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Personality in alcoholic disorders: Acute hallucinosis and delirium tremens


  1. 1.

    Contrary to some opinion, the differential diagnosis between delirium tremens and acute hallucinosis can place little emphasis upon underlying personality, as well as could be determined in the present study. It may also be stated that some of these cases presented typical hallucinosis on one admission and delirium tremens upon another, as has been observed by others.

  2. 2.

    Few contrasting findings appeared. Oral traits, relative independence of family, activity, adaptability, and communicativeness occurred more frequently in those individuals who developed delirium tremens.

  3. 3.

    Considering the findings for the entire series, in which such traits as narcissism, marital and sexual maladjustment, oral traits, filial dependence, lack of aggressiveness, diminished heteroerotic interest, seclusiveness, morbid affective response, homoerotism, pathological response to alcohol, and solitary drinking were frequent, one sees the fundamental abnormality of the alcoholic personality. Thus it cannot be said that delirium tremens may be a reaction of the so-called normal individual to excessive alcoholic intake. However, it may be that the presence of oral features makes this personality reminiscent of that of the manic, and accordingly perhaps more “normal.”

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Read in summary before the interhospital conference of the N. Y. up-state hospitals, Utica, N. Y., April 28, 1939.

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Bigelow, N.J.T., Lehrman, S.R. & Palmer, J.N. Personality in alcoholic disorders: Acute hallucinosis and delirium tremens. Psych Quar 13, 732–740 (1939).

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  • Public Health
  • Alcohol
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Alcoholic Intake
  • Normal Individual