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April 1971

Characteristics of Elderly Patients With Alcoholism

Author Affiliations

From the Gerontology, Research Section, Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences (Dr. Gaitz) and the Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine (Dr. Baer), Houston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;24(4):372-378. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750100082013

A high rate of alcoholism was found in an unselected group of consecutive admissions of persons 60 years of age and older to a county psychiatric screening ward. psychiatric patients—alcoholic without organic brain syndrome (OBS), alcoholic with OBS, and nonalcoholic with OBS—were studied. Data were collected regarding sociodemographic, physical, psychiatric, and cognitive variables. Alcoholics without OBS were in comparatively good health physically and showed few other psychiatric manifestations. Alcoholics with OBS were younger than nonalcoholic OBS patients, were less impaired cognitively, and showed fewer signs of psychosis. Their families, however, had a more negative attitude toward them. Physical status and mortality rates for both groups were similar, but the alcoholics with OBS died at an earlier age.

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