone who binge drinks has an AUD, but they are at higher risk for getting one.
  • Nerve cells that drive messages to the brain about feelings, thoughts, and learning are obstruct by alcohol.
  • He has a nursing and business/technology degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.
  • Alcohol can interfere with a person’s ability to care for their other medical conditions or make other medical conditions worse.

This means that the drinker begins to experience withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t available. Alcoholism is the lay term for alcohol use disorder (AUD), which is a brain disorder affecting nearly 15 million people aged 12 and older in 2019, according to a national survey. Some people may also know it as alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, or alcohol dependence.

Why Is Alcoholism Considered A Chronic Disease?

For example, if anyone is drunk, his or her cerebellum gets interfered because of alcohol. Hepatoma is very widespread on the alcoholic; colon and liver cancer are rare primary diseases. Therefore, Pace is saying that, “… alcoholism is a disease that affects not only the brain but also the liver, stomach, kidney, intestines, and pancreas” (2001). Late-stage alcoholism (or end-stage alcoholism) is the final stage of alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive condition that tends to get worse and worse over time. It typically starts with social drinking and then worsens as the person starts to need alcohol in order to feel normal.

Treating the alcohol use disorder, along with the health problems caused by chronic, heavy drinking, may be possible. The first step will likely be a medically supervised detox, which will help rid your body of toxins and manage the symptoms of withdrawal. Further, people who have emotional difficulties were saying the effects are sick and suffering from calling it a disease.

Alcoholism Short & Long-Term Physical Health Issues

If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or https://ecosoberhouse.com/ safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male has five or more drinks within two hours or a female has at least four drinks within two hours.

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  • After months or years of abstinence, most people who have completed all the stages of recovery from alcoholism exhibit improved functioning and decision-making.
  • Alcoholism can cause bad habits and it may build to a more serious health problem later such as cancer.
  • According to Pace (2001), Dr. Charles Lieber treated a patient for pancreatitis and a heart problem.
  • Watching a loved one endure the end stages of alcoholism can be frustrating and lonely.

Addiction shares the following characteristics with other chronic diseases, like heart disease or diabetes. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 51% of the population aged 12 and older reported binge drinking in the past month. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful. Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs.

What causes alcohol use disorder?

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Robert is our health care professional reviewer of this website. He has a nursing and business/technology degrees from The Johns Hopkins University. There are many chronic diseases that people suffer from such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Alcoholism is considered a chronic disease because it is a long-term, progressive disease that can damage nearly every organ in the body. Over-consumption literally changes brain chemistry, and as tolerance to alcohol increases, the person must use more and more to feel the same effects, further damaging both the body and brain.

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