Dipsomania is a form of physical disease, and it consists of an uncontrollable and intermittant impulse to take alcoholic stimulants, or any other stimulant or narcotic which causes intoxication. We must distinguish between this disease of the nervous system, which is one form of periodical insanity, and the physiological state in which the individual merely chances to indulge in liquor to excess. The great question of importance is to distinguish the two states or conditions when the result—intemperance—is the same. We must observe whether there are symptoms in our patient which can be referred to primary disease of the nervous system. We must examine for hereditary influences, which, when present, lead us, of course, to suspect disease. Early development of the appetite for stimulants points in the same direction; but the great diagnostic mark attending the disease is the irresistible impulse or craving, by which the patient is impelled to
MANN EC. THE DISEASE OF INEBRIETY IN ITS RELATION TO DISEASES OF THE MIND AND NERVOUS SYSTEM. JAMA. 1892;XVIII(9):250–257. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411130006001b
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