The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited / Edition 2

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Overview

When The Natural History of Alcoholism was first published in 1983, it was acclaimed in the press as the single most important contribution to the literature on alcoholism since the first edition of Alcoholic Anonymous's Big Book. George Vaillant took on the crucial questions of whether alcoholism is a symptom or a disease, whether it is progressive, whether alcoholics differ from others before the onset of their alcoholism, and whether alcoholics can safely drink. Based on an evaluation of more than 600 individuals followed for over forty years, Vaillant's monumental study offered new and authoritative answers to all of these questions.

In this updated version of his classic book Vaillant returns to the same subjects with the perspective gained from fifteen years of further follow-up. Alcoholics who had been studied to age 50 in the earlier book have now reached age 65 and beyond, and Vaillant reassesses what we know about alcoholism in light of both their experiences and the many new studies of the disease by other researchers. The result is a sharper focus on the nature and course of this devastating disorder as well as a sounder foundation for the assessment of various treatments.

Based on evaluation of more than 600 alcoholics w/additional follow-up/explores various aspects.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A follow-up to Vaillant's (psychiatry, Harvard Medical School) 1983 classic in which he returns to such questions as whether alcoholism is a symptom or a disease and whether it is progressive with the perspective gained from 15 years of further study. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Times Higher Educational Supplement

The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited is a revised and updated version of [what] was, and still is, regarded as a classic and certainly broke new ground during the 1980s...The new text provides an update based on developments over the past 15 years; and its importance again derives from the fact that almost all the alcohol abusers identified in the first version have been followed up for an additional 15 years to make 50 years in all. It goes without saying that 50-year follow-up studies are few and far between...Vaillant's 50-year follow-up now stands as a milestone within the addiction literature...It is required reading...The data are beautifully presented and described and the conclusions eminently reasonable.
— John B. Davies

American Journal of Psychiatry

Not since Jellinek's The Disease Concept of Alcoholism, published in 1960, has there been a wiser, more comprehensive book on alcoholism.
— Donald Goodwin, M.D.

Social Work

[A] remarkable achievement...For anyone who teaches courses or conducts research on alcohol problems and for practitioners who work with alcohol-dependent clients, this book is essential.
— C. Aaron McNeece

Journal of Studies on Alcohol

Important and thought-provoking...Anybody who reads this journal should read this book if they have not done so already...In the detail of its arguments as much as in the wealth of its data, this book goes beyond simplistic theories about alcoholism to paint a picture of a diverse, often highly distressing, disorder.
— Richard Hammersley, Ph.D.

Academic Medicine

This is an excellent review and update of past and current thinking about alcoholism. The author uses the full text of his original outstanding work published in 1983 as the background for a presentation of all the research and clinical experience that has taken place in the ensuing almost 15 years. The result is a clear picture of how the thinking in the alcoholism field has progressed, which controversies have been more or less resolved, and where the new clinical developments are heading.
— William E. Flynn, M.D.

Journal of the American Medical Association

Vaillant addresses a number of important issues and questions, which are core prerequisites for achieving more precise knowledge about the causes and consequences of alcohol abuse and dependence...These important issues have been reexamined in a thoughtful and scholarly manner. Dr. Vaillant has added new survey data and information to his current text, and he has also expanded and revised his original interpretations. New and original material is based upon scientific information acquired since publication of the original report...This is an outstanding and highly recommended text for medical students and medical educators. It will be especially helpful to practitioners in virtually every field of medicine who treat patients with alcohol-related problems.
— Jack H. Mendelson, M.D.

New York Times Book Review
In alcoholism research, where one side regularly parades a new study and the other then vilifies it, Dr. Vaillant's work can be cited approvingly by both.
Times Higher Educational Supplement - John B. Davies
The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited is a revised and updated version of [what] was, and still is, regarded as a classic and certainly broke new ground during the 1980s...The new text provides an update based on developments over the past 15 years; and its importance again derives from the fact that almost all the alcohol abusers identified in the first version have been followed up for an additional 15 years to make 50 years in all. It goes without saying that 50-year follow-up studies are few and far between...Vaillant's 50-year follow-up now stands as a milestone within the addiction literature...It is required reading...The data are beautifully presented and described and the conclusions eminently reasonable.
American Journal of Psychiatry - Donald Goodwin
Not since Jellinek's The Disease Concept of Alcoholism, published in 1960, has there been a wiser, more comprehensive book on alcoholism.
Social Work - C. Aaron McNeece
[A] remarkable achievement...For anyone who teaches courses or conducts research on alcohol problems and for practitioners who work with alcohol-dependent clients, this book is essential.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol - Richard Hammersley
Important and thought-provoking...Anybody who reads this journal should read this book if they have not done so already...In the detail of its arguments as much as in the wealth of its data, this book goes beyond simplistic theories about alcoholism to paint a picture of a diverse, often highly distressing, disorder.
Academic Medicine - William E. Flynn
This is an excellent review and update of past and current thinking about alcoholism. The author uses the full text of his original outstanding work published in 1983 as the background for a presentation of all the research and clinical experience that has taken place in the ensuing almost 15 years. The result is a clear picture of how the thinking in the alcoholism field has progressed, which controversies have been more or less resolved, and where the new clinical developments are heading.
Journal of the American Medical Association - Jack H. Mendelson
Vaillant addresses a number of important issues and questions, which are core prerequisites for achieving more precise knowledge about the causes and consequences of alcohol abuse and dependence...These important issues have been reexamined in a thoughtful and scholarly manner. Dr. Vaillant has added new survey data and information to his current text, and he has also expanded and revised his original interpretations. New and original material is based upon scientific information acquired since publication of the original report...This is an outstanding and highly recommended text for medical students and medical educators. It will be especially helpful to practitioners in virtually every field of medicine who treat patients with alcohol-related problems.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674603776
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/3/1995
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 462
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

George E. Vaillant is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
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Table of Contents

I What Is Alcoholism?
1 Is Alcoholism a Unitary Disorder? 17
2 The Etiology of Alcoholism 46
3 The Natural History of Alcoholism 120
II Patterns of Recovery
4 Paths into Abstinence 231
5 Return to Asymptomatic Drinking 278
III Methodology
6 The Sample 307
7 The Measures 318
IV Lessons for Treatment
8 The Doctor's Dilemma 347
9 Suggestions for Would-Be Helpers 362
Appendix: Measurement Scales 393
References 407
Index 439
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