Is Alcoholism A Disease?

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Lots of people think it is, some think it should be but many other people think it isn’t. We think it is a disease. Here’s a few points to add to the topic:

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognises addiction as a primary disease – one which is not caused by any other disorder. The American Psychiatric Association soon followed suit, recognizing the likelihood of relapse and the necessity of holistic treatment for addicts.

American College of Physicians, the US National Institutes for Health and the World Health Organisation classify alcoholism as a disease.

“Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.”
American Society of Addiction Medicine

The American Medical Association declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991, it further endorsed the dual classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections.

“It is clear that alcohol dependence is as much a disorder of the brain as any other neurological or psychiatric illness.”
World Health Organisation

What do you think? Email us with your thoughts to:

John McLean 
Abbeycare Foundation


Concerned about a loved one? Call 24/7: 01603 513 091

Author: Dr Khan

Consultant, General and Forensic Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead, Abbeycare Scotland Dr Khan is Abbeycare Scotland’s clinical lead, and oversees the delivery of the medical and detox elements of the Abbeycare program at our Scottish clinic. Read more about Dr Khan on LinkedIn

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