Alcoholism: a Disease or an Addiction?

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Most people have a confused idea of alcoholism as a disease that invades or attacks your good health. Use of such a strong word such as "disease" shapes the values and attitudes of society towards alcoholics. A major implication of the disease concept is that what is labeled a "disease" is held to be justifiable because it is involuntary. This is not so. Problem drinking is a habit in which the so-called "alcoholic" simply has decided that the benefits of drinking outweigh the liabilities; it is all a matter of personal choice. An alcoholic participates in or causes many of their own problems by their behavior and the decisions they make, so why should they be viewed as helpless victims of a "disease"(Skipper 1)? Alcoholism should not be…show more content…
Alcohol abuse plays a part in some 10,000 accidental deaths a year, at home and on the job (Langone 39). The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the United States (Violence 1). In 1996 there were 17,126 alcohol related traffic fatalities accounting for the 40.9% of all traffic fatalities during the year. Alcohol is also involved in at least half of all homicides in the United States, with either the attacker, the victim, or both under the influence. This is probably a good explanation for the fact that more murders occur on Saturday nights than any other night- the fewest murders occur on Tuesdays (Goodwin 16). <br> <br>Besides all these traffic fatalities and violent crimes where alcohol is a factor, let us not forget the premature deaths and birth defects alcohol abusers are also responsible for. In 1992 there were 31,327 premature deaths due to alcohol abuse (Cost 1). Each year 5,000 babies are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; this is a form of mental retardation caused by mothers who drink while pregnant (Claypool 17). Imagine a child growing up with mental retardation, having to face all the hate and discrimination in this world. These innocent lives would have otherwise been spared had their mother not chosen to continue to drink during her pregnancy.
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