I recently read with great interest Cynthia R. Biron`s article, "Help Patients Before They Hit Rock Bottom" (RDH, August 1995, p. 20).
My interest comes from my professional interest in treating alcoholic patients, helping dental and medical colleagues (including hygienists) whose work is impaired by a wide variety of problems including alcoholism and drug addiction, and, finally, by 20 years of active alcoholism and drug addiction. According to the author, I would be classified as a functional alcoholic. But in retrospect, I was clearly impaired.
What most concerns me regarding this article is that it attempts to lead us to believe that alcoholism is not a disease. This clearly contradicts current research in both treatment and the neurobiochemistry of addiction medicine, as well as the genetic factors involved. I would suggest you ask for a review by the editorial board of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (a recognized sub-specialty of medicine) to get a more complete picture of this problem of alcoholism.
I would hope that you might take the time and space in your journal to present a more balanced report with clear scientific documentation. I also did not see anything in this article which might help your readers identify and assist those patients who might have a problem with alcoholism or even alcohol abuse which is a separate entitity. The title clearly suggests that to be the scope of the article.
Andrew W. Pickens, DDS
Ms. Biron focused on alternative treatments and medications for alcoholism. The article addressed these potential solutions, in part, because the World Health Organization no longer lists alcoholism as a disease.