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Alcoholism pp 271-314 | Cite as

Craving for Alcohol, Loss of Control, and Relapse: A Cognitive-Behavioral Analysis

  • G. Alan Marlatt
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 7)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the relapse process as traditionally defined within the medical or “disease” model of alcoholism. In the traditional approach, alcoholism is viewed as an addiction, and relapse is defined as the sequence of events leading to readdiction following a period of abstinence from alcohol use. This is the common usage of the term in medical parlance, and is reflected in the following definition of relapse taken from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “A recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.” This same dictionary defines addiction as “compulsive physiological need for a habit-forming drug.” Consistent with this emphasis on addiction as a physiological need, proponents of the medical model frequently attribute an alcoholic’s relapse to internal symptoms such as physical craving for alcohol or an involuntary, compulsive loss of control over drinking. Falling off the wagon after a period of abstinence is thus taken as a pathognomonic symptom of alcoholism.

Keywords

Conditioned Stimulus Drinking Behavior Social Drinker Abstinence Period Social Drinking 
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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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Alan Marlatt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WashingtonUSA

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