This text, first published in 1983, examines the 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 40 years, Vaillant's original study offered new and authoritative answers to all of these questions. In this updated version Vaillant returns to the same subjects with the perspective gained from 15 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 current knowledge of 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 disorder as well as a sounder foundation for the assessment of various treatments. This book was awarded the biennial Jellinek Memorial Fund prize for the best research on alcohol abuse in the world.
George E. Vaillant is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
* The Problem * Part I: What Is Alcoholism? *1. Is Alcoholism a Unitary Disorder? *2. The Etiology of Alcoholism *3. The Natural History of Alcoholism * Part II: Patterns of Recovery *4. Paths into Abstinence *5. Return to Asymptomatic Drinking * Part III: Methodology *6. The Simple *7. The Measures * Part IV: Lessons for Treatment *8. The Doctor's Dilemma *9. Suggestions for Would-Be Helpers * A Summing Up * Appendix: Measurement Scales * Index