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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, February 21, 2008

News item: Alcoholism not recognized and treated enough in U.S.!

A Web publication touting drugs for treating alcoholism makes clear for the uninformed,

Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease characterized by the frequent drinking of excessive amounts of alcohol and the inability to curb drinking.

Unfortunately, in this publication’s view, “research suggests that this condition is under-diagnosed and under-treated.” In other words, we aren’t telling enough people they are alcoholics and addicts – there are many more out there who require such labeling.

The relatively low sales of alcohol dependence drug therapies results from a pervading view that the disorder is a behavioral problem, as opposed to a medication (sic) condition. This view is supported by the fact that psychosocial therapy continues to play a key role in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

So, according to tradingmarket.com, in addition to jettisoning skills training, motivational enhancement, brief interventions, and community reinforcement (all rated among the most effective treatments for alcoholism), we must further educate Americans about the disease nature of alcoholism. Despite multipart television series with this message, cover stories on every national newsmagazine about it, teaching the idea beginning in grade school, and having every public figure who discusses addiction emphasize its disease nature, Americans aren’t fully buying it!

Why could this be? Why don’t Americans understand that drinking too much alcohol is identical to cancer and pneumonia? Of course, according to this Web pub, this failure is explained by “the social stigma associated with alcoholism.”

So let’s look at the future of American drinking and alcoholism: (1) no more cognitive-behavioral therapies, (2) no stigma against drinking too much, but acceptance of it as a disease, (3) aggressively informing more people they suffer from addictive diseases from earlier ages, and, of course, (4) treating many more people with anti-addiction drugs.

Only then will we have a perfect America!