Somatic Dysfunction in an Irish Male Alcoholic Population
Alcohol has a long tradition of use as a drug for the relief of psychological and physical symptoms. However, chronic excessive drinking results in wide spread damage to the body causing a multitude of physical symptoms and signs (Holt et al., 1981). Numerous studies have drawn attention to the association between alcoholism and organic pathology. Studies in alcoholics indicate an increased incidence of gastritis (Wynn Williams 1956), peptic ulcer (Engeset et al., 1963), and pancreatitis (Cogbill et al., 1970). Hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver are known to be related to alcoholism (Brunt, T.W. 1971). The relationship of cardiac disease and excessive alcohol intake have been reviewed by Saunders (1970). Nolan (1965) in a review of 900 consecutive admissions to a general hospital considers that 10% was due to disease in which alcohol played a major etiological role. Green (1965) found that 12.1% of 1000 admissions hospitalized for medical reasons were alcoholics, and 3.4% of total admissions suffered from disease in which alcohol was a definite etiological factor. The mortality rate for delirium tremens can be as high as 10% and is related according to some authorities (Detre et al., 1971) to the incidence of medical disorders seen in alcoholics going through withdrawal. In spite of the impressive literature on the subject, Sundby (1967) states that the role played by alcohol as a factor in somatic disease, is usually disregarded by physicians, unless patients exhibit acute symptoms such as delirious reactions or convulsive attacks. Conversely, psychiatrists need to be reminded that frequently alcoholic patients may conceal non-acute physical pathology beneath their psychological symptoms.
KeywordsDuodenal Ulcer Canadian Medical Association Journal Delirium Tremens Organic Pathology Physical Disorder
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