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The Disease Concept of Alcoholism

  • Benjamin Kissin
Part of the Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems book series (AADP, volume 7)

Abstract

“The disease concept of alcoholism,” as introduced by Jellinek(23) in 1960 in a book bearing that name, has been an inordinately productive concept both in the range of issues which it raised and also in its medical and social utility. Jellinek derived his concepts from a wealth of clinical experience; the book reflected his attempt to extract certain common denominators characteristic of alcoholism. As a result of his extensive observations, he recognized that not all alcoholics followed the same course. On that basis, he elaborated his clinical typology in which he distinguished alpha and beta alcoholics in whom the symptomatology of physical dependence was not a significant clinical characteristic from gamma and delta alcoholics in whom it was. As physiological concomitants of physical dependence, he postulated the development of craving, loss of control, and inability to abstain, mechanisms which exacerbated the self-reinforcing nature of alcoholism thus making the attainment of abstinence more difficult.

Keywords

Alcohol Dependence Physical Dependence Drinking Pattern Heroin Addict Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome 
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 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Kissin
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Alcoholism and Drug DependenceDownstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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