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September 19, 1986

Advances in Understanding of Alcoholism Initiate Evolution in Treatment Programs

JAMA. 1986;256(11):1405. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380110011001

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"THE BASIC PHILOSOPHY has not changed," says Robert Bogue, talking about his past 11 years of working in the alcoholism treatment field. Bogue, who is program manager of Starting Point-Roseville Community Hospital's chemical dependency center, near Sacramento, Calif, adds: "I don't know if that is good or bad."

Other alcoholism treatment professionals echo Bogue's appraisal. Since modern alcoholism treatment really began about 25 to 35 years ago, they say, though some specific therapies have come in and gone out of vogue— such as the more extensive use of disulfiram (Antabuse-Ayerst Laboratories) in the 1970s—the overall approach, techniques, and methods have remained largely the same. Treatment centers teach patients about the disease of alcoholism, and provide personal and emotional counseling. The goal is to give alcoholic persons skills so that they can maintain complete and permanent abstinence, which is seen as the only "cure."

Although few really question the status quo