More than a matter of willpower -- alcoholism is a disease
By Iesha Richards, USAG Ansbach ASAPApril 28, 2015
ANSBACH, Germany (April 28, 2015) -- Not everyone realizes that alcoholism is considered a disease. After all, it can be more difficult to sympathize with someone suffering from alcoholism than it is to sympathize with someone suffering from heart disease.Nevertheless, people addicted to alcohol often need more than a "strong will" to curb their drinking habits. In fact, medication is sometimes needed to safely detoxify someone who is suffering from alcoholism to prevent extreme withdrawals that can be fatal.According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a disease is defined as (1) an illness that affects a person, (2) that prevents the body or mind from working normally, and (3) a problem that a person has and cannot stop.Alcoholism is considered a chronic disease that must be managed throughout the life of the sufferer. Symptoms include:1. Intense cravings: A strong need or urge to drink2. Loss of control: Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun3. Brain changes: Alteration in normal brain functions4. Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety after stopping drinking5. Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to achieve the same level of impairmentIgnorance about alcoholism can lead to ridicule (intended and unintended) from friends and family, and shame or embarrassment for the individual suffering from alcoholism. The combination of ridicule, shame and embarrassment can make seeking treatment less likely. Social support and encouragement is essential for those recovering from alcoholism to maintain healthy drinking habits.If you or someone you know would like more information, support or services related to the use of alcohol, please contact the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Army Substance Abuse Program at 09802-83-1710 or DSN 467-1710, or refer to the "Related Links" section to the right of this article for more resources.