Is Alcoholism a Disease or a Weakness of Will?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction, is a chronic disease of the brain that’s characterized by compulsive decision-making, impulsive behavior, and relapse. Genetic and environmental factors trigger it, and it causes biological changes in the brain that make abstaining from alcohol nearly impossible without medical treatment. 

According to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH):

There are about 17 million adults, ages 18 and older, in the United States with alcohol use disorder, and one in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholism can affect so many aspects of your life, just like any other substance that is abused. Alcoholism can put your employment, personal relationships, financial situations, and more at risk. It turns your whole world upside down, and the worst of it; someone can get hurt or even killed. If you are lucky enough not to put someone in danger if you get behind the wheel, you put yourself in danger every time you consume more than one or two drinks a day, and for alcoholics, that means we put ourselves in danger every time we pick up a drink.

What Is Considered A Disease?

To compare alcoholism to a disease, we have to understand the medical definition. A disease is defined as something that lasts three months or more and has other common features, including no cure from a vaccine or can’t take medication that can’t prevent it, and they don’t just go away.

According to the CDC:

Six out of ten Americans have one disease. In addition, some behaviors contribute to diseases, including using tobacco, not being physically active, and having poor eating habits. Some of the most common chronic diseases include arthritis, cardiovascular disease, breast and colon cancer, obesity, and oral issues.

Alcoholism Is A Disease?

Many people say that you can never become an alcoholic if you choose never to drink alcohol. However, that logic doesn’t mean that alcoholism isn’t a disease. You may never develop skin cancer if you always protect your skin from the sun. Likewise, you may never develop AIDS if you always have protected sex. But skin cancer and AIDS are preventable diseases.

Likewise, alcohol addiction is a disease that can sometimes be avoided through prevention strategies and educational initiatives. But, unfortunately, some people take risks and develop an alcohol use disorder despite prevention measures like other health problems. Today, most authoritative medical organizations consider addiction to alcohol and other substances a disease.

When Does Alcoholism Become A Disease?

It can be difficult to determine when alcohol use becomes alcoholism, but in the simplest terms, it’s often when a person loses control over alcohol use. You may start drinking casually and then more heavily. This could constitute an abuse problem, but not necessarily the disease of alcoholism. Alcoholism typically becomes a disease when:

  • Drinking alone and in secrecy.
  • Losing interest in other activities you once found enjoyable.
  • Alcohol cravings.
  • Making drinking a priority over responsibilities.
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Extreme mood swings and irritability.
  • Feelings of guilt associated with drinking.
  • Have a drink first thing in the morning.
  • Continuing to drink despite health, financial, and family problems.
  • An inability to stop or control the amount of alcohol consumed.

Time For A Change. We Can Help at ARIA FL

Alcoholism has no cure, and you can relapse. Still, it is possible to keep it under control by attending rehabilitation programs and attending support groups like AA and making changes to your daily life choices; at ARIA, that is exactly where you can get going with these changes.

We understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help from an alcohol detox in FL, and we strive to make it as easy a process as possible. However, if you are a struggling professional who has spent so much time being a high-achiever for your career and family, isn’t it about time you took some time to take care of yourself?

No matter where you’re at in life, we are here to help you become your best self, the you that you were before alcohol took hold. So contact us now at 844.973.2641 to learn more about the alcohol detox center at the Addiction Recovery Institute of America. The future of those you care about depends upon it.