How Can You Call Alcoholism a Disease – Cancer is a Disease! by Lisa Frederiksen


This is a common refrain one hears when the statement is made, “Alcoholism is a Disease.” As crazy as it may sound, it’s true – alcoholism is a disease. How do we know?

Thanks to new imaging technologies of the past 10-15 years, neuroscientist and medical professionals are now able to study the live human brain in action and over time, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, with mental illness, after treatment, with traumatic brain injury or depression or anxiety, under stress, with medication, and years after the brain has healed. It’s nothing short of profound!

And thanks to these new imaging technologies, it’s now understood that addiction – whether to drugs or alcohol – is a chronic, often relapsing – but very treatable – brain disease. You see, a disease by its simplest definition is something that changes cells in a negative way. Addiction changes cells in the brain. Not understanding addiction for what it is – a brain disease – let alone how and why it happens, what a person can do to treat it, why a person who’s an alcoholic can never drink if they want to treat their disease, whereas a person who abuses alcohol can modify their drinking patterns – leaves most people believing that alcoholism is still a choice and therefore a matter of willpower.

To help you better understand that, please watch this short 10 minute video.

And to the point of “Cancer is a Disease” – I’d like to leave you with two more shared posts. They have to do with the shame that surrounds the disease of alcoholism (addiction); a shame that perpetuates the misinformation about the disease; a shame that keeps people from seeking the help they need. Thanks for reading, “Help Shatter the Shame of Addiction | Share the Facts,” and “Recovering in Anonymity – Does it Continue the Secrecy and Shame.”

About the author:

Lisa Frederiksen is the author of nine books and a national keynote speaker with over 25 years public speaking experience. She has been consulting, researching, writing and speaking on alcohol abuse, drug addiction, secondhand drinking, treatment, mental illness, underage drinking, and help for the family since 2003. Her 40+ years experience with family and friends’ alcohol abuse and alcoholism, her own therapy and recovery work around those experiences, and her research for her blog posts and books, including her most recent – Crossing The Line From Alcohol Use to Abuse to Dependence, Loved One In Treatment? Now What! and  If You Loved Me, You’d Stop! – frame her work with medical school students, families, individuals, students and administrators, businesses, public agencies, social workers, family law attorneys, treatment providers and the like. Follow Lisa on Facebook or contact her directly at


Connect with us