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Disulfiram Treatment of Alcoholism

Mitch Cardwell
JAMA. 1987;257(7):926-927. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390070046011.
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To the Editor.—  The authors of the article entitled "Disulfiram Treatment of Alcoholism"1 need to address the conceptual errors that were made in the study. The report shows that the authors had no concept of alcoholism as a disease. Alcoholism is now recognized as a physical, chemical, and emotional disease with its own distinct pathology.2 Without consideration of this concept, accurate selection of alcoholic patients for study of a chemical treatment is impossible. In addition, these researchers did not want to use patients who exhibited any signs of compulsive, destructive behavior. Since alcoholism is commonly defined as a progressive, compulsive, destructive disease,3I cannot see how they had any patients at all. I can only feel the patients were chosen with a great deal of ambiguity.The researchers also made methodological mistakes. Scheduling urinary analyses allowed the patients too much time to eliminate alcohol from the body,


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