What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is recognised as a major health problem. In the UK it ranks alongside heart disease and cancer - and it does not damage alcoholics alone. Others are hurt by its effects - in the home, at work and on the road. Alcoholism costs the community millions of pounds every year. So whether or not you ever become an alcoholic yourself, alcoholism still can have an impact on your life.
We have learned a great deal about how to identify and arrest alcoholism. But so far no one has discovered a way to prevent it, because nobody knows exactly why some drinkers turn into alcoholics. Doctors and scientists in the field have not agreed on the cause (or causes) of alcoholism.
For that reason, AA concentrates on helping those who are already alcoholics, so that they can stop drinking and learn how to live a normal, happy life without alcohol.
As AA sees it, alcoholism is an illness. Alcoholics cannot control their drinking, because they are ill in their bodies and in their minds (or emotions), AA believes. If they do not stop drinking, their alcoholism always gets worse.
Both the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association, chief organisations of doctors in those countries, also have said that alcoholism is an illness.
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