Screening for alcoholism

R. M. Morse, R. D. Hurt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The clinician must have a reliable set of criteria for making the diagnosis of alcoholism, just as he has for making the diagnosis of any other condition. At the current state of our understanding of this condition, the following criteria seem reasonable to use in the clinical situation: (1) physiological dependence on alcohol as manifested by evidence of a withdrawal syndrome (tremulousness, hallucinosis, withdrawal seizures, and delirium tremens), (2) tolerance to the effects of alcohol as shown by, for example, a blood alcohol level of more than 150 mg/dl without gross evidence of intoxication or the consumption of one fifth of a gallon of whiskey or its equivalent daily, (3) major alcohol-associated illness (for example, alcoholic hepatitis or pancreatitis) in a person who drinks regularly, (4) drinking despite strong medical contraindication known to the patient or strong identified social contraindication (ie, loss of job or marriage disruption because of drinking) indicates psychological dependence, and (5) the patient's subjective complaint of loss of control over his drinking should be considered a probable sign of alcoholism. When the measures described herein do not seem sufficient or when time does not permit their total use and questions remain about possible alcoholism, the patient should be referred for further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2688-2690
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Volume242
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 1979

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Alcoholism
Drinking
Alcohols
Alcoholic Pancreatitis
Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium
Alcoholic Hepatitis
Marriage
Seizures
Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Screening for alcoholism. / Morse, R. M.; Hurt, R. D.

In: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 242, No. 24, 1979, p. 2688-2690.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Morse, R. M. ; Hurt, R. D. / Screening for alcoholism. In: Journal of the American Medical Association. 1979 ; Vol. 242, No. 24. pp. 2688-2690.
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