Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing its development. As this disease progresses, it becomes fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic; impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, and mostly denial.

Primary is referring to the nature of alcoholism as a disease. Primary implies that alcoholism is an addiction, not a symptom of a disease state. It also suggests that when alcohol coexists with other conditions, therapies applied to them are ineffective until the alcoholism is dealt with.

Disease means an involuntary disability. It represents the sum of abnormal state displayed by a group of individuals. These states are associated with a specific, common, set of characteristics by which these individuals differ from the norm and which places them at a disadvantage.

Often progressive and fatal means that the disease persists over time and that physical, psychological, and emotional change may progress as drinking continues.

Alcohol causes premature death through overdose; organic complications involving the brain, liver, heart, and other organs; and by contributing to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and other traumatic events.

Impaired control means the inability to limit alcohol use or consistently limit on any drinking occasions for the duration of the episode, the quantity consumed, and the behavioral consequences of drinking.

Preoccupation, with alcohol use, means excessive focused attention given to the drug alcohol, its effects, and its use. The value given to alcohol by the individual often leads to the taking away of energies away from important life functions.

Adverse consequences are alcohol-related problems or impairments in such areas as Physical health - alcohol withdrawal symptoms, liver disease, gastritis, anemia, pancreatic and neuralgic disorders. Interpersonal functioning such as - marital problems, child abuse, impaired social...