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June 14, 1965

Delirium Tremens

Author Affiliations

Castro Valley, Calif

JAMA. 1965;192(11):1013-1014. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080240083031

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To the Editor:—  In regard to Dr. Marvin Block's answer to the question on "Prevention of Delirium Tremens" (QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, JAMA191:779, [March 1] 1965), I have been interested in the theoretical and practical aspects of alcohol-induced hallucinated states for many years. I am familiar with the old controversy about whether or not delirium tremens is truly an alcohol withdrawal phenomenon or something far more obscure in terms of primary toxic effects, vitamin deficiency, and what not. No clinician familiar with the problem will argue the point for long: the alcoholdeprived patient is the delirium tremens patient. Ergo, to prevent delirium tremens give alcohol. At a private hospital devoted to treatment of alcoholism, I have consulted with severe, chronic, heavy drinkers who arrive in all stages of unselected states of over-indulgence. We could not demonstrate one genuine case of delirium tremens per year!Every patient is given some

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