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Alcoholism as a Primary Disease

Adoption Date:
October 1, 1983; rev. October 1, 1996

Public Policy Statement on Alcoholism as a Primary Disease


**Note: This historical policy statement is available as part of ASAM's Policy Archives, but it is no longer considered current ASAM policy. Please contact ASAM's advocacy staff at advocacy@asam.org for questions related to ASAM's position on this topic.

Based on many years of clinical experience, reinforced by recent and continuing research into the genetic, biochemical and physiological aspects of the effects of alcohol on living systems and of alcoholics and their families, the American Society of Addiction Medicine finds that alcoholism is a complex primary physiological disease, and neither a primary behavior disorder nor a symptomatic manifestation of any other disease process.