In forming an estimate of the Inquisition, it is necessary to distinguish clearly between principles and historical fact on the one hand, and on the other those exaggerations or rhetorical descriptions which reveal bias and an obvious determination to injure Catholicism , rather than to encourage the spirit of tolerance and further its exercise. It is also essential to note that the Inquisition, in its establishment and procedure, pertained not to the sphere of belief , but to that of discipline . The dogmatic teaching of the Church is in no way affected by the question as to whether the Inquisition was justified in its scope, or wise in its methods, or extreme in its practice. The Church established by Christ , as a perfect society , is empowered to make laws and inflict penalties for their violation. Heresy not only violates her law but strikes at her very life, unity of belief ; and from the beginning the heretic had incurred all the penalties of the ecclesiastical courts . When Christianity became the religion of the Empire, and still more when the peoples of Northern Europe became Christian nations, the close alliance of Church and State made unity of faith essential not only to the ecclesiastical organization, but also to civil society . Heresy , in consequence, was a crime which secular rulers were bound in duty to punish. It was regarded as worse than any other crime, even that of high treason; it was for society in those times what we call anarchy . Hence the severity with which heretics were treated by the secular power long before the Inquisition was established. As regards the character of these punishments, it should be considered that they were the natural expression not only of the legislative power, but also of the popular hatred for heresy in an age that dealt both vigorously and roughly with criminals of every type. The heretic , in a word, was simply an outlaw whose offence, in the popular mind, deserved and sometimes received a punishment as summary as that which is often dealt out in our own day by an infuriated populace to the authors of justly detested crimes. That such intolerance was not peculiar to Catholicism , but was the natural accompaniment of deep religious conviction in those, also, who abandoned the Church , is evident from the measures taken by some of the Reformers against those who differed from them in matters of belief . As the learned Dr. Schaff declares in his "History of the Christian Church" (vol. V, New York, 1907, p. 524), To the great humiliation of the Protestant churches , religious intolerance and even persecution unto death were continued long after the Reformation . In Geneva the pernicious theory was put into practice by state and church , even to the use of torture and the admission of the testimony of children against their parents , and with the sanction of Calvin . Bullinger, in the second Helvetic Confession, announced the principle that heresy could be punished like murder or treason .
These critics hold that by removing some of the stigma and personal responsibility the disease concept actually increases alcoholism and drug abuse and thus the need for treatment.  This is somewhat supported by a study which found that a greater belief in the disease theory of alcoholism and higher commitment to total abstinence to be factors correlated with increased likelihood that an alcoholic would have a full-blown relapse (substantial continued use) following an initial lapse (single use).  However, the authors noted that "the direction of causality cannot be determined from these data. It is possible that belief in alcoholism as a loss-of-control disease predisposes clients to relapse, or that repeated relapses reinforce clients' beliefs in the disease model."
Interesting. It sounds like a inflammatory disease may be triggered molecular mimicry:
Another fate of the foreign proteins is they can cause the body to make antibodies that are not solely specific to that foreign protein, but also interact with similar human proteins. This mechanism is known as molecular mimicry. The body attacks itself and the resulting diseases are referred to as autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and the other inflammatory forms of arthritis are autoimmune diseases.