In 1956, the American Medical Association, and in 1960, the American Psychological Association, determined that addiction to Alcohol and other Drugs was a disease, because it exhibited these characteristics: Primary, Progressive, Symptomatic, Chronic and Fatal.
Primary means the professionals do not know what causes addiction.
Primary also means cause unknown, idiopathic, or etiology undetermined.
Progressive means the disease gets worse over time and not better.
Symptomatic means the disease is identifiable and can be diagnosed through observing the manifestations of the disease and its symptoms, in a person's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Symptomatic also can be observed by laboratory tests.
Chronic means the disease is lifelong, incurable and cannot be cured.
Fatal means the disease will kill the individual prematurely, if the disease is not properly treated.
Primary is the main focus of this article about this disease. When the disease first appeared on earth, church and religious leaders were at the forefront to investigate what caused the disease. The four main causes that church and religious leaders proposed were, sinning, weak will power, low moral standards or possession by an evil demon.
Then in the 1800's science and medicine took over the investigation and study of the disease and they have proposed the following possible causes of the disease. Heredity, Genetics, Learned behavior, Addictive personality, Genetic predisposition, Addiction in family history, Post traumatic stress disorder, Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Sexual abuse, Poor Emotional control, Emotional immaturity, Behavior disorder, Coping mechanism, Boredom, Poverty, Low self-confidence, Low self esteem, ADD, Minorities, Inadequate coping skills, Chemical imbalance, Abandonment, Inability to say no to peer pressure, Poor parenting, Stress, Mood disorder, Emotional disorder, Behavior disorder, Personality disorder, Manic depression, Problems with delaying gratification, Poor impulse control, Mental illness, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Investigating brain chemistry, Neurotransmitters, Investigation it as a brain disease, and that those addicts are self-medicating.
The disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs remains a primary disease today.