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One Hundred Alcoholic Women in Medicine An Interview Study

LeClair Bissell, MD; Jane K. Skorina, PhD
JAMA. 1987;257(21):2939-2944. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390210087031.
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To examine the patterns of diagnosis, referral, and help-seeking behaviors of alcoholic women physicians, 95 women physicians and five women medical students were interviewed. Both groups were self-described alcoholics and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and were abstinent from alcohol for at least one year. Subjects participated in one-hour interviews with a recovered alcoholic professional woman. Addictions to drugs other than alcohol were common, with only 40% reporting addiction to alcohol alone. Seventy-three reported serious suicidal ideation prior to sobriety, 26 after the drinking ended. Thirty-eight had made overt suicide attempts, 15 more than once. The presence of alcoholics in the nuclear family and marital instability were common. Treatment experiences varied from none other than Alcoholics Anonymous (21%) to long-term residential treatment of 15 weeks or more per episode (23%). Most had reached treatment through circumstances other than referral by therapists or intervention by impaired-physician committees. Their current procedures should be evaluated with the particular needs of women in mind.

(JAMA 1987;257:2939-2944)


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