Much has been written and discussed recently on the benefits of treating alcoholism as a chronic disease. The issue is widely debated, though. Find out why.
The United States is home to about 15 million people who struggle with alcoholism.
Perhaps you've heard many different things about alcoholism, but the truth is that alcoholism is a disease and must be treated as such.
Do you know somebody who struggles with alcoholism? This article will aim to explore why it's necessary to treat alcoholism as a disease.
What is Alcoholism?
So what is alcoholism? Alcoholism can be defined as a chronic disease where a person cannot control their drinking. They crave alcohol and will do anything, even steal money, to obtain alcohol.
People who suffer from alcoholism may manifest symptoms such as:
- Drinking alone
- Stealing money
- Missing work, hobbies, and other activities due to the desire to drink
- Skipping family obligations
- Memory loss or blacking out
These are just a few of the signs of alcoholism that may occur when someone is an alcoholic, and are not a complete list. Alcoholism is very dangerous and can spin out of control quickly if loved ones do not step in.
Alcoholism As A Disease
Chronic disease is a disease that is long-term, occurring for more than a year. Alcoholism is classified as a chronic disease when it happens for this amount of time and seems uncontrollable, especially if you experience withdrawals.
Here are 3 ideas as to why alcoholism must be treated as a disease.
- It Occurs in The Brain
Addiction happens in the brain. When a person uses alcohol, the part of the brain that's associated with pleasure and rewards becomes dependant on it. This leads to overuse, and then to addiction.
Addictions are treated as diseases because they hijack and change the function of the brain. The person will need to learn to not be dependant on the substance anymore, which will help break the addiction.
- Long-Term Effects
If alcoholism remains untreated, the person is at serious health risks, both to themselves and others.
There may be serious damage to the internal organs like the liver, the brain, mental disorders, or even induce types of cancers. Not only that, but others around them will suffer as well, or be put in danger.
Without proper treatment by a professional in a rehabilitation center, alcoholism is a terrifying downward spiral.
- Mind Over Matter
Alcoholics are obsessed with alcohol. It's on their minds almost constantly and they need to satisfy their craving. So much so, that in some cases, they'll do almost anything to achieve a drink.
It's important to remember that alcoholism isn't born overnight. It is often a progressive process, and because of this, treatment may be lengthy as well. There's often much to process and deal with when a person decides to get help for their alcoholism.
When you treat alcoholism as a disease you can understand this complex condition more fully. If you or someone you know someone who is struggling with alcohol, do some research and reach out to get help before it becomes too late.
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