National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Department of Health and Human Services; National Institutes of Health; NIAAA: Understanding the …

Stigma on Alcoholism: A Modest Proposal – Points: The …

Nevertheless, news stories surface every year proclaiming discoveries of the genetic sources of emotional and behavioral problems while ignoring the mountains of evidence that refutes such preposterous assertions. In the study a genetic marker was found in 69 percent of 70 cadavers who had died from alcohol related deaths. But, the cadavers only represented 5 percent of the American population. According to the study 25 percent of the population has the "alcoholism gene marker" or genetic predisposition. The actual alcoholic population is 10 percent. It was then found that only 1/5 of the 25 percent that have the marker would develop alcoholic drinking that fit the parameters of those involved in the Blum-Noble study. Therefore, the results failed to demonstrate any increased vulnerability to alcoholism. In later articles it was revealed that the genetic marker appears to have little to do with becoming alcoholic. Not surprising, the AMA supported the faulty findings with limited investigation. The two members of the team who reported the false discovery of the gene were not without bias. Ernest Noble is the former director of the NIAAA and Blum, a Pharmacologist for Texas University, markets his own remedy for the malady in the form of supplements.

Fighting Alcoholism With Medications

Then, there is the DSM IV criterion for diagnosing alcohol abuse. It also does not include physically measurable symptoms. It only requires social and/or legal problems. The DSM IV criterion for diagnosing alcohol dependence requires only one physical symptom that is a result of drinking too much, which is alcohol withdrawal. Following this logic, if a person smokes cigarettes they do not have a problem, but, when they stop smoking and go through nicotine withdrawal, they are then diseased. Yet, most treatment professionals seem oblivious to these blatant contradictions. (Keep in mind that cigarette smoking is not a disease according to DSM IV, although it causes far more health problems than does the use of alcohol and all other drugs combined.)

Looking at the situation objectively, if alcoholism is passed through genes, the abnormality must be relatively new. As stated previously, alcoholism did not exist in the early colonization of America. In fact, it did not exist until the late 1700's. Some would argue that the residents of the United States are largely immigrants and as a result the alcoholism gene was introduced later in history. Meaning, the "new" citizens are not of the same family tree as those of the 1700s. But, it’s important to point out, many cultures outside of the United States do not even know what alcoholism is; they do not have a word for it. People with different cultural backgrounds do not have different genetic make-ups. America's arrogance has led the population to believe that we are scientifically more advanced than other cultures; therefore, we know the truth and they do not. But this is far from true. In a country where we claim to "know the truth", the City of Los Angeles has more addicts than all of Europe. While professionals strive to obscure the stigma surrounding alcoholics, they are in essence, removing the social unacceptability of the act. By removing the stigma, they are encouraging this socially unacceptable behavior to continue.


Alcoholism Statistics and Family

The disease concept originated in the 1800s with a fellow by the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush. He believed those who drank too much alcohol were diseased and used the idea to promote his prohibitionist political platform. He also believed that dishonesty, political dissention and being of African-American descent were diseases. The "disease concept" was used throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s by prohibitionists and those involved in the Temperance Movement to further their political agenda. Prior to c.1891, the term alcoholic, referring to someone who drank too much alcohol, did not exist. Before that, alcohol was freely consumed, but drunkenness was not tolerated. Many sociologists contribute its non-existence to the very stigma that the disease concept removes. Drunkenness was not so much seen as the cause of deviant behavior-in particular crime and violence- as it was construed as a sign that an individual was willing to engage in such behavior." (H.G. Levine, "The Good Creature of God and the Demon Rum," in Alcohol and Disinhibitition, eds. R. Room and G. Collins.) During this period of time social ties and family played a much more influential role in an individual's life. Therefore, deviant behaviors were undesirable and less likely to occur. It was not until industrialization began, when the importance of social and family ties diminished, that alcoholism became a problem. We now live in a society that encourages binge drinking as a social norm, but at the same time, we live in a society that discourages it.

Alcoholism: Practice Essentials, Background, …

In the 1920s Fitzgerald fell into severe alcoholism and suffered from writer's block, and Zelda's mental health deteriorated (in 1930 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia). The couple moved between Delaware and France, and Zelda was hospitalised in Switzerland and Baltimore. In 1932 Zelda published her semi-autobiographical novel Save me the Waltz. Scott was furious that she had drawn heavily on their life together, but would go on to do the same himself in his novel (1934), the story of an American psychiatrist married to a schizophrenic. The novel was a commercial disaster.

Alcoholism Is Not a Disease - Baldwin Research Institute

History and science have shown us that the existence of the disease of alcoholism is pure speculation. Just saying alcoholism is a disease, doesn't make it true. Nevertheless, medical professionals and American culture enthusiastically embraced the disease concept and quickly applied it to every possible behavior from alcohol abuse to compulsive lecturing and nail biting. The disease concept was a panacea for many failing medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies, adding billions of dollars to the industry and leading to a prompt evolution of pop-psychology. Research has shown that alcoholism is a choice, not a disease, and stripping alcohol abusers of their choice, by applying the disease concept, is a threat to the health of the individual.