Alcoholism as a Disease or a Cognitive Behavior

Topics: Alcoholism, Drug addiction, Disease theory of alcoholism Pages: 4 (1098 words) Published: March 10, 2008
Alcoholism as a Disease or a Cognitive Behavior
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is the leading juggernaut in information and ideas formulated concerning alcoholism and what it is considered. The popular belief for roughly the past 200 years has been that alcoholism is a disease. Many non-conformist religious personalities and doctors believe, however, alcoholism is a behavior and should not be classified the same way as diabetes and periodontal gum disease. The burden of this paper as a whole is to provide you with both sides of the argument so that you can take an educated stance on whether or not alcoholism is a disease or just a behavioral problem.

To set the records straight, Alcoholics Anonymous is not the originator of the concept of alcoholism as a disease. The members however, are responsible for spreading and popularizing this understanding. The concept of alcoholism being a disease was first coined by Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1784 and has since been the widespread opinion of the masses ( A.A. still uses the term disease despite the fact that they have published items stating the term being exercised too lackadaisical, but still helps in explaining situations and stories from alcoholics.

First, let's start off with some examples of why this problem is considered a disease and later we will hear the other side of the debate. Dr. Rush observed that those individuals suffering from an addiction to alcohol described their problem in a way that resembled many diseases because of its pejorative or negative affect on life. The problem is usually one with symptoms of relapse and dependency. Ferentzy "identifies habitual drinking as a progressive disease and that loss of control is the chief symptom" (371). Much like many diseases alcoholism can be very hard to not only get under control, but to keep under control as well.

Getting the problem under control is difficult because it is described to have a subacute or progressive nature much like...
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