In this final chapter, we summarize the main themes of the book. Topics covered include (but are not limited to) the history of gambling, technological and scientific innovations that facilitated both problem gambling and chronic drunkenness, and the long-standing similarities between our understandings of problem gambling and substance addiction. We remind the reader that only in the wake of an unprecedented focus on substance abuse, emerging in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, would the idea that struggles with temptation can be just as difficult with behavioral disorders be controversial at all. In short, what may pass for a discovery today was common knowledge in the eighteenth century. We also invoke our inquiries into the role of metaphor, suggesting that the competing public health and mainstream disease conceptions could be unified into a more comprehensive vision—just as physicists have managed to merge the formerly competing wave and particle theories of light. The chapter ends with a reminder of how many current ideas are rooted in prejudices born in the early twentieth century, a time when eugenics and Nazi dogma could often pass for science, and that it was in this climate that a stereotypical “addict” was invented. Our point is that we should be aware of our history, retaining the best and discarding the worst.
KeywordsEpidemiology Scientific innovations Metaphors Integration History
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