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Article
September 19, 1891

IS INEBRIETY A VICE OR A DISEASE?

JAMA. 1891;XVII(12):452-453. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410900028003

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Abstract

The attempt to study scientifically the various departures of mankind from the rule of right living, brings up many interesting and difficult questions. When we no longer rest content with the simple fact of the choice of evil rather than good, but seek to know why such a choice is made, the boundaries between vice and disease no longer seem so fixed and definite as they were formerly thought to be. Especially is this true in regard to the subject under consideration. Very few, probably, who have studied the phenomena of drunkenness thoroughly and candidly, look upon the confirmed drunkard as merely the slave of a bad habit. There can be no doubt that the long continued abuse of alcohol brings about a diseased condition which aggravates the craving for the poison that caused it, and impairs the patient's power of self-control. So far, the question presents little difficulty, and

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