Alcoholism: Disease or Not

Essay by saltyjennCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2014

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Running head: Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Disease or Not?

Jennifer Salter

Saint Leo University

September 5, 2014


In this critique I will look at 2 very different ways of looking at alcoholism. Many people do not think of alcoholism as a disease. They view it as a choice that is made and is therefore able to be controlled. But has research shown otherwise? Can we really control it? What is the definition of disease? These questions and the answers to them will be explored in this paper.

Alcoholism: Disease or Not?

At some point in our lives, we will all have some sort of interaction with an alcoholic. Be it a family member, close friend, spouse or coworker. When we think about alcoholism there is a negative stigma that surrounds it. But is it really something that is easily controlled? Do genetics play a role in alcoholism? Merriam-Webster defines the term "disease" as an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally, or a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop (Merriam-Webster, 2014).

So does alcoholism deserve the title, "Disease"? This is a question that I have long wondered about, and certainly a question that many scientists and doctors have put a lot of time into finding the answer to.

Known for her crass and no-holds-barred technique of giving advice, Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote on her popular blog that alcohol addiction was a choice, not a disease. She went on to say that Alzheimer's disease and Multiple Sclerosis were diseases, because there was not a choice involved, and that alcoholics can simply stop choosing to drink if they really want to. She believes that attaching the label of disease to alcoholism gives...