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JAMA 100 Years Ago
April 13, 2005


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(14):1804. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1804-b

As a people we are slow to learn certain facts. The recent murder in cold blood of a helpless and innocent wife and mother by a maniacal husband, whose insanity was of that type which regularly occurs in the alcoholic, reminds us that these frightful tragedies recur with distressing frequency. The relatives of those who abuse alcoholic beverages ought to be taught the danger signals. Whenever a drinking man begins, without cause, to suspect the virtue of his wife and the honor of his friends, it is time to confine him where he can do no harm, at least until the poison is out of his brain. Failure to do this is to invite murder in its most revolting forms. All this is well known to the members of the medical profession, but the physician is seldom asked for advice in such cases, and if he were his counsel would only rarely be followed. No man in the community is more dangerous to his family and to the public than the heavy drinker when he reaches the stage of alcoholic delusion that is marked by unfounded suspicions as to the conduct of those whom he naturally and in fact should most trust. When a man begins to harbor such delusions it is the instant duty of his friends to put him where he can do no harm and can get no more liquor.

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