A disease is a condition that impairs the normal function of the body and manifests itself in distinguishing signs or symptoms. A debated topic for some time is the question “is alcoholism a disease?”
The question is significant because society often perceives those who suffer from alcoholism as weak or degenerate, rather than the victim of a condition they have little control over. This affects the approach to alcoholism at an alcohol addiction treatment center Caseyville IL provides.
Is Alcoholism a Disease?
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Alcohol is relatively easy to obtain, inexpensive and is socially acceptable. Those who abuse alcohol are often viewed as morally degenerate and weak.
The reasoning behind this belief is that alcoholics are not born drinking alcohol, nor do they catch it through incidental contact. It is a choice to begin drinking alcohol, and by extension, it should be a choice to abuse it.
At the end of the 19th century, some doctors began asking “is alcoholism a disease”. If it is a disease, could treatment be helping patients, rather than punishing them? In the 1930s, psychiatrist E.M. Jellinek postulated the idea that alcoholism is a disease of the brain.
In the disease model of alcoholism, alcohol the brain by causing it to operate in a different manner and leading to addictive behavior. In order to change these behaviors, addiction treatment programs are a must.
How Alcoholism Behaves as a disease
If the answer is “yes” to the question of “is alcoholism a disease”, how does alcoholism act as a disease? After years of alcohol abuse, altering brain chemistry in such a way, that the brain and body crave alcohol. Long term alcohol abuse causes the brain to reduce the production of certain neurotransmitters.
As a result, without alcohol, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholics will make excuses and go out of their way to obtain alcohol. They may forgo work and relationships to get alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Delerium Tremens-In extreme cases, an alcoholic may suffer extreme reactions, including delirium, tremors, and even death
In this model, alcoholism is like other diseases. For example, a brain tumor may cause changes in behavior, issues with balance, etc. There’s often an altering of the brain function, depending on the location and type of tumor.
Treatment at Gateway Foundation Caseyville
Alcoholism is typically treated by medication and counseling, much like other diseases. When an alcoholic attempts to end alcohol abuse, they experience withdrawal symptoms, because the chemistry of the brain and the body are altered. To mitigate these withdrawal symptoms, medication such as benzodiazepine can be given. Xanax can help to reduce many of the withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and irritability.
The substance abuse treatment programs Caseyville Illinois provides has the expertise to help you manage your health. We have over 50 years of experience helping people overcome drug and alcohol abuse and achieve sobriety. We’re happy to chat more about is alcoholism a disease and put you on the right path. Contact Gateway Foundation Caseyville today at [Direct].