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March 2, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(9):734-738. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.82970440004009

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The alcoholic is usually the last one to agree with the diagnosis of his condition. His family may persuade him to visit a general practitioner for treatment of some physical complication of his drinking much more readily and much earlier in his drinking career than they can persuade him to see a psychiatrist. Alcoholics do not show any great affinity for psychiatrists and may openly resent being considered psychiatric patients. This is an attitude that they unfortunately share with most nonalcoholics; therefore some tact is required in referring them for treatment. If the alcoholic demonstrates abnormal behavior, appears depressed, or evidences a disturbance in his thinking (most frequently, ill-founded or illogical suspicions or grandiose opinions), he should certainly be examined psychiatrically, since in such cases the drinking may only be symptomatic of a severe underlying mental disturbance. Persons with sociopathic personality disorders, schizophrenic reactions, and manic depressive reactions and those

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