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Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1984


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Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism + Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism + Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (June 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553274872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553274875
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Vital, simple, world-changing information." -- Co-Evolution Quarterly

"Under The Influence will advance by light years the understanding of alcoholism and the recovery process." -- Mel Schulstad, Cofounder, National Association of Alcoholism Counselors

From the Publisher

Ten of millions Americans 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 groundbreaking scientific research, Under The Influence examine the physical factors that set alcoholics and non-alcoholics apart, and suggests a bold, stigma-free way of understanding and treating the alcoholic.

How to tell if someone you know is an alcoholic.

The progressive stages of alcoholism.

How to get an alcoholic into treatment -- and how to choose a treatment program.

Why frequently prescribed drugs can be dangerous -- even fatal -- for alcoholics.

How to ensure a lasting recovery.

"Vital, simple, world-changing information." -- Co-Evolution Quarterly

"Under The Influence will advance by light years the understanding of alcoholism and the recovery process." -- Mel Schulstad, Cofounder, National Association of Alcoholism Counselors


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Customer Reviews

Alcoholism is a disease like diabetes.
Clara M Pettitt
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who suspects a loved one of an alcohol dependancy.
Renee Henning
I have read over 100 books on the subject.
Doug Thorburn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

189 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Clara M Pettitt on February 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I find the comments that the book is out of date sad, because the vast majority of alcoholism treatment programs as well as public opinion have not yet caught up to this book.
Milam advances several important concepts:
1. Alcoholism is a disease like diabetes. Psychology and morality play no role, except in the alcoholic's reaction emotionally to the consequences of the disease [hiding it, seeking help, etc.] If you think this view of alcoholism is completely accepted now, try telling your boss you are an alcoholic.
2. Milam then explains HOW alcoholism is a disease in fascinating detail. Alcoholics are not addicted to alcohol, but to a complex physical process that happens when they drink. Basically, the alcoholic's body reacts to the presence of alcohol in the body differently from that of a "normal" person, and no amount of counseling/threats/religious conversions can change that.
3. Alcoholics may not know when to save themselves, and may need help [he shoots down the "hitting bottom" myth]. Do you wait for a diabetic to go into a coma before you help them?
4. Treatment for the alcoholic must address the poor state of the alcoholic's health and nutrition. Alcoholic tremors, shaking, illusions, paranoia, etc. are caused by alcoholic malnutrition. Alcohol strips the body of water soluble vitamins, particularly the crucial B vitamins, and prevents the liver and other organs from repairing the body.
The one section of the book I don't agree with concerns the role of government/public agencies in alcoholism treatment. Milam expects too much of them. But that does not affect the brilliance of this book.
In the reviews here, there are some criticisms that Milam describes only "worst case" scenarios. That is not correct.
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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Doug Thorburn on October 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've authored four books on alcoholism, including Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse and Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society's most Destructive Disease. This was one of perhaps at most a dozen books that were instrumental in helping me develop my ideas.

Under the Influence is a magnificent book. It thoroughly debunks the "mental health model" of addiction that misinforms so many. That alcoholism is biological is supported by the authors' detailed and thorough explanation of brain poisoning and adaptation to the drug we call alcohol. It is clear that this poisoning causes the alcohol addict to engage in destructive behaviors, both during and in-between drinking episodes.

The stages of alcoholism are beautifully described. The fact that there is an early stage vastly different from latter stages, makes sense of what seems a paradox: the high-functioning alcoholic. As few as one in a thousand observers ever identify these as such. This is terribly unfortunate, since the behaviors of the early stage addict can be so destructive and adversely affect so many.

There is a superb explanation of the nutritional damage that all alcoholics experience, along with the now well-known sugar connection. Under the Influence contains an excellent summary of diseases found in latter-stage alcoholics, including cancer and heart disease.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have now read five books on this subject, due to family members and a dear friend being alcoholics. This is the most readable, "states it like it is," book I have read. Many, many questions are answered when reading this book. For me, of particular interest, was Chapter Five, wherein "The Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome" is described...it explains my friend exactly, and the doctors (three so far) are not picking up on his being in this stage, even tho they know he is an alcoholic! The information on types of food is especially good, and the authors are correct, that FEW (if any) doctors discuss the very important role of nutrition counseling!! I am getting three of these for family and friends and feel it will really help them understand others and themselves. I am most pleased to see that it is still in print. I got my copy from a friend about a year ago and just started re-reading it and realized it just "hits the bullet" as the saying goes, and is one that the alcoholism counselor (that originally gave it to me), had UNDERLINED and highly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a real eye-opener, dispelling the myth that alcoholism is simply "moral weakness". As a member of AA I found the information to be an excellent supplement to the AA program. The explanation of the physiological impact of alcohol is clear and easily understood. I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders why alcoholics keep drinking.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For many alcoholics and those who live with them, it's not enough to know that this disease is a mysterious "allergy." Under the Influence explains the physical aspects of alcoholism in a matter-of-fact, easily readable form. The authors follow the progressive stages of alcoholism with clear descriptions of what the disease does to the way the liver, the brain, and the emotions respond to alcohol at each stage.

This book explains how the bodies of alcoholics metabolize liquor differently from those of non-alcoholics, and the changes in the brain that take place over years of continued drinking. (It confirms, for example, the observation that many late-stage alcoholics' function deteriorates as they go without liquor for a number of hours). After a complete description of the stages of alcoholism, it provides some insight on intervention and treatment, and some valuable information about treating the physical aspects of the disease in sobriety, with proper diet and rest in addition to AA attendance.

Nothing in Under the Influence will replace the role of the experience, strength and hope of other alcoholics in helping alcoholics recover. Yet this book provides valuable information, especially about the often-overlooked physical aspects of the three-fold disease of alcoholism.
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