Alcohol Abuse and Addiction - The Definition Of Alcoholism, Alcohol Abuse Or Alcoholism?, Prevalence Of Alcohol Abuse Andalcoholism, Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism Invarious Racial/ethnic Groups
Alcohol is an addictive substance, but not everyone who drinks it becomes addicted. Most of those who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics. Scientists cannot explain what individual traits account for the difference, but they suspect that a wide variety of factors may make a person more susceptible to addictions of all kinds.
Alcoholism was recognized as a disease more than two hundred years ago. In 1785 Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first physician-general of Washington's Continental Army, wrote an essay on "the effects of ardent spirits," calling intemperance a disease and an addiction. Throughout the nineteenth century, physicians considered intemperance a disease. Opposition to the disease concept was widespread, however, especially among those who advocated a moralistic view of alcoholism. The temperance movement, for example, espoused that alcoholism could be cured through personal dedication or as part of a commitment to God.