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May 5, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(1):67. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970010069019

It is estimated that over 4,500,000 persons in the United States are problem drinkers.1 They do not, as some suppose, come mainly from the lower classes but represent a cross section of the entire population. According to Brown,2 the characteristic they all have in common is that they cannot face failure even in little things; they tend to place the blame for their failures on others; they dream of a brighter future and use alcohol as a means of escaping from an intolerable present. They are usually good workers when sober, getting their satisfaction from a job well done rather than from any financial reward. Few alcoholics realize how completely they lack the ability to face a life without alcohol.3 Isaacs4 emphasizes the fact that everyone who becomes intoxicated is not necessarily an alcoholic, and before embarking on a course of treatment it is necessary to