Alcoholism pp 145-160 | Cite as

Etiology of Subgroups in Chronic Alcoholism and Different Mechanisms in Transmitter Systems

  • O. M. Lesch
  • H. Walter
  • W. Bonte
  • J. Grunberger
  • M. Musalek
  • R. Sprung
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 206)


The present state of the art in alcoholism research still suffers from the fundamental problem of delineating reliable boundaries between alcohol use, alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction, which includes the distinction between problem drinking and alcoholism (Edwards et al., 1977; Glatt, 1982; Heimann et al., 1989; Jellinek, 1960; Keller, 1976; Lesch, 1985, Lesch et al., 1991; Morey and Blashfield, 1981; Nimmerrichter et al., 1989; Pattison and Kaufman, 1982; Polich et al., 1980; Rodgerson et al., 1980; Schuckit, 1979; Edwards et al., 1977; Sobell, 1981; Uhl, 1983; Vaillant, 1983). The continuously ongoing changes in diagnostic criteria demonstrate quite well these difficulties (Cemovsky, 1985; Ewing, 1984; Fitzgerald et al., 1971; Horn et al., 1983; Keller, 1976; Koehler and Sass, 1984; Lachar et al., 1976; Marlatt, 1976; McLennan et al., 1980; Rohsenow, 1982; Selzer, 1971; Spitzer, 1987; Wanberg and Horn, 1983; Wetzler, 1988; Wittchen et al., 1989). The heterogenity of this illness is undoubted (Babor and Lauerman, 1986: Berner et al., 1986; Besson et al., 1981; Button, 1956; Buydens-Branchey et al., 1989; Cloninger et al., 1981; Conley and Prioleau, 1983; Donovan et al., 1986; Gilligan et al., 1987; Grünberger et al., 1989; Johnson et al., 1986; Knorring et al., 1985; Lesch, 1985; Lesch et al., 1988a,b,c; Martin et al., 1988; Norström and Berglund, 1987; Pattison and Kaufman, 1982; Schuckit, 1979; Schuckit and Irwin, 1989; Thurstin and Alfano, 1988; Victor and Banker, 1978; Winokur et al., 1971). Between 1850 and 1941 thirty-nine different typologies of alcoholism have been proposed and many further attempts have been added since (Babor et al., 1986; Buydens-Branchey, 1989; Cloninger, 1987). Most of these typologies are cross-sectional classifications reflecting the researchers interests rather than the different aspects of the illness (Bean et al., 1981; Nerviano and Gross, 1983). For this reason different types of subgroups exist which are oriented psychologically, socially or biologically. The results of all attempts to subgroup chronic alcoholism still remain unsatisfactory (Alfano et al., 1987; Alterman and Tarter, 1986; Donovan et al., 1986; Litman et al., 1979; Zivich, 1981).


Drinking Behaviour Chronic Alcoholism Rebound Phenomenon Delusional Disorder Organic Brain Syndrome 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. M. Lesch
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Walter
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Bonte
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. Grunberger
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Musalek
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Sprung
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Psychiatric Univ. ClinicWienAustria
  2. 2.Anton Proksch InstituteKalksburg, ViennaAustria
  3. 3.Institute for Forensic MedicineDüsseldorfGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Forensic MedicineGottingenGermany

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