Originally published in 1981 and revised in 1983, Controlled Drinking was the first scholarly review of the literature on a controversial but increasingly practiced approach to the treatment of alcoholism. Nick Heather and Ian Robertson analyse all the pertinent questions that controlled drinking raises, starting with the need to examine the ‘disease conception’ of alcoholism and ‘total abstinence’ treatment. They look at the evidence indicating that some people, previously diagnosed as alcoholics, are able to return to normal, controlled patterns of drinking, and discuss therapies where controlled drinking is the treatment goal, fully reviewing the evidence for their success and failure. Concluding with a discussion of the theoretical and policy implications of controlled drinking, the authors recommend that the disease view of alcoholism be finally abandoned.

    For the revised paperback edition, as well as correcting and updating the text and references, the authors included an important postscript on the charges of falsification of evidence and their subsequent refutation which made up the Sobell affair. The wealth of other material presented in Controlled Drinking supports the authors’ conclusions even if the Sobells’ work were ignored. However, this revised edition was made more useful for student and professional readers by the postscript’s discussion of the controversy surrounding the most widely known and quoted controlled drinking trial at the time.

    Foreword by D. L. Davies.  Authors’ Preface.  1. Introduction: Disease Conceptions of Alcoholism  2. Normal Drinking in Former Alcoholics  3. Loss of Control and Craving  4. Possible Advantages of a Controlled Drinking Treatment Goal  5. Controlled Drinking Treatments: Origins and Methods  6. Controlled Drinking Treatments: The Evidence  7. Controlled Drinking Treatment Practice  8. Implications.  Postscript: The Sobell Affair.  References.  Name Index.  Subject Index.


    Nick Heather and Ian Robertson

    Reviews for the original edition:

    ‘This is an admirably complete summary of the state of our knowledge…, with important implications for the future of alcoholism treatment. It should be studied carefully by every professional involved in the treatment and prevention of alcohol problems.’ – W.R. Miller, The Behavior Therapist

    ‘All those whose work concerns alcoholism, and for whom this book has primarily been written…, will find this comprehensive survey of a very difficult and controversial issue very enlightening and instructive.’ – The Lancet

    ‘No book dealing with the specific issues of controlled drinking and the data surrounding it has been written until now. Fortunately, the wait has been worthwhile.’ – Behaviour Research and Therapy

    ‘Their book simply represents, for my money, the best and most careful publication on any topic within the area of alcohol problems to have emerged in recent years.’ – Current Psychological Reviews