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Wolverine's love of beer is fairly well known. According to Wikipedia, he can even suffer the effects of intoxication if he binges.

However, does he have an actual alcohol dependence? Considering his mutant healing factor, and despite the fact that he can potentially get drunk if he consumes enough, can he develop an alcohol dependence?

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    There is both physical and mental dependence. No idea if he's immune to the physical, but hard to be immune to the mental. – Justin C Apr 4 '12 at 16:18
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    @JustinC Good point. However, I believe the mental dependence is largely a result of the physical intoxication. If only massive doses get Logan a buzz, it might be much harder for him to become mentally dependent. – Beofett Apr 4 '12 at 16:20
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    Wolverine's love of beer doesn't make him alcoholic, it makes him Canadian. – DJClayworth Apr 4 '12 at 20:44
  • With Wolverine's healing factor, his drinking beer seems self defeating. Beer is typically only 6% by volume, you'd think he drink Ever clear if he wanted to actually catch a buzz. Comic code not withstanding – user16696 Jun 29 '15 at 21:05
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No, Wolverine is not an alcoholic. Logan does not show any of the classic behaviors associated with alcoholism.

Alcoholism is a degenerative disease with behaviors associated with it including binges, periods of intense drinking, using alcohol to reduce emotional or psychological distress, coupled with periods of loss of control. Later stages include denial of the problem, the extremes of alcohol poisoning, the slow dissolution of the drinker's life due to the effects of being constantly intoxicated.

If his mutant ability did not manifest until his teen years, it would theoretically be possible for him to have acquired the early stages of physical and or psychological addiction, but once his mutant power kicked in, he would literally be unable to maintain any state of being high as his body immediately repaired any high as a threat to his metabolism.

Judging from the level of physical proficiency he has acquired as a soldier, secret agent and assassin, it would belie any level of long-term addiction but he may suffer from other psychological issues due to damage taken during his career, injuries healed and post-traumatic stress he would have been exposed to during his life. He also has issues around physical abuse suffered as a child.

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http://x-men.wikia.com/wiki/Wolverine

Foreign Chemical Immunity: Wolverine's natural healing also affords him the virtual immunity to poisons and most drugs, except in massive doses. For example, it is extremely difficult for him to become intoxicated from alcohol.

I think that if he has a problem, it is completely a mental addiction. That article also states that Logan turned to drugs and alcohol when he was younger as a way to test the limits of his powers as he was obsessed with being a mutant. And since he's immune to foreign substances, I would assume he was just trying to get some sort of relief that never came.

Logan becomes obsessed with his own mutant nature, which he comes to realize has played a far more important role in his past successes than he had previously believed; disillusioned with himself he turns to drugs and alcohol, perhaps in an effort to test the extent of his healing factor.

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    I would add that his attention to studying / perfecting Zen came in part from a need to still his own mind from his inner struggles, and that may also be due to the fact that he could not just "wash away" his pain with drugs & alcohol. Ironically this pushed him to a better path. – AJotr May 25 '12 at 22:47
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From the DSM IV ("Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume IV", the manual psychologists use to diagnose psychological problems) - these are the criteria which a psychologist would use to determine whether a patient has alcohol problems:

ALCOHOL ABUSE

Definition: A maladaptive pattern of drinking, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least one of the following occurring within a 12-month period:

Recurrent use of alcohol resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to alcohol use; alcohol-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household)

Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by alcohol use)

Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol-related disorderly conduct)

Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication).

ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE

Definition: A maladaptive pattern of drinking, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three or more of the following occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:

Need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol

The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol; or drinking (or using a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms

Drinking in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.

Persistent desire or one or more unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking

Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced because of drinking

A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects of drinking

Continued drinking despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by drinking.

Source: Adapted from American Psychiatric Association (APA). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC: APA, 2000.

He might abuse alcohol, but he probably isn't dependent. With his mutant ability to resist poisons, he would have to chug bottle after bottle of liquor to be dependent. Beer just won't do it for him.

  • How does the dsm define a functional alcoholic? – user16696 Jun 29 '15 at 21:03
  • @cde - I only have the (now outdated, as of last year, I believe) DSM-IV. As far as I know, the term "functional alcoholic" doesn't appear in the DSM-IV. Whether or not it appears in the DSM-V, I don't know. It would be a subset of alcohol abuse/dependence, and the DSM-IV is intended to be used to diagnose illnesses, not necessarily subsets within illnesses. As I understand it, the DSM-V reflects a move towards sliding scales in many cases, including substance abuse, rather than firm categories. – Wad Cheber Jun 29 '15 at 21:10
  • @cde - So the new DSM-V might include more information about functionality. – Wad Cheber Jun 29 '15 at 21:16
  • I don't believe "functional alcoholic" is a clinical term. It just means they're better at hiding the problems alcoholism causes. – Beofett Jun 30 '15 at 12:17

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