March 22, 1949

Report Outline
Social Consequences of Chronic Alcoholism
Trends in Alcoholism and Alcohol Consumption
Treatment of Chronic Alcoholism
Prevention Through Research and Education
Special Focus

Social Consequences of Chronic Alcoholism

Rise of Alcoholism in the United States

The Rise during and since World War II in the number of persons in the United States who classify as chronic alcoholics has caused questioning and concern throughout the American community. Published estimates by responsible authorities indicate that some 750,000 Americans now are suffering from severe bodily ills or mental disorders which are the direct result of excessive drinking over long periods. An additional 3,000,000 Americans habitually drink to the point of intoxication and thus stand in danger of becoming chronic alcoholics in future years.

Present information on the size of the alcoholic group is part of the knowledge gained in investigations of the last decade into methods of dealing with alcoholism. The Research Council on the Problems of Alcohol and the Yale Laboratory of Applied Physiology have conducted studies of the psychological factors making for alcohol addiction, social characteristics of alcoholics, and means of arresting and preventing alcoholism in the individual. Research, treatment and rehabilitation programs have been instituted in a number of states and cities, and legislation authorizing such programs has been considered during the last two years by the legislatures of more than half the states.

Social Consequences of Chronic Alcoholism

Psychologists believe that man has been seeking escape from the tensions of life by the use of drugs since the earliest days of the race. Alcoholic beverages are widely used by civilized man for this purpose. Unlike narcotic drugs, alcohol is readily available and its use in moderation is not only harmless to healthy persons but is part of accepted social patterns. Yet some persons cannot use alcohol at all without feeling the compulsion to continuous immoderate usage, and such immoderate usage by large numbers raises social problems of considerable magnitude.

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Substance Abuse