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Definition of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, incurable disease characterized by loss of control over alcohol and other sedatives.
Chronic - lasts for life - is always present.
Progressive - an active alcoholic will continue to get worse… But, if alcoholics remain clean and dry, the coming months and years will bring remarkable and often miraculous improvements in their spiritual, emotional, physical and social well-being.
Incurable - so far, science has given us no cure for alcoholism. Victims of the disease can return to normal life, but only as long as drinking is stopped.
Characterized by loss of control over alcohol and other sedatives - once alcoholics take that first drink after being sober or abstinent, they can't predict with any reliability whether they are going to have a normal or abnormal drinking episode. They no longer control alcohol; it controls them.
Alcoholics have lost control over not just the drug alcohol - for alcohol is basically nothing more than a widely available, socially acceptable, non-prescription and inexpensive tranquilizer or sedative. They've lost control over all other mood-altering drugs as well.
Loss of control is a most important clinical factor. Do they have predictable behavior when they drink? If they do, then they are not an alcoholic. But if their behavior isn't predictable when they drink - if they simply can't tell what will happen next - then the disease has got them in hand.
Alcoholism is a disease. Developing alcoholism is not intentional. Alcoholics today can get proper treatment for the disease. Reaching out for information and help is the first step toward getting well.