JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
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.
THE PERIL TO THE COMMUNITY OF ALCOHOLIC MANIA.. JAMA. 2005;293(14):1804. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1804-b