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June 14, 1941

What Price Alcohol? A Practical Discussion of the Causes and Treatment of Alcoholism

JAMA. 1941;116(24):2731. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820240091032

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At a time when the seriousness of the problem of addiction to alcohol is beginning to be realized and approached scientifically, it is deplorable that pseudoscientific attitudes should be placed before the public. This book, although written by a physician and psychiatrist, seems to be a moralizing treatise on the evils of alcohol, smoking and overeating, with little scientific flavor. The author's thesis as to the etiology of alcoholism might be condensed into three main factors: (1) the high speed and tension of modern living, (2) inherited neuroticism or defective constitution and (3) overindulgent upbringing. There is much discussion of defective blood-brain barriers, inherited defective nervous system, hormone dysfunction and synapse dysfunction to explain the alcoholic addict's apparent sensitivity to alcohol. There is little psychologic understanding. The author objects strenuously to the use of alcohol even medicinally; he also objects to any drug-containing food or beverage in the life of

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