This chapter is concerned with a way of thinking about the relationship between alcohol and human beings. It is not a report of specific research, nor does it attempt systematically to review the literature. It offers some conceptual observations based on a perspective of change as perceived by a social-behavioral scientist. During the last 35 years, there have been significant changes in patterns of alcohol consumption, in the social and the chemical environments in which alcohol is used, in the functions and liabilities of alcohol, in our knowledge about alcohol and the human body, and in our perceptions of the meaning of this knowledge. Not all of these changes are recognized, understood or reflected in currently prevailing definitions of alcohol problems nor in social responses to these problems.
KeywordsAlcohol Dependence Heavy Drinking Alcohol Problem Problem Drinking Physical Dependence
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