American Beliefs about Alcoholism

Historical Perspectives on the Medical-Moral Controversy
  • Genevieve M. Ames


One of the most significant difficulties in dealing with alcoholism on any level is that so few people agree on what it is. In American society, there are differing and controversial perspectives current in the medical professions, the academic and scientific communities, and the population at large as to whether habitual and excessive consumers of alcohol are suffering from a disease, are victims of conflicting cultural norms, are weak-willed and irresponsible persons, or a combination of these possibilities. The stigmatizing aspects of alcoholism and the general paradigmatic differences among professionals have had far-reaching implications not only for prevention and treatment programs, but also for the affective behavior of the afflicted drinker and his or her family.


American Medical Association Heavy Drinking Medical Model Alcohol Problem Alcoholic Anonymous 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genevieve M. Ames
    • 1
  1. 1.Prevention Research CenterPacific Institute for Research and EvaluationBerkeleyUSA

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