The Disease of Alcoholism Essay

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The Disease of Alcoholism Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. Alcoholism is a complex disease with physical, social and psychological consequences, but it can be treated through detoxification and anti-anxiety drugs. What will be explained in this essay is basically the history of alcohol, signs of one possibly being an alcoholic, possibilities to why one becomes an alcoholic, and treatments for it. In the past, alcoholism was often viewed as a moral weakness or character flaw; it was thought that the person could stop drinking if he or she really wanted to. It wasn't until 1970, with…show more content…
The APA manual distinguishes between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The latter is a less severe problem; unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers do not develop physical withdrawal or compulsive alcohol use. However, like alcoholics, their drinking has negative health, economic and social effects. Both alcoholics and alcohol abusers need treatment, although the goals differ. In most cases of alcohol abuse, the goal is to limit drinking, while for alcoholism, it is to stop drinking altogether. Why some people become alcoholics remains a mystery, although most scientists now agree that a combination of genetic and environmental factors increases a person's vulnerability. Based on the results of Swedish adoption studies, some researchers divide alcoholism into two types. Type I, the most common, occurs in both men and women and is associated with adult-onset alcohol dependence. This form, also known as "milieu-limited" alcoholism, appears to be the result of "genetic predisposition and environmental provocation," according to NIAAA's 1991 publication Alcohol Research: Promise for the Decade--that is, the development of alcoholism in these cases is an interaction between inherited predisposition and the person's life situations. Type II, or male-limited, alcoholism, on the other hand, is due mainly to genetics. It occurs only in men, usually with early onset in the teen years, and is more difficult to

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