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Mass Market Paperback Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcholism Book

ISBN: 0553274872

ISBN13: 9780553274875

Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcholism

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

Ten of millions Americans suffer from alcoholism, yet most people still wrongly believe that alcoholism is a psychological or moral problem, and that it can be cured by psychotherapy or sheer will power. Based on groundbreaking scientific research, Under The Influence examine the physical factors that set alcoholics and non-alcoholics apart, and suggests a bold, stigma-free way of understanding and treating the alcoholic. How to tell if someone you...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Accurate and Informative

This small book is still the most helpful tool for those who wish accurate information about the physical and psychological aspects of alcoholism. The disease of alcoholism is still misunderstood and to many people remains a moral problem or a failure of will power. While there has been progress in the treatment of many diseases over the past 20 years, there has been little change in the outlook for a cure for alcoholism. This book explains the physical and psychological disease in a way that can be easily understood. I have used this book for 22 years and have provided it to persons who wish to recover from the disease, always to good effect. And I am so grateful that it continues to be in print.

Still ahead of its time

I find the comments that the book is out of date sad, because the vast majority of alcoholism treatment programs as well as public opinion have not yet caught up to this book. Milam advances several important concepts:1. Alcoholism is a disease like diabetes. Psychology and morality play no role, except in the alcoholic's reaction emotionally to the consequences of the disease [hiding it, seeking help, etc.] If you think this view of alcoholism is completely accepted now, try telling your boss you are an alcoholic.2. Milam then explains HOW alcoholism is a disease in fascinating detail. Alcoholics are not addicted to alcohol, but to a complex physical process that happens when they drink. Basically, the alcoholic's body reacts to the presence of alcohol in the body differently from that of a "normal" person, and no amount of counseling/threats/religious conversions can change that.3. Alcoholics may not know when to save themselves, and may need help [he shoots down the "hitting bottom" myth]. Do you wait for a diabetic to go into a coma before you help them? 4. Treatment for the alcoholic must address the poor state of the alcoholic's health and nutrition. Alcoholic tremors, shaking, illusions, paranoia, etc. are caused by alcoholic malnutrition. Alcohol strips the body of water soluble vitamins, particularly the crucial B vitamins, and prevents the liver and other organs from repairing the body. The one section of the book I don't agree with concerns the role of government/public agencies in alcoholism treatment. Milam expects too much of them. But that does not affect the brilliance of this book. In the reviews here, there are some criticisms that Milam describes only "worst case" scenarios. That is not correct. He clearly describes all the stages of alcoholism, from the "I just want to have fun" stage to the lying in the gutter stage, and he recognizes that the disease progresses differently in people.As an alcoholic who has been sober for twenty years, I can't recommend this book enough. It provides hard information, not moralizing.

One of Only a Few "Essential" Books on Alcoholism

I've authored four books on alcoholism, including Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse and Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society's most Destructive Disease. This was one of perhaps at most a dozen books that were instrumental in helping me develop my ideas. Under the Influence is a magnificent book. It thoroughly debunks the "mental health model" of addiction that misinforms so many. That alcoholism is biological is supported by the authors' detailed and thorough explanation of brain poisoning and adaptation to the drug we call alcohol. It is clear that this poisoning causes the alcohol addict to engage in destructive behaviors, both during and in-between drinking episodes. The stages of alcoholism are beautifully described. The fact that there is an early stage vastly different from latter stages, makes sense of what seems a paradox: the high-functioning alcoholic. As few as one in a thousand observers ever identify these as such. This is terribly unfortunate, since the behaviors of the early stage addict can be so destructive and adversely affect so many. There is a superb explanation of the nutritional damage that all alcoholics experience, along with the now well-known sugar connection. Under the Influence contains an excellent summary of diseases found in latter-stage alcoholics, including cancer and heart disease. At the same time, it has one of the best summaries that can be found of the behavioral signs and symptoms of addiction, including those that can be observed in early-stage alcohol addicts (which I describe in far greater detail in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in Its Early Stages. The fact that medical doctors often feed the addiction with other drugs is addressed, a clue to the idea that identification of alcoholics is, perhaps, best done at the grassroots level, by those who live with it (which I explain in great depth in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse. This wonderful book has an excellent discussion of intervention and the reasons we don't need to wait for the addict's life to completely fall apart (and why it may be dangerous to the non-addict observer to delay). A proper professionally-aided intervention could include the employer and/or criminal justice system, and may be the more successful because of such involvement. Finally, there is an illuminating discussion of the disease concept and the fact that the alcoholic must be held responsible. He must be counseled that he has a disease that causes him to process the drug differently than do non-addicts, and this differential processing results in the destructive behaviors that the rest of us bear the brunt of. One may reasonably conclude that he must be required to experience consequences for his drinking, which I dub "uncompromising disenabling" in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Finan

Most understandable, accurate, & helpful book on alcoholism

I have now read five books on this subject, due to family members and a dear friend being alcoholics. This is the most readable, "states it like it is," book I have read. Many, many questions are answered when reading this book. For me, of particular interest, was Chapter Five, wherein "The Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome" is explains my friend exactly, and the doctors (three so far) are not picking up on his being in this stage, even tho they know he is an alcoholic! The information on types of food is especially good, and the authors are correct, that FEW (if any) doctors discuss the very important role of nutrition counseling!! I am getting three of these for family and friends and feel it will really help them understand others and themselves. I am most pleased to see that it is still in print. I got my copy from a friend about a year ago and just started re-reading it and realized it just "hits the bullet" as the saying goes, and is one that the alcoholism counselor (that originally gave it to me), had UNDERLINED and highly recommended.
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