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August 1970

Alcoholism: III. Diagnosis and Familial Psychiatric Illness in 259 Alcoholic Probands

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(2):104-111. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750020008002

IN HIS clinical and genetic study of male alcoholics Amark presented the risks for psychiatric diseases in the probands' relatives.1 When compared to general population figures the families of the alcoholic probands showed no increase in schizophrenia, manic depressive disease, general paresis, senile and presenile psychoses, epilepsy, or oligophrenia. Psychogenic psychoses were, however, more frequently found in the relatives of alcoholics than in the general population. Although psychogenic psychoses contain three different categories, depressive syndromes, disturbances of consciousness, and paranoid syndromes, the most common form of illness in this group is psychogenic depression. Psychogenic depressions fit into the general framework of affective disorder. Among the first-degree relatives of the alcoholic probands psychopathy was also increased when compared to general population figures. Finally, brothers and fathers of male alcoholics showed considerably more alcoholism than would be expected although female first-degree relatives (sisters and mothers) did not show a remarkably