Doug Thorburn is one of today’s most informed, insightful, and pioneering authorities on alcoholism. I have read and reviewed almost all of his books, and return to them often, for increased understanding of this perplexing disease.
Thorburn offers an excellent, free newsletter, available from his website. I’m going to share some highlights here, from his excellent book, Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease.
In the introduction, Thorburn notes:
- Alcoholism is the most misunderstood of all diseases. This is rather surprising, since 1 out of 10 people has this disease and we are all directly or indirectly affected.
- The doctors and psychologists whom we trust to treat diseases and mental disorders are almost completely untrained in understanding and diagnosing the affliction. Medical doctors take as few as 24 classroom hours on the subject, virtually all on treating withdrawal and none on diagnosis.
- Psychologists are schooled in the idea that childhood trauma and other negative environmental factors can cause alcoholism, even though the evidence shows that such influences only shape its course.
- Secondary diseases are usually diagnosed long before alcoholism is identified, even though the latter is the root cause or primary contributing factor to at least 300 other illnesses and disorders. Emergency room medical personnel treat symptoms of addiction, including accidents.
- Yet in an estimated 50-80% of admissions, they rarely test for alcohol or other drugs in the system.
Thorburn asserts that the appalling unawareness of the disease results from the stigma, and from the common misperception that alcoholism implies a weakness in an individual. These faulty perceptions make others reluctant to diagnose or even suggest the possibility of alcoholism.
From my own experience, the average person has very little understanding of this complex disease. That ignorance only adds to the devastation that is so often wrought by this “baffling, cunning” illness.
Visit Doug Thorburn’s website to become informed and empowered on the subject of alcoholism. The life you save may be that of a loved one, friend, or quite possibly, your own. Knowledge is power, and Thorburn’s newsletter is FREE!
I’ll be posting more info on this cruel disease soon. Stay tuned.