Alcoholism, As Seen By A Doctor

A must read (at link below, excerpts follow):

Alcoholism Through a Doctor's Eyes -
"When I teach medical students about alcoholism, it is never easy. Students arrive with preconceived notions and stereotypes obtained from books, television and films — and their personal upbringings — about the subject. So I am especially glad that medical, nursing and other graduate students from my institution, New York University, have been attending the play “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” as part of their studies. The drama, about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, is a great way to learn how designating something as a disease is only a starting point for understanding the patients who experience it. . . . Another facet of alcoholism that remains familiar is the lack of good treatment options. Detoxification and rehabilitation programs are expensive and not that effective. And while new research suggests that drugs can be used to facilitate drinking in moderation, I still refer the vast majority of my alcoholic patients to A.A., just as other doctors did 80 years ago. Yet even A.A.’s ability to maintain ongoing sobriety among its participants is only about 10 percent, although certain populations, with stronger social supports, do better. Perhaps the greatest virtue of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is how it humanizes alcoholics. Both main characters display a wide range of behaviors, ranging from empowered to helpless to angry to remorseful. It is hard not to sympathize with them. Anne and Bill’s wife, Lois, realize that they, too, belong to a community of sufferers. They founded Al-Anon in 1951 to assist the spouses and families of alcoholics. “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth,” is an expression used by A.A. members to get recalcitrant alcoholics to keep quiet and listen to their brethren. It is good advice." - Barron H. Lerner, professor of medicine and population health at the New York University School of Medicine, is the author of the forthcoming book “The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics.” (read more at link above)

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