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Alcohol Addiction As A ‘Disease’ — Myth in Fact

Traditional Alcohol & Drug Treatment Myths

“Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is doing it, and right is right, even if nobody is doing it.”Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Myth; Alcoholism as a Disease

History Of Alcoholism Disease Concept Proves False

The “recovery” community’s adoption of the disease concept began with an early AA member named Marty Mann. Her efforts, combined with a scientist named E.M. Jellinek, began national acceptance of the disease concept. It was Jellinek’s “scientific” study that opened the door for the medical communities’ support. E.M. Jellinek’s study was funded by the efforts of Marty Mann. The surveys he based his conclusions on were from a hand picked group of alcoholics. There were 158 questionnaires handed out and 60 of them were suspiciously not included. His conclusion was based on less than 100 hand picked alcoholics chosen by Marty Mann.

Ms. Mann, had a personal agenda to remove the stigma about the homeless and dirty alcoholic or “bowery drunk” in order to gain financial support from the wealthy. The first step was Jellinek publishing his findings in his book “The Stages of Alcoholism.” In 1956 the American Medical Association (AMA) proclaimed alcoholism an “illness.” Then, in 1966, the AMA proclaimed alcoholism a disease.

Marty Mann used her position as founder of the NCA (National Counsel for Alcoholism) to promote the disease concept through Jellinek and with the founder of the NIAAA (National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse) who worked with Marty Mann during the institute’s early development. The founder of NIAAA, a reputable and wealthy philanthropist, R. Brinkley Smithers, was also a major contributor to and promoter of the disease concept. It was his money that funded most of Jellinek’s work at Yale. At that time, Smithers had already launched a treatment program for which he was lobbying for and eventually gained, insurance payments (hence the 28 day program). Acceptance by the medical community was the only way this could happen; alcoholism had to be a medical problem in order for medical insurance to pay for programs. Today, the treatment industry is a multi-billion dollar industry; however it has out-grown the willingness of most plans to cover multiple treatment attendance after a relapse, which is woven in to the standard of the 12-step model including traditional christian drug treatment centers.

Yale Alcoholism Study Retracted — No Proof of Alcoholism As Disease

Subsequently, Jellinek’s study was determined to be flawed according to Yale University. Moreover and apparently at the request of Yale University, Jellinek, himself, retracted all of his conclusions, stopping just short of admitting that his research was fraudulent. Later, the schools where Jellinek claimed to have matriculated had no record of him receiving any degrees. The point is not to malign E.M. Jellinek or Yale University, but to provide a historical account with respect to the origin of “alcoholism, the disease.” Recent studies have begun to recognize that the disease concept in fact perpetuates the abuse.

To learn some of the underlying triggers to drug and alcohol addiction and what can be done to reverse these, see Drug-free Drug Detox & Rehab Program

Taken in part from The Sober Choice website, acknowledgment to Baldwin Reasearch for compilation

For assistance getting to a detox / rehab program, Contact:

Tibor A. Palatinus, CCDC


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