Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism – James R. Milam and Katherine Ketcham.
Millions suffer from alcoholism, yet most people still wrongly believe that alcoholism is a psychological or moral problem, and that it can be cured by psychotherapy or sheer will power. Based on ground-breaking scientific research this book examines the physical factors that set alcoholics and non-alcoholics apart, and suggests a bold, stigma-free way of understanding and treating the alcoholic.
Despite its copyright of 1981 it gives a convincing, easily-understood explanation of how differently alcohol is processed by persons who are predisposed to alcoholism. It goes on to suggest useful treatment, including complete abstinence, support and nutritional changes.
“Acetaldehyde, the intermediate by-product of alcohol metabolism appears to be one of the major villains in the onset of alcoholic drinking … In summary, addiction to alcohol may, in part be traced back to a liver enzyme malfunction which results in a build-up of acetaldehyde throughout the body. In the brain these large amounts of acetaldehyde interact with the brain amines to create the isoquinolines. These mischievous substances may trigger the alcoholic’s need to drink more and more alcohol to counter the painful effects of the progressive build-up of acetaldehyde.”
The book is packed with information that is presented in an easily understood way. It takes the disease model as its starting point, but whether you adopt that model or not, most of what you will find in this book is worthy of careful consideration.
Although he retired 25 years ago, James R. Milam, Ph.D., says that once his new book is published he can “really retire” at age 91. He spent many years writing and lecturing on his discovery and co-founded several highly effective model addiction treatment centres. For 30 years his classic book Under the Influence, based on his discovery, has been a best seller in the field and the essential guide to effective treatment at addiction treatment centres. Millions of alcoholics owe their full recovery to this new understanding.