Drinkers' institution

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The term “ Trinkerheilanstalt” was coined in the second half of the 19th century for hospitals or sanatoriums that dealt with the treatment of alcohol-dependent people.

Especially at the beginning of industrialization , many workers and day laborers regarded beer and schnapps as one of the staple foods in order to compensate for the calorie loss of the predominantly heavy physical work due to the lack of other foods and to gain distance from poor working conditions at least for a short time through the neurotoxin alcohol .

The alcohol thus became a seemingly short-term problem solver for daily problems. Those affected were mostly unaware that this often led to the loss of a job and family problems, so that the personal problems were deepened.

So in the late 19th century, so-called drinking sanctuaries were founded in order to offer alcoholics a rather progressive withdrawal measure for the time. Here, however, only physical withdrawal was offered. Accompanying psychotherapy, as offered in addiction clinics today, did not yet exist.

Most of the institutions were church sponsored and at the same time had the purpose of proselytizing.

The term of the drinking sanctuary has practically disappeared from regular usage today. Nowadays, specialist clinics or sanatoriums often offer far-reaching psychological support both for those affected and for their relatives.


  • Jürgen W. Schmidt: The fight against alcoholism in the province of West Prussia. About the establishment of the sanatorium for drinking in Sagorsch / Neustadt district . In: Contributions to the history of West Prussia . No. 20/21, 2008, ISSN  0341-9436 , pp. 285-308.