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The Natural History of Alcoholism

  • John R. Taylor
  • John E. Helzer

Abstract

Understanding the natural history of a condition like alcoholism is of inestimable benefit not only for predicting the outcome of the condition but also for providing major clues about the definition, the etiology, and the appropriate therapy. For example, the very question of what constitutes alcoholism is a difficult one. What are the cardinal features of alcoholism? Are there pathognomonic signs or symptoms of the disorder? Should the conceptualization of alcoholism as an entity revolve around the consumption of alcohol or its social and physiological sequelae? If consumption is a defining feature, how much intake is necessary? For how long? Are there physiological markers that differentiate the alcoholic from the nonalcoholic? A knowledge of the natural history of alcoholism that could be associated with these questions would help to indicate which of them are important to the definition and which are of little consequence.

Keywords

Antisocial Behavior Heavy Drinking Problem Drinking Spontaneous Remission Drinking Pattern 
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

  • John R. Taylor
    • 1
  • John E. Helzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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