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Article   |    
WHAT HAPPENS TO ALCOHOLICS
FREDERICK LEMERE
Am J Psychiatry 1953;109:674-676.
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The Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine, and the Shadel Sanitarium, Seattle.

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Abstract

1. Approximately 28% of all alcoholics will drink themselves to death, 7% will regain partial control of their drinking, 3% will be able to drink moderately again, and 29% will continue to have the problem of drinking throughout their lifetime. Twenty-two percent will stop drinking during a terminal illness and 11% So will quit drinking exclusive of a terminal illness.2. Most alcoholics who quit drinking will probably do so on their own without outside help (7% of this series of 500 cases). Spiritual reconversion has been the biggest help to alcoholics who have become abstinent (3% of this series). In the past medical treatment has been of some, but not great, help (1% So of this series).3. The average life expectancy of these 5oo alcoholics was 52 years. Many alcoholics quit for prolonged periods of time only to relapse at some later date.

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