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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

HALPERN, Elizabeth Espindola  and  LEITE, Ligia Maria Costa. Representations on patient illness and cure at the Chemical Dependency Center of the Central Navy Hospital. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.4, pp. 1079-1089. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000400029.

This article presents one of the segments of ethnographic research which was conducted over a two-year period, by means of participant observation, at the Chemical Dependency Center of the Brazilian Navy. Patients of 2 treatment groups were observed during 24 sessions of group therapy. Among the 22 existing patients of the two groups, 13 patients were randomly selected for individual interviews. Their illness and healing representations related to mental and behavioral disorders caused by drugs were examined, and also the influence of the work environment on patient involvement with drugs was investigated. Results show that patients believe that they are responsible for their illness and for their alcoholic sobriety and they also believe they will never be cured. Furthermore, they do not usually accept the on-going medical discourse or the Alcoholics Anonymous belief that they are recovering alcoholics; they build their own views about their diagnoses, prognoses, and treatments. There are cultural traits particular to the naval life that indicate that the categories analyzed are mainly social, and that certain work-related conditions lead to the emergence of alcoholism in many patients, despite the fact that drugs are commonly tackled from the administrative perspective.

Keywords : Alcoholism; Military; Occupational health.

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