People should be aware that formal treatment for an alcohol problem (or any substance use problem) is risky. It can make it harder to get a job of high public trust (with the government or military, or as a lawyer or doctor). It also means that if future doctors see medical records revealing you have a substance problem, you can have a harder time getting painkillers or other needed drugs. Do your own cost-benefit analysis; but my personal conclusion is that it's always better to attempt to deal with these problems on your own before getting involved in the system. Many people have gotten to abstinence or harm reduction by themselves--Moderation Management is a book that helped me.
On the other hand, if you're willing to get involved in the system, I've seen some great reviews for the Sinclair method (i.e., naltrexone). It's harder to find that other approaches, but, if it works, it allows people to break the conditioned connection between alcohol and the pleasure/relaxation/anxiety relief or whatever you get from drinking.
I think this example is misleading; I could fill a water glass by myself one drop at a time, although it would take a long time. But, with many large problems such as pandemics and climate change, there is no feasible scenario where one person’s action makes a difference. Perhaps an example where I try to fill a swimming pool one drop at a time, while hundreds of gallons per minute pour out through the hole in the bottom.
If my action has a zero or infinitesimal positive impact on the relevant problem, while a negative and non-infinitesimal impact on me, cost-benefit analysis concludes I should not do it. I think OP needs to do more work to justify why they think this is not so.
Great article! But don't read the comments on putanumonit, yeesh.
One estimation is based on the straight extrapolation of the exponential growth of the infected people number, which doubles every two days. This implies that the whole population of Earth will be ill in March. Another view takes into account that many mild cases are not included in the stat, so lethality is small and probably not everybody will be ill at all. We just don't know yet.
Both of these estimates wildly exaggerate the risk. Why in the world would we expect exponential growth to continue? Rather than "probably not everybody will be ill," our baseline should be "a few people will be ill," because that's what has been the case with almost all other epidemics.
If you don't live in China and are not planning to go to China soon, the appropriate course of action is to do nothing.
It’s looking at accomplished women dropping out of demanding careers to raise kids as sexism. Could it be that someone may prefer to raise a family to grinding 70 hours a week at the office once they don’t need to worry about money? I certainly would! But if the only thing you count is personal status then it would seem to you that these women are being cheated out of something by the evil patriarchy.
This is a remarkably shallow way of looking at the issue. The fact that some 95%+ of people who drop out of the workforce to raise children are women should put paid to the idea that the patriarchy has nothing to do with it. Sure, work can be stressful--but men feel stress too, and somehow men don't make this same destructive "choice" to drop out of the workforce in favor of total dependence on their spouses.
The manner in which the belief is expressed is likely more important than the belief itself, especially if the belief itself is...uncommonly true. “I went to an elite Special Forces school,” “I’m going to die in six months,” “The FBI is following me,” “my father is trying to kill me,” are all true for some people, but expressing them with inappropriate affect or in circumstances where those beliefs seem doubtful or irrelevant might make you seem deluded. Scott Alexander wrote about this...
Action cures fear. Stop ruminating and do the thing. Ultrasounds are always expensive IME—still, if you can come up with the money it seems worth it.
In the longer term, one thing that has helped me is to list all my nagging fears, along with their outcomes. I can go back and see how, often, the thing I was afraid of didn’t exist at all or wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared.
Or those who don't itemize deductions (most non-homeowners).