Is Alcoholism and Drug Abuse a Disease?

How many of you would actually agree to this? I guess, a very few or perhaps no one. But working with chemical dependants for so many years I have now accepted the fact that it is a disease.

Dependency on chemicals has always been thought of as a problem related more to the morality of an individual – a weak person with defective value system. But several researches have proved that addiction is a disease. It is a chronic disease which is progressive but can be arrested at any point of time with proper intervention though there is always a chance of relapse which is due to the prolonged effect of the drugs on the brain.

In 1951 World Health Organization accepted alcoholism as a major medical problem. The American Medical Association considered alcoholism as a treatable disease in 1956. In 1960 E.M.Jellink first presented a comprehensive disease model of alcoholism. The American Psychiatric Association described alcoholism as a disease in 1965. The disease concept was at first applied to alcoholism but later covered addiction to other drugs also.

If you think about certain characteristics of addiction it will be easier for you to accept it as a disease:

  • Addiction can be defined
  • It has definite signs and symptoms
  • It has a definite course which is predictable
  • It is a primary disease, not a manifestation of any other disease
  • It is treatable
  • It is permanent – can be arrested but cannot be totally cured
  • It is terminal since if not treated, it leads to insanity or death.

Addiction is a disease which affects the physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects. The effective treatment procedures must include these aspects in their treatment module.

Thus if you know someone who is suffering from the disease please do not ignore him or her. Take them to a rehab centre and help then to recover.

Recently I read this article.

Thought you may find this to be helpful. Please share your thoughts and let us know if you happen to find some useful info on preventing drug abuse.

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