Is alcoholism a disease? When most people think of diseases, they typically think of a physical or medical condition such as cancer, respiratory diseases, or heart diseases – i.e., something that you can physically observe using scientific methods. However, research has shown that alcoholism demonstrates many of the same symptoms as classic diseases. Which is why many need to find an alcohol addiction rehab center in Massachusetts.
Medical professionals identify alcoholism as a primary, chronic, and progressive condition that can also be fatal. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) defines alcoholism as a psychological obsession with alcohol that produces an observable compulsion to drink. Your ability to stop drinking does not exclude it from being classified as a disease.
Alcoholism: A Neurological Disease
Substance abuse creates drastic changes in brain function and neurological processes. A classic example of this would be meth addiction, which drastically prohibits the brain’s ability to produce pleasure. As a result, people increase their usage so that they can regain that sense of pleasure.
While alcohol does not damage the brain to that extent, it does create changes in brain circuits that involve pleasure, learning ability, anxiety, inhibition, and the ability to make rational decisions. If you continue to abuse alcohol regularly for long-period, these brain functions eventually decline, in some cases, terminally.
Your Brain and the Reward System
The effect of alcohol on the brain diminishes the longer you drink. For example, when you first drink wine, a single glass may make you feel tipsy. Six months later, however, it may take three glasses of wine to make you feel tipsy. An alcoholic increases how much alcohol they drink so that they can get the desired feeling.
Meanwhile, during the stages of alcoholism, the brain is craving more alcohol more frequently. Your brain will mentally beg for more alcohol like a small child until you finally give in and take a drink. This reward system creates a vicious cycle that turns into a dependency. As a result, if you refuse to ‘feed your brain’, you will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. This is your brain’s way of striking back, so to speak.
Alcoholism: A Medical Condition
The reward system turns into a medical condition and not just a psychological one. Therefore, it can be extremely difficult to quit drinking once you have crossed the threshold of addiction and dependency. It takes more than just will power to resolve to end your addiction.
An alcohol addiction rehab center in Massachusetts provides the help and support you need to detox alcohol out of your system and recover from alcohol. Treatment specialists at a rehab center treat alcohol like a disease, not just a personal problem. Treatment centers offer science-based treatment for alcohol such as:
- Motivational therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Comprehensive assessments and testing
- Dual diagnosis for addiction and mental disorders
Are You Asking, “Is Alcoholism a Disease?”
Is alcoholism a disease? Find out more at NFA Behavioral Health. We offer treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction at our alcohol addiction rehab center in Massachusetts. Call us at 866.420.6222 to get started with your treatment.