Is alcoholism a disease? I recently watched a south park episode where Stans dad gets busted for drunk driving and has to go to AA meetings where he’s told he’s an alcohlic and that it is a disease. Being a hypocondriact Stans dad takes this way too literally, he thinks he needs a miracle to be saved.He thinks he finds one in a statue of the virgin Mary bleeding out her ass. When the statues shoots blood on him he thinks hes cured. Anyway, through out the episode the shows creators repeatedly try to convey the message that alcolism is not a disease abd that all the alcoholics at AA had to do was to simply drink less.And use some will power.
Heres the link: http://beta.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s09e14-bloody-mary
Its clear that the creators know nothing about addiction and are obviously not addicts themselves. I can understand that. I can also understand that they are writers of a comedy show and need to make fun of something but when regular people with no stake in this thing argue adamantly that alcoholism is not a disease but an issue of will power I just wonder why they care so much. What is it to them if its classified as a disease or just a phenomenon of the human experience.
So whats the answer? Is it a diesease? Now I dont want to mislead anyone I have no kind of medical training other than any research Ive done online and what I have been taught in my impressively extensive list of rehabs and treatments centers. I have taken in all this information and made some decisions based on common sense.
Alcoholism has been characterized as a disease by many medical institutions. The definition of a disease is that it is Primary, Progressive, Chronic and sometimes Fatal if untreated.
Definition: a disease that arises spontaneously and is not associated with or caused by a previous disease, injury, or event, but that may lead to a secondary disease.
This means that it must be treated before any other illness may be taken care of. Such as an alcoholic with alcoholic diabetes; it is pointless to treat the diabetes before the alcoholism.Alcoholism can cause many other diseases. Liver disease, heart disease, problems with the pancreas and many other issues.
Definition:Progressive disease is a term that describes a disease that is progressing, or worsening. With lung cancer, progressive disease is defined as at least a 20% growth in the size of the tumor or spread of the tumor since the beginning of treatment.
In other words you start out healthy and clear headed but as the disease progresses and the alcoholic drinks more and more bodily systems start to become effected and worsen in a predictable pattern.
Definition: A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear
I think you get that.
Definition: Causing or capable of causing death.
If you dont stop drinking and you are a true alcoholic or drug addict you will most likely die from it.
This is how I was taught the disease theory of drug addiction and alcoholism. I found a few pages that may be helpful.
Alcoholism – A Chronic and Progressive Disease
The whole thing is really subjective and it depends on what we will consider an alcohlic. You’ll get someone who says “alcoholics can stop anytime they want to, my cousin was an alcoholic and he stopped cold turkey and hasnt touched a drink since”
To them I say maybe your cousin wasnt an alcoholic. Thats where the biggest problem comes from. The word alcoholic gets thrown around alot. If someone has some problems with alcohol they quickly get branded an alocholic. Some people are just problem drinkers.
This page explains it very well
To me the biggest symptom of a true alcoholic is that it causes you to do things that you don’t want to do. When it has taken over your life and has become the central focus of everything you do. If you have a job interview tomorrow and you tell yourself your not going to drink tonight but you do and you drink too much, guess what? You may be an alcoholic. You still might not be if you can stop tomorrow. But if it continues to happen over and over…
And an alcoholic will eventually drink, it may take years but eventually it will happen. We do not follow people 25 years to see if they take that drink. Plus Alcoholics are professional liars we manipulate loves ones and will hold onto a lie till the end. Shame causes us to lie. We want our loved ones to think we are doing good and that we are ok. So we lie. We tell people we havent had a drink or a drug and that theres nothing wrong with us. Even when there is.
Plus now the drug court system has thrown a real wrench into the mix by putting anyone with a DWI, who may not neccasarily be an addict, into treatment with mandatory AA meetings and are labeled alcohlic.They even put drug dealers in treatment. People with no drug problems other than the fact that they sling drugs. Not everyone in drug or alcohol treatment is an addict.
I also wonder whats the big deal if someone needs to believe that they have a disease in order for them to feel better about themselves or their lives I say let them go and do it. I dont believe in a God persay. But when I hear people say that their God saved them and has helped with their drug addiction I say horay for them. If thats what they need to get through the day sober and happy then good for you. If it worked for me I would be doing it as well. It comes down to peoples vindictive behaivor. Wanting to see other people fail or not get better so they can feel better about their own shitty little lives. We’re all guilty of it to some extent or another.
So to answer the question is it a disease? Personally I whole heatedly believe it is. Medical professionals agree with me. It fits the diagram for a disease. But like everything we have a choice to believe them or not.
So what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know.