Alcoholism, Disease Or Lack Of Self-Control? Essay

Alcoholism Disease Or Lack Of Self Control Essay

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Last year my Uncle was diagnosed with the disease known as alcoholism. He of course went through the whole 12-step program and he is currently a member AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). He has not had a drink since he got out of his 12-step program. This made me think of why alcoholism is considered a disease? Why is it not considered a lack of self-control of the substance of alcohol? Is it the fact that society is led to believe that addictions are a disease and there is always a self help program to go to? Or is it the lack of taking responsibility and facing the problem? So I decided to do some research on the so-called disease of alcoholism. So I went to the library. My first stop was the Internet. I found a lot of information on the topic of Alcoholism in the Another Empty Bottle website. An organization on the Internet for help with alcoholism. I found out that there are two main theories about alcoholism. One is the disease model and the other model is the social learning model. The disease model states that alcoholism is defined as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environment factors influencing its development and manifestation. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuos or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Yet there are wholes in the disease model. One Alcoholism isn t always progressive. Drinkers can often maintain the same level of drinking for years. Others drink and stop at will. While others struggle their whole lives with the disease. Two. Once an alcoholic isn t always true. Several treatment methods do not rely on total abstinence and are successful (Another Empty Bottle). The second model is the Social learning model. It states that problem drinking is, like all human behavior, learned. Drinking alcohol is a functional activity, which either produces a pleasant consequence or avoids an unpleasant one such as anxiety. Acting upon this basic psychophysiological effect are social and psychosocial factors such as cultural, peer group and family influences together with occupation, personality, subculture, price and availability. Yet there are also wholes in the social learning model. One. Alcoholism is influenced by genetics. Two. It does not adequately explain the apparently illogical self-destructiveness of some levels of alcohol consumption. Three. It inadequately explains alcoholism s ability to affect all ages, races, classes, groups, and cultures ( Another Empty Bottle). My next and last stop was Oden the libraries catalog for books. I found four books that enlightened me on the subject of alcoholism. They are Understanding The Alcoholics Mind by Arnold M. Ludwig, M.D., Is Alcoholism Hereditary? by Donald Goodwin, The Disease Concept of Alcoholism by E.M. Jellinek, and What You Should Know About Alcoholism by Don Tracy. With this adequate information I have, I feel I can fully explore the concept of Alcoholism being a disease or a lack of self-control. My stand on this subject is that alcoholism should not be considered a disease. Who knows though my stand could change after writing this paper. Considering all the information I have on the subject. To start off with we all know that alcoholism is a loss of self-control over alcohol. Yet where does the addiction become a disease? Or should it even be considered a disease? Some people say that genetics has a lot to do with alcoholism. This is true, if your family has long line of alcoholics, then your chances are quite high that you will become an alcoholic. That is if you let yourself lose control and become one. The choice is always yours to stop yourself from becoming an alcoholic. For example in the case of a disease, such as cancer, Genetics has also a lot to do with cancer as well. If your family has long line of cancer victims for example then your chances are high then to get cancer. You don t have a choice to get cancer or not, but you always have a choice when it comes to alcoholism. Which is why I don t believe alcoholism should be labeled as a disease. You have a choice to become an alcoholic or not, but you never have a choice in the matter of getting cancer. When I started looking over the books I had checked out I realized that they were not really what I was looking for until I got to E.M. Jellinek s book. It really intrigued me to find out about why alcoholism is a disease. In 1955 with help from AA and Jellinek, got alcoholism acknowledged as a disease by the World Health Organization. The reasons why it is considered a disease according to the World Health Organization is that those suffering from the disease differ
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