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November 20, 1937

To Drink or Not to Drink

JAMA. 1937;109(21):1752. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780470074038

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This interesting and lucid book on the "problem drinker" deals with but one aspect of the problem of addiction to alcohol. The author does not undertake to discuss those diverse pathologic mental problems associated with chronic alcoholism.

The book consists of eleven chapters, the last being a dissertation on the archaic attitude of the general public toward alcoholism. The popular conception of the chronic alcoholic addict has been one of condemnation. The moral issue, with its indignant attitude and vindictive outlook, stands in paradoxical relationship to the opinions of poets and philosophers who have sung through the ages of the joys of drinking. These paradoxical attitudes represent forms of individual rationalization and probably bear a relation to the popular concepts respecting individual responsibilities involving choice of behavior.

The problem drinker cannot be understood or satisfactorily treated, or his condition ameliorated or prevented through an emotional outlook that is influenced by

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