Jekyll or Hyde? What’s the nature of the person with addiction?

The following describes the divergent approaches of Dr. J. Edward Turner and Dr. Albert Day, both one-time leaders of the New York State Inebriate Asylum that operated from 1864 to 1879.

The fundamental point at issue between Turner and Day was whether the inebriate was at his core Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Although both men considered inebriety a disease, they viewed their patients quite differently. Turner saw the inebriate as Mr. Hyde: a liar, thief, homicidal/suicidal rogue who required legal restraint and physical sequestration until his morbid character could be modified. Turner even proposed lifelong involuntary confinement for inebriates of unmalleable character. Day, on the other hand, regarded the inebriate as Dr. Jekyll: a fundamentally honorable gentlemen whose best graces had been degraded by a poisonous chemical agent. Whereas Turner’s approach was to suppress the diseased character of Mr. Hyde, Day’s approach was to elicit the hidden integrity of Dr. Jekyll and to enlist his moral decency in resisting future exposure to alcohol. It was out of this basic difference that emerged very dissimilar treatment philosophies: one reliant on control, the other on care and trust; one emphasizing coercion, the other moral uplift; one based on a hierarchical model of expert medical treatment, the other on a partnership model that fortified the inebriates’ will, ennobled their character, and then challenged them to carry a message of hope to other inebriates.

The tension between Turner and Day carried over into a disagreement regarding the role of community in the recovery process. For Turner, the family and community represented sabotage and temptation from which the inebriate had to be quarantined. For Day, however, the family and community were valuable resources for the mastery of temptations within the context of treatment. There is a similar dichotomy in current debates about the best approach to addiction treatment, the ideal length of treatment experience, the role of coercion in recovery, and the degree to which addicts seeking recovery need to be isolated from or reconnected to their families and communities.

Crowley J. W. & White W. L. (2004). Drunkard’s refuge: the lessons of the new york state inebriate asylum. University of Massachusetts Press.

One could argue these competing views are very much alive today, nearly 20 years after this was published and 144 years after the asylum was closed.

It’s interesting to imagine an institution like an inebriate asylum animated by such different philosophies, particularly in an institution that only lasted 15 years. (It was converted to a psychiatric asylum in 1879.)

About the author: Staff rai
If you have any questions, please contact us here

This post was originally posted here.

-

Share:

situs slot777