Why Is Alcoholism Alcohol Use Disorder Considered a Chronic Disease?Why Is Alcoholism Alcohol Use Disorder Considered a Chronic Disease?
Rather, they thought they had made poor choices regarding their substance use. Three thought they had a disease, and it should be noted that those three were continuing to use substances. For those who did not think they had a disease, more than 400 of them falsely stated during conventional treatment that they believed they had a disease. The pressure to conform to the treatment rhetoric and the built-in excuse to relapse were the primary reasons given by treatment clients for saying they had a disease even when they believed wholeheartedly that it was not true. Many, perhaps most, substance users embrace any excuse to be insincere and abdicate responsibility for themselves, even if they know in their heart, it’s a lie. While it can be argued that Smithers’ efforts played an important role, it was Jellinek’s study that was such a monumental turning point for the supporters of the disease concept.
A medication for alcoholism, such as disulfiram or acamprosate, may aid alcohol recovery. People with severe alcohol use disorders often require long-term residential rehab and years of aftercare support. Mental and emotional symptoms occur long before physical symptoms appear. If behavioral or mental symptoms aren’t appropriately treated, https://goodmenproject.com/everyday-life-2/top-5-tips-to-consider-when-choosing-a-sober-house-for-living/ long-term alcohol abuse can lead to physical complications such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic brain deterioration and, the most serious consequence of all, death. In short, the need for addictive substances becomes hardwired in the brain, to the point that the brain can’t distinguish between healthy rewards and drug rewards.
I’m In Recovery
We offer virtual and in-person visits for substance abuse treatment. Options include withdrawal and detox, ongoing treatments such as medications and therapy, and intensive outpatient programs. Find an IU Health addiction treatment and recovery center near you. Since alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease, people often require treatment to overcome it. If you live with an alcohol addiction, there is support available.
- In addition, it’s normal for people who drink alcohol also to smoke cigarettes.
- A health care provider might ask the following questions to assess a person’s symptoms.
- Some people may also know it as alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, or alcohol dependence.
When the drinking “song” starts playing in the mind of an alcoholic, he is powerless. He didn’t put the song there and the only way to get it to stop is to take another drink. Disease management requires acceptance of a problem, follow-through with treatment, and an understanding that a person can have periods of symptom flare-ups or relapse (but this doesn’t mean hope is lost).
Disease theory of alcoholism
After leaving a treatment center, recovering alcoholics are encouraged to continue their treatment by following the 12-Steps program and seeking aftercare treatments. Both programs can help those in recovery build long-term coping mechanisms and lifestyle skills that help them recover and maintain sobriety. Additionally, some people argue someone can overcome alcoholism without treatment. While this might be true for early abusers, those with a chronic alcohol addiction need intensive treatment. Without treatment, most people can experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can be fatal. So, some alcoholics are physically addicted and, when attempting to quit drinking alcohol, experience withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction fuels your brain’s response to do whatever it takes to stop the cravings and discomfort. That can mean overruling the will to “just say no” by taking a drink or using a drug. In 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) joined the AMA, defining addiction as a chronic brain disorder, not a behavior problem, or just the result of making bad choices. Addiction shares the following characteristics with other chronic diseases, like heart disease or diabetes. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term.
Long-Term Health Risks
Health care professionals use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), to assess whether a person has AUD and to determine the severity, if the disorder is present. Severity is based on the number of criteria a person meets based on their symptoms—mild (2–3 criteria), moderate sober house (4–5 criteria), or severe (6 or more criteria). Alcohol use disorder (AUD), but it rarely works by itself to enable long-term sobriety. A person can transition into a formal and often longer-lasting treatment program by undergoing a series of detoxification interventions to assist them in safely and comfortably stopping drinking.
If we look at a comparison of the reaction to other life-threatening diseases, we do not find personal attacks on the person or look to their families for blame. No-fault is assigned to those diagnosed with Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme, and other conditions, nor are their families automatically seen as dysfunctional. People rally support with praise of heroism as the affected person battles the disease. A person with this condition does not know when or how to stop drinking. They spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol, and they cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, and financially. Alcoholism, now known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol.