Is alcholism a disease?

I’ve been discussing a related topic in class, however the professor keeps refering to alcholism as a disease. While I realize that alcoholics can not always control their impulses, I still fail to see how that creates a disease. A problem yes, but nothing like influenza or the plague. I’m not looking to come off ignorant or as a troll, I just don’t get it and I’m willing to keep an open mind. Anyone care to explain? Anyone in AA?

It’s more of a mental disease than a physical disease - Alcoholism is in the DSM IV as a diagnosable disorder - typically secondary to another disorder or dysfunction. (Eg. Anti-social Personality Disorder, Depression, etc.)

Alcoholism also has a hereditary component - those with a parent who is alcoholic are more likely to be alcoholic themselves.

There is some controversy surrounding this, I think. (Although it may have been resolved in professional circles - I’m not sure.)

However, I don’t think your professor would be incorrect in refering to the “Disease of Alcholism”.

Um, this will be in Great Debates in a flash.

You might want to do a quick search on this topic. We have debated it ad infinitum in the past.

You can also do a Google search for clinical cites. The American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a disease about 40 years ago.

I’m almost reluctant to link to this thread, because it turned into a full-on war between those who support the definition of alcoholism as a disease (myself included) and those who do not.

However, it does provide the most comprehensive explanation of both sides of the debate that you’re going to find on the SDMB.

Is alcoholism a disease?

The simplest GQ answer is that alcoholism is a disease because the medical community defines it that way. More about why it is defined that way can be found in the linked thread.

I think the simplest answer is that alcoholism fits the pattern of disease, but technically it is not one.

I’d say that addiction is a disease- it’s just that a lot of people feed it with alcohol. If they stop drinking, it is still easy to get hooked on a different substance/act. And someone who’s parents were alcoholic will be more likely to get addicted to something- Alcohol is just the most common.

This being GQ, a definition is in order:

from here
Alcohol fits neatly into the catagory of environmental stress. Note that there’s no mention made of whether the stress is, or is not, voluntary.

Thank you very much for the link, for whatever reason I didn’t see that in the archives.