Alcoholism and Jews

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1. Introduction

This reality necessitated strong cohesiveness within the community. Alcoholism represented a loss of personal control that could threaten the security of the entire community, therefore, the alcoholic would not find support or acceptance within the community.

Alcohol Abuse by Jews

One of two things would occur: either the alcoholic would stop the behavior, in which case communal support would be provided; or the alcoholic would leave the community. We know that one of the obstacles that a person seeking recovery must deal with is to avoid transferring addictions by stopping one addiction only to find solace in another form of the disease. Historically, I believe, the Jewish addict was able to transfer the addiction into a form that was less threatening and more acceptable to the community.

I further believe that the fact that both Gamblers Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous were founded by a disproportionate number of Jews is not a coincidence. Gambling and food were acceptable addictions within the community, to the extent that obesity was equated with prosperity and wealth. Another interesting phenomenon is that while alcoholism was unacceptable to the Jewish community, no such prohibition existed with regard to the use of other drugs.


As drug experimentation became the thing to do in the s and s, young Jews, who would never think of public intoxication, had no taboo against drug use. The normal progression of the disease that we see in treatment, when taking a drug history, is to find that the individual first began to drink alcohol, progressed to marijuana, and then on to other chemicals. In Jewish addicts, very often, the history begins with other drugs, and then, in later stages, may turn to alcohol. In the early s, I had the opportunity to work with recent immigrants to the State of Israel.

In the immigrant communities, alcoholism was a major issue. Coming from my sociological training, I understood that the primary factors contributing to this were the feelings that developed among the mature population.

Falling into ALCOHOLISM and schizophrenia, JESUS broke through

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By clicking on the button s , you agree with our Terms of Use , Privacy Policy. Nathan Glazer, a frequent contributor to Commentary , has written extensively on issues of ethnicity and race in American society. Sign in to Commentary Email address. Pharmacogenetics 9 : — Schuckit, M. An 8-year follow-up of sons of alcoholics and controls. Archives of General Psychiatry 53 : — The self-rating of the effects of alcohol SRE form as a retrospective measure of the risk for alcoholism.

Addiction 8 : — The relationship between self-rating of the effects of alcohol and alcohol challenge results in ninety-eight young men.

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Journal of Studies on Alcohol 58 : — Sher, K. Pathological alcohol involvement: A developmental disorder of young adulthood. Development and Psychopathology 11 : — Slutske, W. Is alcohol-related flushing a protective factor for alcoholism among Caucasians? Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 19 3 : — Snyder, C. Genetic disease among Ashkenazi Jews.

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Sobell, M. The reliability of a timeline method of assessing normal drinker college students' recent drinking history: Utility for alcohol research. Addictive Behaviors 11 : — Takeshita, T.

The contribution of polymorphism in the alcohol dehydrogenase beta subunit to alcohol sensitivity in a Japanese population. Human Genetics 97 : — Characterization of the three genotypes of low Km aldehyde dehydrogenase in a Japanese population. Human Genetics 94 : — Thomasson, H. Alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase polymorphisms and alcoholism. Behavior Genetics 23 2 : — Alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase genotypes and alcoholism in Chinese men. American Journal of Human Genetics 48 : — Tu, G.

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