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THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL AND THE HYPOTHESIS OF RECIPROCAL COMPLEMENTARITY
A. H. HOBBS
Am J Psychiatry 1960;117:228-233.
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Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 4, Pa.

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Abstract

Modern as well as ancient attempts to explain phenomena associated with drinking give rise to numerous inconsistencies. Such inconsistencies, I contend, can be resolved only by inclusion of the social factor. The hypothesis of reciprocal complementarity is a technique which includes the social factor, both as external reality and as internally incorporated into patterns in the neopallium. Internal and external homeostatic equilibria are a function of patterns which involve these social elements as well as the functioning of other mental levels and physiological processes. In this interpretation chronic alcoholism is not, in principle, different from mental disorder (which also, now, is socially defined). Such and similar conditions can be interpreted as a disruption of homeostasis between individual urges and the social controls.As these controls continue to expand and lose their definition(14) these imbalances, in one form or another, will increase. A reduction in such pathologies might be ultimately attained through methods of child-rearing and education which contribute toward the formation of firm and consistent neopallial patterns of morality and ethics. Such patterns, however, must involve more than a patch-work of arbitrary conventions. They must, within the limits of the capacity of the individual, allow for expression of the integrity of the person as well as for maintenance of the social controls.Meantime, some of the principles of AA treatment might, with profit, be incorporated into the therapy applied to mentally disordered patients.

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