Essay by rippedfauvUniversity, Bachelor'sA, July 2005

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What Kind of a Disease is Alcoholism?

"According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 17 million people - more than 10 percent of the adult population - drink too much or are unable to control their drinking"("Alcohol".) In addition, about 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem ("FQA - Alcohol"). The percentage increases as the alcoholics increase every year. Alcoholism, which is also known as alcohol dependence syndrome, is a widespread problem, which can happen after a month or years of drinking. Alcoholism is characterized by craving, loss of control, physical dependence, and tolerance. It is a disease that gets worse the more the person keeps drinking. Without treatment by trained people, it can destroy a person's mental and physical health and lead to death. ("Alcoholism: Getting the Facts").

People tend to equate any kind of excessive drinking with alcoholism. But doctors and scientists recognize that disorders related to alcohol use lie along a continuum of severity. They prefer to use the term alcohol dependence instead of alcoholism to designate the most severe of the alcohol-use disorders. The terms alcohol abuse and problem drinking designate less severe disorders resulting from immoderate drinking.

"Alcoholism is a disease of the mind and body similar to other diseases like cancer" (Hudman). The progression of the disease is so slight and usually takes place over such an extended period of time like after months or years of drinking. Because of the period of time it takes, the alcoholic loses the point that he/she loses control over himself/herself. Just like cancer, alcoholism is a disease that gets worse the more the person keeps drinking in a period of time.

Once people lose control over...