Mistaken Theories about Alcoholism

By Mona Charen Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 19, 1995 | Go to article overview

Mistaken Theories about Alcoholism


Mona Charen Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


After 40 years of hard drinking and cancer, Mickey Mantle's liver was shot. The entire nation hopes that the transplant will be a success.

Mantle had, in recent years, gotten his drinking under control. He did it in the prescribed American way - by accepting complete abstention for the rest of his life.

Almost all Americans now believe in the "medical model" of alcoholism. It is alcohol, we believe, that causes alcoholism. And alcoholism is a disease, like diabetes.

The way to prevent alcoholism, most Americans believe, is to stigmatize alcohol as a drug and discourage its use as strongly as possible. U.S. Department of Education drug and alcohol-abuse materials are typical of the tone across the country. "Curricula which advocate responsible use of drugs (including alcohol) should be rejected."

But it is quite possible, and I believe true, that our assumptions about alcohol and alcoholism are completely wrong. A slim, scholarly volume called "Preventing Alcohol Abuse," by sociologist David Hanson of the State University of New York, challenges virtually every tenet of the modern American approach to alcohol.

Throughout our history, Americans - particularly those adhering to Protestant denominations - have viewed alcohol as evil. Since Prohibition, we've settled into the view that though alcohol is terrible, the social and economic costs of outlawing it are intolerably high. Other means of controlling consumption must therefore be found.

Hanson doesn't believe alcohol is evil. He believes that, used properly, it enhances life in many ways. Alcohol's health benefits, for example, reducing the risk of heart disease, are not in dispute among doctors. Where physicians differ is on whether to encourage patients to drink moderately. Many fear that such advice will inevitably lead to alcohol abuse.

Almost all human societies, throughout world history, have used alcohol. Hanson offers evidence that beer was fermented as early as 10,000 B.C. Throughout human history, alcohol offered medicinal, antiseptic and analgesic benefits. It was and is a social lubricant, a facilitator of relaxation and an aid to digestion.

Alcohol has also been abused by some since the dawn of civilization. But the severity and prevalence of alcohol abuse has differed dramatically in different societies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mistaken Theories about Alcoholism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.