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April 1, 1893

Alcoholism and its Treatment.

JAMA. 1893;XX(13):374. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420400026013

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The author takes the position that alcoholism is a disease not that every one who drinks is an alcoholist, however. He defines his position thus: "It is not intended that any forms other than those of a chronic nature, or where a known heredity exists, or in which fixed mental change (insanity) is present (as shown by positive evidence in the changed conduct of an alcoholist), can be allowed in palliation of any offence; and then only where the circumstances have been fully investigated and understood. At times it would be necessary to have opinions of experts to dispel any uncertainty that might be supposed to exist."

Numerous cases are detailed, illustrating the different phases of alcoholic insanity, and are as deeply interesting as a narrative from the pen of a novelist. Heredity as a cause of the drink habit is estimated to be present in nearly 60 per cent.

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