alcoholism a disease paper Is research ..
Free Essays on Social Problem - Alcoholism
The disease concept originated in the 1800s with a fellow by the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush. He believed those who drank too much alcohol were diseased and used the idea to promote his prohibitionist political platform. He also believed that dishonesty, political dissention and being of African-American descent were diseases. The "disease concept" was used throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s by prohibitionists and those involved in the Temperance Movement to further their political agenda. Prior to c.1891, the term alcoholic, referring to someone who drank too much alcohol, did not exist. Before that, alcohol was freely consumed, but drunkenness was not tolerated. Many sociologists contribute its non-existence to the very stigma that the disease concept removes. Drunkenness was not so much seen as the cause of deviant behavior-in particular crime and violence- as it was construed as a sign that an individual was willing to engage in such behavior." (H.G. Levine, "The Good Creature of God and the Demon Rum," in Alcohol and Disinhibitition, eds. R. Room and G. Collins.) During this period of time social ties and family played a much more influential role in an individual's life. Therefore, deviant behaviors were undesirable and less likely to occur. It was not until industrialization began, when the importance of social and family ties diminished, that alcoholism became a problem. We now live in a society that encourages binge drinking as a social norm, but at the same time, we live in a society that discourages it.
Alcoholism: Medical Disease Or A Common Behavior …
The "recovery" community's adoption of the disease concept began with an early AA member named Marty Mann. Her efforts, combined with a somewhat dubious scientist named E.M. Jellinek, began national acceptance of the disease concept. It was Jellinek's self-proclaimed "scientific" study that opened the door for the medical community’s support. E.M. Jellinek's study was funded by the efforts of Marty Mann and R. Brinkley Smithers. And, like so many other circumstances involving Jellinek and Mann, the study was bogus, if not outright fraudulent. The surveys Jellinek based his conclusions on were from a handpicked group of alcoholics. There were 158 questionnaires handed out and 60 of them were suspiciously not included. His conclusion was based on less than 100 handpicked alcoholics chosen by Marty Mann. Mann, of course, had a personal agenda to remove the stigma about the homeless and dirty alcoholic or "bowery drunk" in order to gain financial support from the wealthy. By removing the stigma, the problem becomes one of the general population, which would then include the wealthy. The first step was Jellinek publishing his findings in his book "The Disease Concept of Alcoholism," which was based on selected subjects who fit the criteria supporting Mann’s preconceived conclusions. Later, E.M. Jellinek was asked by Yale University to refute his own findings. He complied. E.M. Jellinek's The Disease Concept of Alcoholism did not stand up to scientific scrutiny.