The American Medical Association declared alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991 they AMA endorsed the classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections.
Alcoholism is 50-60% genetically determined, passed through generations. Alcoholism is a chronic, life-long disease. In all cases, the patient is never able to regain the ability to drink in moderation..... but, the disease theory is often interpreted as implying that problem drinkers are incapable of returning to controlled drinking and therefore that treatment should focus on total abstinence. Some critics have used evidence of problem drinkers returning to controlled drinking to dispute the disease theory.
Depends who you ask.
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