In years past, alcoholism was sometimes considered to be a moral defect, a choice or a character flaw. Today, an increasing number of people are asking the question, “Is alcoholism a disease?” More and more, research suggests that the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Alcoholism Has a Genetic Component
An important factor to take into consideration when exploring whether alcoholism is a disease is genetics. There are many studies showcasing a genetic component to alcoholism. This reveals that it’s not a choice, but a genetic predisposition.
A person with a family risk of heart disease or breast cancer is more likely to develop those diseases in the future. Similarly, a person with alcoholism in the family is also more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol.
This may be, at least in part, because certain individuals have innate brain chemistry that encourages the development of addiction. In addition, this helps to explain why not all those who drink alcohol go on to struggle with alcoholism.
Alcohol Addiction Chemically Alters the Brain
There’s no denying that those diagnosed with alcoholism aren’t able to simply stop drinking. Alcoholism alters the body, and particularly the brain and central nervous system. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms aren’t psychosomatic, and they can be very real and very uncomfortable when not treated properly.
These physical repercussions show that alcoholism isn’t something individuals can simply decide to walk away from. While recovery takes dedication and work, it’s still an illness that requires medical attention to address the altered brain chemistry of addiction.
Is Alcoholism a Disease That Can be Treated?
After identifying that alcoholism is a disease, a major concern is whether or not you can treat it. Like many other diseases, the treatment of alcoholism isn’t always straightforward.
It’s absolutely true that a person struggling with alcoholism can complete rehab and addiction treatment and walk away sober. In order for that to happen, however, they’ll need to attend a quality rehab center that addresses each of the following:
- Physical health and nutrition
- Personal and spiritual fulfillment
- Mental health or dual diagnosis treatment
- Individual, group and/or family therapy
- Relapse prevention awareness and planning
Like Other Diseases, Alcoholism Requires Ongoing Care to Prevent Relapse
Finally, it’s vital that those attempting recovery understand and prepare for relapse. Patients struggling with cancer or diabetes can’t expect to get better in a few weeks and never go back to a doctor’s office. Similarly, addicts can’t leave rehab and think they’re healed for a lifetime.
Ongoing care might include sober living facilities, 12-step meetings or group therapy that places an emphasis on preparing for relapse and staying strong against temptation.
Now that you know the answer to, “Is alcoholism a disease?”, you can get help from Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon. Targeted treatment programs, and a range of therapies treat addiction at its root. Call 866.262.0531 to start your journey to sobriety and to start living the life you deserve.