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  • Posted By: buffboy
  • Date Posted: 06/22/2011
  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 2572
  • Pages: 11
  • Views: 1314
  • Rank: 763

Alcoholism is a Disease

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Alcoholism is a Disease

Many people in the United States have family members who are alcoholics, and most of them wonder if they too will become alcoholics, or if it is truly a disease and hereditary. Nearly 17.6 million Americans are alcoholics or are alcohol dependent (Nakaya, 2007). While some believe that alcoholism is a choice, for many years scientific studies and medical professionals state that alcoholism is a disease.

Alcohol abuse is defined as the overindulgence in and dependence that can lead to outcomes that can be harmful. Alcohol abuse is characterized by a pattern of on-going pathological use that result in consequences such as family obligations, work, school and legal problems (Wikipedia 2008). Dependence and abuse are distinct from addiction.

The term addiction was first used in reference to opium in 1906. A devotion, dedication, or attachment was used to describe addiction; however the term now is used to describe a reoccurring compulsion to engage in a specific activity regardless of the consequences. Addiction can also be defined as a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal function, and when taken away it can cause with-drawls.

People in the medical field make a distinction between physical and psychological dependence. Physical dependencies are characterized by symptoms of withdrawal and psychological dependencies are simple addictions. Common withdrawal symptoms from physical dependencies can include increased heart rate and/or blood pressure, sweating and tremors. Sometimes confusion, seizures and hallucination become more serious and should be treated as an emergency. Psychological dependencies lead to psychological withdrawal such as cravings, depression, insomnia, irritability, and more serious withdrawals can include psychiatric disorders or suicidal thoughts. There is the possibility to be both physically and psychologically dependent at the same time. Some doctors make little distinction between the two because the result of substance abuse is ...

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