Alcoholism and Women: The Background and the Psychology by Jan Bauer

By Jan Bauer

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Additional info for Alcoholism and Women: The Background and the Psychology (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 11)

Sample text

Still, more than most Page 17 illnesses, mental or physical, the very term alcoholism continued and continues still, to provoke moral reactions and controversy. It has been officially recognized as an illness by the World Health Organization since 1951. Yet, despite this recognition of alcoholism as an ailment and not a crime, there is still little consensus on exactly what it consists of. As Siegler and Osmand, authors of "Models of Alcoholism," put it: Alcoholism, like schizophrenia and drug addiction, is a disputed ailment.

It was the time of the Industrial Revolution and alcoholism was spreading in epidemic proportions, especially among the working classes. It was also, however, the century of scientific classification, when, under the influence of the goddess of reason, science and medicine began to order and diagnose illnesses, particularly mental illnesses, that had hitherto been the domain of the Church and society at large. Alcoholism was no exception to this fascination with order. Doctors everywhere exerted their efforts to describe and classify the condition, but few were interested in why people drank, and fewer still in the possible differences between men and women drinkers.

In good 19th-century tradition, in fact, they provide a kind of classification of theory, a concise and basic presentation of the different ways in which alcoholism can be and is approached. My purpose in reviewing this schema is to both acknowledge and comment on existing attitudes toward the subject, including what is said or not about female alcoholism. In turn, the models will serve as references and a point of departure for the development of my own ideas. The models are abstractions, products of a thinking-type function that describes what a thing is.

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