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Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control Paperback – January 22, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0787946432 ISBN-10: 0787946435 Edition: 1999 Reissued Paper Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1999 Reissued Paper Edition edition (January 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787946435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787946432
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,086,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A courageous indictment of the destructive mindset that all deviant behavior is a disease. Peele offers mindful alternatives to those suffering from addictions and to professionals seeking to help them." (Ellen Langer, professor of psychology, Harvard University)

"I found the arguments in Diseasing of America persuasive and carefully documented. While I find current addiction-treatment models helpful, I think it is critical to look at Stanton Peele's work to question our fundamental assumptions and adjust them on the basis of data." (Jennifer P. Schneider, author of Back From Betrayal and Sex, Lies, and Forgiveness, and member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine)

"A provocative review of the uses and abuses of the disease model in the past three decades. This important book has significantly added to my education and clinical understanding of addiction in my professional practice." (Richard R. Irons, The Menninger Clinic)

"Peele makes it clear that the disease model of addiction is an emperor without clothes. By placing addictive behaviors in the context of other problems of living, he emphasizes personal responsibility for one's habits. The book empowers the reader to view addiction in a new optimistic light." (G. Alan Marlatt, director, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, University of Washington, and coauthor of Relapse Prevention)

From the Inside Flap

A Controversial Argument Against the Disease Theory of Addiction There is absolutely no proven scientific evidence supporting the misconception that substance abuse and other addictions are genetically acquired diseases. Shocked? Diseasing of America is a powerful and controversial rebuttal to the "addiction as disease model" that many vested interests-including doctors, counselors, psychologists, treatment centers, and twelve-step programs that specialize in addiction treatment-don't want you to read. "Peele makes it clear that the disease model of addiction is an emperor without clothes. By placing addictive behaviors in the context of other problems of living, he emphasizes personal responsibility for one's habits. The book empowers the reader to view addiction in a new optimistic light."—G. Alan Marlatt, director, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, University of Washington, and coauthor of Relapse Prevention "A courageous indictment of the destructive mindset that all deviant behavior is a disease. Peele offers mindful alternatives to those suffering from addictions and to professionals seeking to help them."—Ellen Langer, professor of psychology, Harvard University "I found the arguments in Diseasing of America persuasive and carefully documented. While I find current addiction-treatment models helpful, I think it is critical to look at Stanton Peele's work to question our fundamental assumptions and adjust them on the basis of data."—Jennifer P. Schneider, author of Back From Betrayal and Sex, Lies, and Forgiveness, and member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine "A provocative review of the uses and abuses of the disease model in the past three decades. This important book has significantly added to my education and clinical understanding of addiction in my professional practice."—Richard R. Irons, The Menninger Clinic

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Stanton Peele, The Diseasing of America 2/E (Lexington, 1995)

There are two types of people in the world: those the recovery zombies have already attacked, and those they will. It doesn't matter if you don't drink and don't smoke, they'll find something else about which you're "diseased"-- perhaps you enjoy shopping, you like to eat, you spend a couple of weekends per year in Vegas. Did you know these are all symptoms of diseases? Oh, you didn't? Well, they are. Don't believe it? You must be in denial. Here, let us help you lead a more well-adjusted life.

Peele seeks atonement for starting this craze with his book Love and Addiction in 1984. (As a side note, the one important thing Peele does NOT try to atone for is his almost singlehanded corruption of the definition of the term "addiction," which he misuses throughout the book; when reading it, you might be better served by substituting the word "compulsion" every time you see "addiction." Addiction requires, by definition, a physical component, and thus it is impossible to be addicted to most of the things that Peele admits are really addictive.) He does this by stating in no uncertain terms that the addiction/recovery industry has gotten way out of hand, then spends the next two hundred fifty pages outlining one of the scariest stories I've ever read-- the sixty-year history of the recovery industry, beginning with the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935.

Along the way, Peele stops on occasion to point out some obvious factors we tend to overlook in our quest for political correctness (e.g.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've read "The Truth about Addiction"; "The Diseasing of America"; and "The Meaning of Addiction." It was so refreshing to read these books, like a cool breeze off the lake on a hot summer day in Chicago. Most psychiatrists and psychologists who write, particularly the New Age variety, quote themselves or other pop-psychology tripe. Peele's books, on the other hand, are scholarly works--well thought out; exhaustively researched; and eloquently worded. I've been troubled by the recovery and twelve-step movements for some time, but I couldn't find the right words to describe my misgivings until I read these books. This is brilliant stuff.
My introduction to inpatient chemical dependency treatment came in my first year of medical school. We eager, young students in short white coats were taken to a reputable, local recovery hospital to observe treatment in action. Thirty patients gathered in a circle and started off: "I'm Steven, and I'm an alcoholic, etc..." The director of the program (a spaced-out and religious fellow) had a developmentally disabled woman tell the group about her resolution to get help--I have no idea what sort--in the future if she felt she needed it. He made her say this again loudly so everyone in the group could hear it. Then he made her stand on her chair and shout it three time at the top of her lungs so that "everyone within a city block" could hear it. I was very disturbed by that scene. My stomach was in knots. It was hard to watch this particular person being humiliated, and I knew that if she called for help, she probably wouldn't get "help" no matter how loudly she yelled. (She had little income which meant that she surely wouldn't get private help.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a person who has been labelled as having several "diseases" and who has been subjected to current treatment methods, I found this book to be tremendously encouraging. I entered the treatment system as a successful individual who recognized a problem with substance abuse and associated behaviors. I accepted the disease label (made it easier on me - I wasn't really responsible for my behavior) and that I was "powerless" over my disease. Intially confused, I passively turned over my treatment protocol, virtually my entire life, to a series of programs and specialists who treated me as the victim. Confronted with large problems in my career, I know I would never have turned over so much authority to outsiders - I would have accepted responsibility for the problem and gotten it fixed. I made the mistake of accepting that the treatment specialists knew best for me. While there have been benefits to the therapy I have received (improved self-awareness, better communications about emotional issues, better stress management), I think these are more than offset by the victim status I took on. And looking back on the 12 step groups in which I spent so much time, I grow angry at the entire approach. I do not have a disease. I have made bad choices for which I am responsible. I have found that no higher power is going to swoop in and change my life for me. Pray for potatoes, but reach for the hoe. It amazes me even now that I failed to apply one of my favorite management tenents in my own life "IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, DO IT YOURSELF." In my defense, the initial interaction with treatment specialists comes at a time of disorientation and self-doubt. Unfortunately, the protocols try to feed and sustain that self-doubt.Read more ›
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