Formulation of definitions of alcohol dependence 19481974

From the time of its inception in 1948, WHO played a major role in formulating public health definitions of 'alcoholism', 'addiction', and 'dependence' through a series of expert committees. Early definitions stressed the sociological rather than the physical aspects of dependence. (7) 'Alcoholics' were defined as:(7)

those excessive drinkers whose dependence upon alcohol has attained such a degree that it shows a noticeable mental disturbance or an interference with their bodily and mental health, their inter-personal relations, and their smooth social and economic functioning; or who show the prodromal signs of such developments.

This definition had limited utility for biological research and psychiatric classification. (8) Therefore the 1955 Committee of Experts on Alcohol and Alcoholism highlighted the importance of physical criteria describing 'alcoholism' as: (9,1°)

a 'chronic disease characterised by a fundamental disturbance of the nervous system which is manifested on a behavioural level by a state of physical dependence. The major forms of this dependence are either inability to stop drinking before drunkenness is achieved, or inability to abstain from drinking because of the appearance of withdrawal symptoms'.

'Alcoholism' was classified under 'Other non-psychotic mental disorders' in ICD-8. (!1 This definition of 'alcoholism' was generic, and included the subcategories of episodic excessive drinking, habitual excessive drinking, and alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction was defined as: (!1)

a state of physical and emotional dependence on regular or periodic, heavy, and uncontrolled alcohol consumption, during which the person experiences a compulsion to drink. On cessation of alcohol intake there are withdrawal symptoms, which may be severe.

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

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