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Alcoholism vs dipsomania

Alcoholism is an addiction or a dependency on alcohol. The word alcoholism comes from the Modern Latin word alcoholismus, which was coined in the mid-1800s by Magnus Huss, a professor of medicine in Sweden. However, Huss used the word to describe an illness that is called alcohol poisoning, today. At this time, alcoholism was labeled as habitual drunkeness, and other similar terms.

Dipsomania is a type of alcoholism which is characterized by periodic bouts of uncontrollable craving for alcohol. Alcoholism and dipsomania are not interchangeable, dipsomania describes a form of alcoholism that includes periods of sobriety. The word dipsomania was coined in 1843 to mean a morbid craving for alcohol, from the Greek word dipsa, which means thirst.


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Examples

She said Al-Anon helped her find solace while her 20-something son recovered from alcoholism and drug addiction. (The Akron Beacon Journal)

“I don’t talk about his alcoholism, so why would he talk about my foolishly perceived fascism?” he told the Times through a spokeswoman. (The Boston Globe)

Pat Eddery’s battle with alcoholism has been aired in a heartbreaking post by his daughter Natasha on the social media website Instagram. (The Daily Mail)

The full story didn’t emerge for 30 years, when a reporter finally spilled the beans on a tale with “elements of pageantry, drama, comedy and farce; of ponderous dignity and unseemly revelry; of silk-hatted diplomacy with a dash of dipsomania.” (The Miami Herald)

My souvenir from summer 2012 is an embarrassingly large collection of bowler hats betraying something between complete brand devotion and acute dipsomania. (The Huffington POst)

The mixer is key here, because without some other liquid as a barrier to dipsomania they’ll be visiting “one porcelain bowl” during the Twelve Days of Christmas. (The Atlantic)

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