Social Aspects of Alcoholism

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The first three volumes of this series have dealt with materials which generally justify the title, The Biology of Alcoholism. This is only remotely true of the present volume, Social Aspects of Alcoholism, or of the final volume to come, Treatment and Rehabilitation. Except for small portions of the treatment section which involve pharmacotherapy, much of these last two volumes deals with the psychological aspects of alcoholism and still more with the social. It is interesting to review the evolution of this new pattern over the past seven years, a pattern which, had it existed initially, would have resulted, if not in a dif- ferent format, at least in a different title. Our initial selection of areas to be covered was influenced by our desire to present as hard data as possible, in an attempt to lend a greater aura of scientific rigor to a field which was generally considered as soft. When we completed our review of this material in volumes 1-3, we recognized that what we might have gained in rigor, we had more than lost in completeness. These volumes presented a picture of a biological disease syndrome for which the remedies and preventive measures were presumably also biological. And yet, most workers in the field readily accept the significant contributions of psychological and social factors to the pathogenesis and treatment of alcoholism.