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The Role of Self-Disclosure in the Social Construction of Understandings of Alcoholism and Mental Health within Talk between Members of Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Matthew S. Thatcher
Chapter

Abstract

An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder, rendering alcohol abuse as the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Over 700,000 US citizens receive treatment for alcoholism daily. Beyond the physical and personal costs, alcohol-related problems cost the US economy an estimated $224 billion each year. Accordingly, alcoholism is one of today’s most significant personal and social problems. Participation in mutual help groups (MHGs), with or without professional treatment services, remains an effective and ubiquitous method for addressing this social problem (Chi, Kaskutas, Sterling, Campbell, & Weisner, 2009; Kelly, Stout, Zywiak, & Schneider, 2006; Moos & Moos, 2006; Timko, Moos, Finney, & Lesar, 2006). MHGs are groups of individuals coming together to provide and receive support regarding specific problems. These groups run without professional assistance, and members may attend as long and often as they choose. The availability of MHGs’ support during times when relapse is likely and their low cost make them very attractive options for maintaining recovery (Brown, O’Grady, Battjes, & Farrell, 2004; Kaskutas, Subbaraman, Witbrodt, & Zemore, 2009; Kelly & Yeterian, 2011). Twelve-step MHGs are the predominant source of mutual support for alcoholism in the United States, and with the fellowship of more than 1.8 million members Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) remains the overwhelmingly largest 12-step MHG.

Keywords

Mental Health Mental Health Treatment Social Construction Mental Health Issue Psychiatric Medication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Recommended reading

  1. • Baxter, L.A., & Montgomery, B. M. (1996). Relating: Dialogues and dialectics. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  2. • Humphreys, K. (2000). Community narratives and personal stories in Alcoholics Anonymous. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(5), 495–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. • Ratliff, J. (2003). Community identity in an Alcoholics Anonymous group: Discourse contention and integration. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 21(3), 42–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Matthew S. Thatcher 2016

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  • Matthew S. Thatcher

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