The History of Alcoholism Treatment in the United States

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The treatment of alcoholism has had a unique historical development in the United States. This study provides a chronology of how the problem of alcoholism was defined and handled during various time periods in United States history. The process that evolved resulted in an abstinence based, comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of alcoholism as a primary disease based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. This treatment modality, that developed outside of established medicine, is currently used by the majority of treatment providers. Seven individuals who have been actively involved in alcoholism treatment were interviewed. In addition to archival research, ... continued below

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vi, 369 leaves

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Brent, Suzanne S. (Suzanne Stokes) December 1996.

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  • Brent, Suzanne S. (Suzanne Stokes)

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Description

The treatment of alcoholism has had a unique historical development in the United States. This study provides a chronology of how the problem of alcoholism was defined and handled during various time periods in United States history. The process that evolved resulted in an abstinence based, comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of alcoholism as a primary disease based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. This treatment modality, that developed outside of established medicine, is currently used by the majority of treatment providers.
Seven individuals who have been actively involved in alcoholism treatment were interviewed. In addition to archival research, biographies and autobiographies were examined to gain a broad perspective. Because alcoholism is both a collective and an individual problem an effort was made to include a microsociological frame of reference within a broad sociological view.
Alcoholism, or inebriety, was first perceived as a legal and moral problem. By the end of the 19th century, inebriety was recognized as an illness differing from mental illness, and separate asylums were established for its treatment. Alcoholism is currently accepted and treated as a primary disease by the majority of social institutions, but the legal and moral implications remain.
National Prohibition in the early part of the 20th century targeted alcohol instead of the alcoholic delaying any progress toward treatment which was made in the 19th century. The advent of Alcoholics Anonymous brought the first widely accepted hope for alcoholics. The treatment process that developed utilized the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous in a setting of shared recovery which has been difficult to quantify. In 1970 the allocation of federal funds for treatment and research brought the involvement of new disciplines creating both conflicts and possibilities. Alcoholism recovery has elucidated the connection of mind, body, and spirit.

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vi, 369 leaves

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  • December 1996

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • July 14, 2015, 9:28 a.m.

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Brent, Suzanne S. (Suzanne Stokes). The History of Alcoholism Treatment in the United States, dissertation, December 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277997/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .