Psychiatric Aspects of Alcohol Intoxication, Withdrawal, and Organic Brain Syndromes

  • Donald M. Gallant


When a patient arrives in a physician’s office or an emergency room with symptoms of slurred speech, difficulty with coordination, ataxia, loquaciousness, and difficulty with attention, there may be a natural tendency by the physician to attribute the patient’s symptoms to alcohol intoxication. However, similar symptoms may be caused by certain neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cerebellar dysfunction, or intoxication due to other sedative substances such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus may also be associated with impairment of central nervous system function and subsequent development of the above signs and symptoms. Even if the diagnostic impression is supported by a relatively high blood level of alcohol, it would be wise for the physician to follow the patient carefully in order to be sure that these symptoms clear as the alcohol disappears from the blood. It should be emphasized that the alcohol intoxication may be masking underlying physical sequelae of alcoholism. A careful history and physical examination should evaluate the possibility of trauma.


Essential Tremor Withdrawal Syndrome Alcohol Withdrawal Alcohol Intoxication Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald M. Gallant
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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