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April 1950

THIOPENTAL U. S. P. (PENTOTHAL®) TREATMENT OF ALCOHOLISM

Author Affiliations

SEATTLE

From the Shadel Sanitarium.

Arch NeurPsych. 1950;63(4):579-585. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1950.02310220046003
Abstract

DURING the past fourteen years over 5,000 patients have been treated for chronic alcoholism at the Shadel Sanitarium, in Seattle. The cornerstone of this treatment has been the conditioned reflex method of producing an aversion to the sight, taste, smell and thought of alcoholic beverages by means of the drug emetine hydrochloride.1 A follow-up study on 4,096 of these patients treated over a thirteen year period showed that 51 per cent had remained abstinent since treatment.2

Although these results were gratifying, we believe that they could be improved on by more adequate treatment of the underlying neurosis often present in alcoholic patients. With this idea in mind, we began using thiopental (pentothal®) sodium narcosynthesis as a short cut to psychotherapy of these patients.3 The results have been so encouraging that we have used thiopental more and more as an adjunct to conditioning until at present 30

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