Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Alcoholism. As the result of the abuse of stimulants certain affections are met with, particularly cirrhosis of the liver (q.v.), gout (q.v.), and nervous disorders, of which the chief are delirium tremens and some forms of insanity. Apart from all this, habitual drinkers suffer from loss of appetite, with furred tongue and other digestive troubles, from nausea and sickness, particularly in the morning; the eyes may be watery, eruptions may appear on the nose and face, the limbs and tongue are tremulous; sleeplessness, vacillation of character, and loss of memory occur. In such persons, as the result of worry, overstrain, an actual debauch, or some bodily injury, an attack of delirium tremens may develop. As the name indicates, delirium and muscular tremor are pronounced symptoms in this affection. The temperature is somewhat raised, the pulse quickened, large and soft, the tongue covered with a creamy fur, the skin usually very moist; there is complete loss of appetite, and sleeplessness is a most distressing symptom. The form the delirium takes is not uncharacteristic; it is accompanied by hallucinations, i.e. the patient smells smells, hears noises, sees objects of various kinds, sparks, vermin crawling about his bed, and the like. He talks much, is full of suspicions, imagines that policemen are searching for him, or that he is tormented by evil spirits. In the early stage of the affection he can be recalled to himself, but between this condition and absolute mania every gradation may occur. The disease usually terminates favourably at the end of four or five days, the patient falling into a refreshing sleep, but only as a rule for him to recur to his drinking habits, with a resulting relapse of delirium tremens which may at length prove fatal. The treatment of alcoholism is rather a question of moral influence than of drugs; in actual delirium tremens, however, much can be done for the patient. Many remedies have had their advocates from time to time. The indications for treatment are, however, difficult to understand, and the condition is, of course, one which eminently calls for skilled treatment.