Navajo “Alcoholism”

Drinking, Alcohol Abuse, and Treatment in a Changing Cultural Environment
  • Martin D. Topper


This chapter views Navajo “alcoholism” within the framework of abusive drinking, and not from any one conception of the “disease” of alcoholism. Abusive drinking is any use of alcoholic beverages that contributes to the development of a physical illness, a mental or emotional disorder, or the destabilization of an economic or social relationship that would not have otherwise been destabilized. This broad definition of alcohol abuse is employed because no single definition of “alcoholism” can adequately describe the variety of behaviors and clinical symptoms encountered when one studies or treats Navajos whose lives have been changed by frequent or poorly timed intoxication. When providing services to Navajos who suffer from alcohol abuse, this broad definition of alcohol abuse provides more insight into the manner in which intoxication contributes to the patient’s maladaptation than any of the more strictly defined constructs, be they medical, psychological, or traditional Navajo in origin. It is precisely for this reason that I have developed the multidimensional approach discussed here.


Alcohol Abuse Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Behavior Drinking Pattern Socioeconomic Dimension 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin D. Topper
    • 1
  1. 1.WinslowUSA

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