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July 1978

The Recognition of Alcoholism as a Disease

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(7):1175-1176. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630320103045

To the Editor.—  In the November Archives (137:1513-1514, 1977) editorial entitled "Alcohol Abuse and Physicians' Responsibility," Dr Robert Straus has correctly emphasized the need for more medical response to alcoholism. The need was documented unequivocally, in the same issue, by the discovery of Jankowski and Drum that 90% of a sample of patients whose postmortem examinations showed maximally developed alcoholism had never been noted as having been afforded treatment for that disease.We are happy, too, that Dr Straus has cited the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA) Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism as a document that is a mainstay of those who attempt to give treatment to people with alcoholism. I want to point out in this letter that, although the Jankowski and Drum report might lead us to discouragement, publication of the Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism cannot be considered a failure, although the pace of the

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