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September 22, 1951

Primer on Alcoholism: How People Drink, How to Recognize Alcoholics, and What to Do about Them

JAMA. 1951;147(4):357. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670210069045

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author, executive director of the National Committee on Alcoholism, describes causes of alcoholism from a practical, experienced lay viewpoint. He defines the alcoholic drinker as opposed to the "social" or "heavy" drinker and discusses steps to be taken by the family and friends of the alcoholic in their attempts to bring him to effective treatment. Comment is made on methods of treatment through psychiatry, various types of medication, aversion treatment, and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The book is for the laity and is stated to be primarily directed toward the estimated 20 million or more persons who may be in some way related to, or involved with, an alcoholic. The stated object is to provide these persons with the up-to-date basic knowledge and practical information that is available for the proper handling of this disease. The material is well presented, and the chapters concerning psychiatric treatment and the methods

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