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October 14, 1939

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism

JAMA. 1939;113(16):1513. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800410063032

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The seriousness of the psychiatric and social problem represented by addiction to alcohol is generally underestimated by those not intimately familiar with the tragedies in the families of victims or the resistance addicts offer to any effective treatment. Many psychiatrists regard addiction to alcohol as having a more pessimistic prognosis than schizophrenia. For many years the public was beguiled into believing that short courses of enforced abstinence and catharsis in "institutes" and "rest homes" would do the trick, and now that the failure of such temporizing has become common knowledge, a considerable number of other forms of quack treatment have sprung up. The book under review is a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. It is in no sense a scientific book, although it is introduced by a letter from a physician who claims to know some of the anonymous contributors who have been "cured" of addiction to

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