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Abstract

Despite the fact that the disease model of alcoholism has lost its status as paradigm in international circles, the alcoholism research and treatment community in the United States maintains steadfast allegiance to the tenets of the disease model. The disease model and the related treatment goal of abstinence continue to overwhelmingly dominate the treatment of alcoholism in the U.S. Critics have suggested that financial and political motives have served to maintain the dominance of the disease model, despite findings that violate its basic tenets. This paper presents an alternative explanation of the reluctance of the alcoholism treatment community to relinquish the disease model by utilizing Kuhn's (1996) model of scientific progress in an historical analysis of the disease model. To support this position, evidence of the emergence of the disease model as a paradigm, alcoholism research as normal science, and the appearance of anomaly followed by crisis in the alcoholism research and treatment community are presented.

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