GC: n

S: NCBI – (last access: 9 February 2018); MDLP – (last access: 9 February 2018).

N: 1. “disease of alcohol addiction,” by 1882, from alcohol + -ism, or else from Modern Latin alcoholismus, coined in 1852 by Swedish professor of medicine Magnus Huss to mean what we now would call “alcohol poisoning, effects of excessive ingestion of alcohol.” In earlier times, alcohol addiction would have been called habitual drunkenness or some such term.
2. Continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks; a chronic, progressive, potentially fatal, psychological and nutritional disorder associated with excessive and usually compulsive drinking of ethanol and characterized by frequent intoxication leading to dependence on or addiction to the substance, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, destructive behaviors (as drunken driving), tissue damage (as cirrhosis of the liver), and severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification.
3. A term of long-standing use and variable meaning, generally taken to refer to chronic continual drinking or periodic consumption of alcohol which is characterized by impaired control over drinking, frequent episodes of intoxication, and preoccupation with alcohol and the use of alcohol despite adverse consequences. The term alcoholism was originally coined in 1849 by Magnus Huss. Untill the 1940s it referred primarily to the physical consequences of long-term heavy drinking (beta alcoholism in Jellinek’s typology). A narrower concept is of alcoholism as a disease (see alcoholism, disease concept of) marked by loss of control over drinking, caused by a pre-existing biological abnormality, and having a predictable progressive course. Later, the term was used by Jellinek and others to denote the consumption of alcohol leading to any type of harm (physical, psychological, or social; individual or societal). Jellinek subdivided alcoholism thus defined into a series of “species” designated by Greek letters (see Jellinek’s typology). The inexactness of the term led a 1979 WHO Expert Committee* to disfavour it, preferring the narrower formulation of alcohol dependence syndrome as one among a wide range of alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism is not included as a diagnostic entity in ICD-IO.
4. Despite its ambiguous meaning, alcoholism is still widely employed as a diagnostic and descriptive term. For instance, in 1990 the American Society of Addiction Medicine defined alcoholism as “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.” Other formulations have split alcoholism into various types, some regarded as diseases and some not (see Jellinek’s typology). Distinctions are made between essential alcoholism and reactive alcoholism, where “essential” indicates that alcoholism is not secondary to or precipitated by some other condition; between primary and secondary alcoholism, to indicate the order of onset in cases of dual diagnosis; and between Type I and Type II alcoholism, the latter having a male-linked, strongly genetic component. In older usage, dipsomania (episodic drinking) and alcohol addiction referred to loss-of-control drinking: inebriety also had a broader reference to habitual intoxication and its harmful effects.
5. The American Psychiatric Association includes alcoholism in the personality disorders.
6. Addiction: marked … dependence upon a substance, such as alcohol … which has gone beyond voluntary control.
7. The use of alcohol does not necessarily induce alcohol addiction.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 9 February 2018). 2. (last access: 9 February 2018). 3 & 4. WHO – (last access: 9 February 2018). 5 to 7. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 9 February 2018).

SYN: alcohol addiction, addiction to alcohol. (depending on context)

S: TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 9 February 2018)

CR: alcohol, alcoholic, disease, disorder, syndrome.