The Treatment of Alcoholics in Private Practice.


It is less than fifteen years since the profession at large recognized Alcoholism as a disease. During the period named there has been a growing tendency to treat alcoholics in hospitals and sanitariums.

It is now being universally understood that, with confidence on the part of the physician, these patients can be treated at home the same as those afflicted with other diseases are treated by the family physician.

There is no secret now concerning the cure of this disorder. The patient should be put on proper diet, surrounded with pleasant environments, and a certain amount of restraint put upon him; then he should be visited by the physician once or twice a day.

Sulphate or nitrate of strychnine have been recognized as important remedies with which to do away with the craving for alcohol. The strychnin is combined with atropin and the proper dose should be injected into a thick muscle two or three times a day. This should be continued for about four weeks when it may be reduced to once a day.

To supply the patient with a stimulant which will do away with the craving for alcohol, I have been in the habit for many years, of giving from two to five drops of the tincture of capsicum with about fifteen drops of the tincture of red cinchona, with perhaps a tablespoonful of bovinine or other strong, concentrated food.

With positiveness and confidence on the part of the physician, associated with the cooperation of the patient and his friends, it is not difficult to cure a great many of these cases. The use of apomorphin to do away with the tendency to maniacal excitement or delirium, is suggested.

Many physicians use hyoscyamin for this purpose also, and as a sleep producing agent. I shall be glad to have reports from those who have made it a practice to successfully treat their alcoholic patients.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.