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How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in Its Early Stages Paperback – April 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An innovative and enlightening examination of alcoholism, How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics eloquently describes the biology behind the affliction, how to identify early-stage alcoholism based on behaviors, as well as what to do if you suspect someone you know—or don’t know—has the disease of alcoholism. Every counselor, psychologist, physician, and interventionist should read this book.” —Wallace D. Winters, M.D., Ph.D., emeritus professor of pharmacology, toxicology, and anesthesiology, University of California, Davis; retired FDA medical officer, Pacific region


How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics by Doug Thorburn should be required reading for every teacher, counselor, treatment specialist, physician, clergy member, lawyer, and judge in this country.” —Katherine Ketcham, author, Under the Influence and Beyond the Influence

How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics by Doug Thorburn should be required reading for every teacher, counselor, treatment specialist, physician, clergy member, lawyer, and judge in this country.” —Katherine Ketcham, author, Under the Influence and Beyond the Influence

“Doug Thorburn shows how we can identify alcoholism in its early, hidden stage. His work explains countless tragic events that are otherwise nonsensical. He makes an incontrovertible case that no dysfunction, including poverty, illiteracy, and racism, causes more damage to society than alcohol and other drug addiction. Until we realize the extent of the millions who suffer from alcoholism, we cannot solve the majority of our social ills. How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics is a must read for every social commentator and everyone else who cares about the human condition.” —Shawn Steel, former chairman, California Republican Party

About the Author

Doug Thorburn provides continuing education for the California Association for Alcohol and Drug Educators and is the president and founder of the PrevenTragedy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on the importance of early identification of alcoholism. He lives in Northridge, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Galt Publishing (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967578868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967578866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,997,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Author Doug Thorburn is not a medical doctor, nor does he have any psychological background that would make him an expert on alcoholics. However, after becoming involved with one he dedicated himself to studying the problem and with the help of several addiction experts has produced this fascinating book. One of the problems with alcoholism is that it has a tendency to not be diagnosed until it is too late and the person has ruined their health and their life. Doug takes the view that by recognizing the behavioral clues we can find the hidden alcoholic while there is still time to prevent tragedy.
The book is divided into three distinct parts. First is a section that redefines alcoholism so that earlier diagnosis and prevention is possible. The second section is a detailed examination of the various clues that point to early-stage alcoholism. The last section discusses middle-stage clues and clues of multiple drug use.
Many of the behavior items listed and detailed are indicative of addictive behavior in general and not necessarily just alcoholism. The primary value in this book is that it is the first one I have seen that is designed for the general public and focuses on the early signs of alcoholism. In fact, many of the professional level books do not deal with recognizing alcoholism at this early stage. "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics" should be required reading for everyone and especially so for those who deal with counseling others whether in a professional, volunteer, or pastoral capacity.
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A while back on an online discussion forum, a young woman was talking about her awful experience which was the result of her romantic relationship with an alcoholic/other drug addict. She didn't want to repeat the same mistake and asked if anyone knew of a book that would help her discern people with this kind of problem before she got to involved again. Of course, there was the standard "there isn't a book." I quickly posted and recommended Doug Thorburn's excellent "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics." This astounding text gives excellent advice on how to recognize the sickness of alcoholism and other drug addiction before you invest your time, heart, wallet and sanity into a potentially dangerous individual. I've seen it all. I grew up in a family shot through the disease of alcoholism, have been romantically involved with addicts, have lost many friends to the disease, and am a recovering alcoholic of 15 years myself. Thorburn correctly puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. If you think you might need this book, you do. Get it and protect yourself.
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When I first saw the title, I was skeptical and worried that this book was a witch hunt for alcoholics. When I read the book, I was amazed, at first at how consistent many of Thorburn's insights were to my experience, and then at how it helped me see my own history of alcoholism. I have 4+ years sober and attend AA regularly. This book helped me see my old behavior from a new vantage point. I gained a new level of clarity of my own defects (Step 4) and it help me articulate many amends (Step 9) in a practical context.

I understand the concern about credentials, but it doesn't really bother me. In my experience, and in talking with hundreds of recovered alcoholics, we were experts at hiding our addiction from the credentialed professionals. I wish more in the healthcare profession would read and at least consider Thorburn's points.

I think Thorburn's point is that, since alcoholism is a progressive disease, and since the alcoholic tends to have increasing destructive behaviors, it is simple common sense to be on the lookout for traits of early alcoholics---not to condemn the drinker, but to protect one's self-interest.

More importantly, if we can identify alcoholics earlier, we can take off our own blinders to their destructive behaviors, and stop enabling them. I, like most alcoholics, needed to hit bottom. I have learned that while we should not deprive an alcoholic of their bottom, if possible, we should try to raise their bottom, leading to an earlier and more likely successful recovery.

This book, and Thorburn's Myths and Realities, is an excellent synthesis of ideas. He has kinda "reverse-engineered" the disease and helped me see this progressive, destructive, and fatal disease from a better vantage point.
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I've been clean and sober since 1993, and in the end stages of my addiction, I could put two fifths of Vodka down in a 24 hour period. At that point in the disease, I was pretty easy to spot:

just like a broken arm.

To understand alcoholism ( and other addictions ) the non-addict

needs to know a simple truth: We're not alcoholics because we

drank, but we drank because we're alcoholics. The substance abuse is a large symptom of a hugely complex emotional and personality disorder. If all it took was an arm x-ray to prove and treat, the disease would be gone.

It's an unfortunate truth that addicts such as myself have

abused the ones who loved us the most. You people don't speak our language, know our secret signs and signals. I make it sound like a undercover brotherhood, and in a way it is. Why

do you think AA is so successful? I can't fool another sober

alcoholic.

So what does the non-addict do if they're being driven to the point of insanity by someone in their life? You certainly can't get the other person sober, but you can protect yourself, and that is precisely where Dougs book comes in.

If you are someone who has followed the link to read about this book, and have bothered to read as far as here, then the facts speak for themselves: you've got a problem in your life, and you're desperate to discover if it's you that's going crazy.

The title of the book intriqued you, and you thought.,"I wonder if this might explain...." You can fill in the blanks from there.

Doug has written a dead on, and brutally honest book about how you can spot the hidden addicts around you. It works.
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