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Eur Addict Res. 2003 Jan;9(1):29-38.

Alcohol problems and treatment: the patients' perceptions.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.


The aim of this study is to investigate the patients' perception of their own alcohol problems. It is based on semi-structured, audio-taped interviews with 27 randomly chosen patients at an Alcohol Treatment Centre. Four different ways how alcohol problems were perceived emerged: 'cultural drinking', 'symptomatic drinking', 'pathological drinking' and 'incomprehensible drinking'. The ways of explaining the drinking problems were not related to the duration of the drinking problem, the actual amount of alcohol that the patients drank, or how or when it was drunk. Instead, the patients' perceptions were grounded in the way the drinking pattern was interpreted in relation to concepts like 'normality' and 'deviance'.

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