Acute Alcohol Intoxication, the Disulfiram Reaction, and Methyl Alcohol Intoxication

  • Robert Morgan
  • Edward J. Cagan


At the outset the difference between alcoholic intoxication and the alcohol withdrawal syndrome must be clarified. Intoxication is the well-known clinical effect of alcohol on the body, mediated through its tranquilizing and sedating effect on the central nervous system, beginning with mood changes and progressing through psychomotor retardation and reflex slowing to lethargy and sleep. If it is severe enough it can lead to coma and occasionally death. Persons with mild intoxication are seldom considered an acute medical problem except for the occasional complicating trauma, infection, heat or cold injury, or chronic deterioration which is often caused by repeated bouts of intoxication (Leevy, 1967; Lieber, 1967). The withdrawal syndrome, however, is the condition in which the sedative effects of alcohol are wearing off and the body evinces an agitation, suggesting a supersensitivity to adrenergic and cholinergic stimulation (Jaffe and Sharpless, 1968; Kalant, 1969). Hyperactivity, tremors, and delerium threaten health and life and in themselves prompt medical assistance. Both states may merge into one, and a person who is intoxicated, even semicomatose, when first seen may, within a few hours of the sedating alcohol wearing off, show signs of the abstinence-withdrawal syndrome.


Ethyl Alcohol Methyl Alcohol Fusaric Acid Aldehyde Oxidase Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Morgan
    • 1
  • Edward J. Cagan
    • 2
  1. 1.Manhattan Bowery ProjectNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Men’s Shelter ClinicSaint Vincent’s HospitalNew YorkUSA

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