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Facets of Alcohol.

Rose, M. E., & Cherpitel, C. J. (2011). Alcohol: Its History, Pharmacology, and Treatment. Clayton, Center City, MN: Hazdden. [ISBN 978-1-61649-147-5; soft cover; 358 pages; $17.95]

Hazelden is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1949 that works with people suffering from addiction and helps them recover. This book is a publication from this organization. The first author, Mark Edmund Rose, MA, is a licensed psychologist with more than 15 years of experience as a psychologist and addiction researcher. The second author, Cheryl Cherpitel, Dr. PH, is an alcoholism researcher in public health, an associate director of the National Alcohol Research Center, and a senior scientist at Alcohol Research Group. Alcohol is quite widely prevalent in our society and this book attempts to trace its history and discuss facets of its prevention and treatment.

The book is organized into nine chapters with an introduction and an epilogue. The introduction is written well and makes a good case to the reader for reading this book. It provides an overview of all the chapters.

The first chapter is about the history of alcohol use, alcoholism, and treatment in the United States. The chapter presents a timeline from 600 BC to 1751 and points at key events related to alcohol. This would be quite helpful for students interested in preparing a timeline related to alcohol. The chapter also presents data about per capita consumption of alcohol from 1850 to 2007. Alcohol use in colonial America, rising alcohol use in the 1800s, Temperance movement, treatment approaches in the Nineteenth Century, history of the disease concept of alcoholism, and the history of Alcoholics Anonymous are some of the topics that have been discussed in this chapter.

The second chapter presents the demographics of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The definitions of drinking patterns, definitions of alcohol problems, and current alcohol use in the US are discussed in the earlier part of the chapter. Comorbid conditions associated with alcohol disorders are also presented. The chapter also explores risk factors associated with alcohol abuse and dependence.

The third chapter discusses the societal impact of alcohol use and dependence. Public health morbidity and mortality data are presented. A discussion on medical and health conditions associated with short term and chronic alcohol use is included in the chapter. The criminal justice impact of alcohol use is also covered in this chapter. The issues of domestic violence and alcohol, drinking while intoxicated (DWI), and the impact of alcohol use on special populations is discussed in this chapter.

The fourth chapter is about the science of alcohol and alcoholism. It discusses alcohol dependence as a chronic disease. The pharmacology of alcohol and the biology of alcoholism are presented. Different subtypes of alcoholics are also elaborated in this chapter.

The fifth chapter focuses on alcohol withdrawal and how to manage it. Issues of acute alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, and post-acute alcohol withdrawal are presented. The sixth chapter is about the twelve step and other self-help approaches. Data from Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups is presented in this chapter.

The seventh chapter is about professional treatment of alcoholism. FDA-approved medications and pharmacological interventions for alcohol dependence, medications used off label, experimental drugs (drugs being investigated but not yet approved for any condition), medical device treatment, and psychosocial therapies are discussed in this chapter. A section on treatment needs of older adults is also included.

The eighth chapter is about the role of meditation in recovery from alcoholism. Various relaxation techniques and meditations such as transcendental meditation, mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, vipassana, Zen-Buddhist meditation, etc. are described. This is a strong aspect of the book and is usually not included in books on addiction.

The final chapter discusses trends in the treatment of alcoholism. Shortcomings of the current acute care model of alcohol treatment are highlighted. A new approach comprising of a low-cost supportive and educational model of treatment is presented. Trends in Alcoholics Anonymous and self-help approaches are also discussed. The book concludes with an epilogue.

On the whole, the book is well written and well referenced. It will be useful for researchers and practitioners working in the field of alcohol prevention and treatment. It can also be used as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses that teach alcohol education.

Review by Manoj Sharma, University of Cincinnati
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Title Annotation:Alcohol: Its History, Pharmacology, and Treatment
Author:Sharma, Manoj
Publication:Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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