Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance

Kathleen Fitzerald, Author, Kathleen W. Fitzgerald, Author, George E. Wendel, Designed by Doubleday Books $17.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-385-19933-9
Some critics maintain that the concept of alcoholism as a disease has been pushed too far because it tends to absolve heavy drinkers of responsibility. FitzGerald brushes over this controversy, arguing that compulsive drinking is a hereditary, progressive illness caused by irregular body chemistry. This primer on the causes and cure of ``Jellinek's disease,'' as she calls alcoholism (after the Yale doctor who investigated its biochemical roots) summarizes the clinical evidence for physical dependency and outlines stages of addiction. The author is herself a recovering alcoholic and novelist (The Good Sisters). She illuminates the crucial roles played by the problem drinker's family membersthe spouse who acts as Enabler, children who become Mascots, Scapegoats or Super Kids. Helpful advice on influencing the alcoholic to confront his or her problem is interwoven with mini-case histories. Appendixes include six checklists for alcoholics and family members seeking help. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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