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November 1975

Alcoholism as a Mental Health Problem of Native AmericansA Review of the Literature

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(11):1385-1391. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760290053006

• Alcoholism among North American Indians and Eskimos is generally considered a major public health and community mental health problem, and increasingly so. All too often alcoholism and alcoholic (and the simple avoidance of these terms) are used indiscriminantly, obscuring important avenues for serious consideration. A major consideration is the extent to which the heavy drinking so common among Indian men corresponds to "alcoholism" in the dominant culture.

Considerations of cultural stresses (deculturative and acculturative) and cultural intoxication-permitting factors are essential in any dynamic formulation of Native Americans' problem drinking. A crucial individual motive is that drunkenness can provide short-cut gratification by providing fantasy solutions to culture-bound problems.