EMIL ROTHSTEIN, M.D.
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To the editor: The dispute about alcoholism being a "disease" may result in severe harm to thousands of patients. Classifications are not necessarily "true"; they should be pragmatic. A block of wood may be equally classified as a piece of fuel, a botanic specimen, a chemical specimen, a weapon, or a work of art. It is all of these, and pragmatic reasons will tell us how to classify it at any time.
If alcoholic persons can be treated—and I shall describe how they can—in hospitals, by doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, counselors, pharmacies, and clinics, and if they can be
ROTHSTEIN E. Alcoholism: A Disease?. Ann Intern Med. ;82:718–719. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-82-5-718_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1975;82(5):718-719.
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