Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

fiery liquid which he swallows, enters even honour, now was the best time for settling it; the citadel of existence, and by actual con- and insisted upon their taking their ground tact rends the structure, and disturbs the immediately. It was with great difficulty functions of the organ of the mind itself. that he was pacified ; and no small remonThis fact explains many of those phenomena strance took place before he was convinced of drunkenness, which formerly cast a sha- that the affair was altogether the offspring of dow over that portion of physiological in- bis dreams.* vestigation.

Burton also relates a very ludicrous dream II. Effects of increased circulation of the which some young men of Agrigentum, blood on the brain and nervous system.- Sicily, had after a drinking bout.t Intoxicating liquors act upon the system in The drunkard is not only liable to the two ways. They not only operate upon the night-mare and fearful dreams, but to nerves and brain, but accelerate the circula- somnambulism, or walking in his sleep, as tion. Their influence, however, on the well as sleep-talking. Both these conditions brain and nervous system, is undoubtedly of have their origin in the grotesque but the most importance. Increased circulation fruitful conceptions of a disordered brain. of the blood accounts, for some portion at III. Palsy, epilepsy, and apoplexy, proleast, of the unnatural energy which the duced by intemperance.-Palsy, epilepsy, brain receives after vinous indulgence. and apoplexy, are among those diseases of Shakspeare puts into the mouth of Falstaff, the brain, which are not unfrequently the prince of topers, the following charac- brought on by intemperance. teristic language :-"A good sherries sack The trembling hands, and shaking head, hath a twofold operation in it. It ascends of inebriates, particularly in the morning, me into the brain.-The second property of betoken that confirmed disease of the brain your excellent sherries is, the warming of and nervous system, which shortly makes its the blood ; which before, cold and settled, appearance as the dread harbinger of death. left the liver white and pale (!) which is the Apoplexy is a common and fatal effect of badge of pusillanimity and cowardice: but intemperance. It is correctly defined to the sherries warms it, and makes it course consist in defective vital energy, with homfrom the inwards to the parts extreme. It orrhage, or derangement of the vascular illumineth the face; which, as a beacon, system of the brain, and their consequences. gives warning to all the rest of this little Apoplexy is attended with a loss of conkingdom man, to arm : and then the vital sciousness, feeling, and voluntary motion. commoners, and inland petty spirits, muster The functions of the brain are suspended, me all to their captain the heart ; who, great together with derangement of the functions and puffed up with this retinue, doth any of respiration and circulation. Persons who deed of courage ; and this valour comes of indulge in strong drink, and possess the sherries : so that skill in the weapon is apoplectic form or make, that is, individuals nothing without sack; for that sets it with large heads, short necks, and fulness of

blood, are peculiarly prone to attacks of These words, in more scientific language, apoplexy. Great numbers of individuals, would present a tolerably accurate explana- who are never suspected of intemperance, tion of the manner in which the blood deter- fall victims to this dreadful disease ; those, mines to the surface, from the heart and for example, who daily indulge in rich food, great blood vessels, after alcoholic excite- and drink plentifully of wine, and who are ment. Hence, during vinous indulgence, of indolent habits, particularly if there is the glow of heat which pervades the whole any apoplectic condition of body. body, and the ruddy and expansive appear- In seven cases out of ten,observes ance of the face and eyes.

Dr. Macnish, malt liquor drunkards die Determination of blood to the head is a of apoplexy or palsy.Dr. Trotter common and frequently fatal effect of intem- remarks, that he knew a number of persons perance. Incubus or night-mare, in drunk- of both sexes, but particularly seamen, who ards, arises from preternatural fulness of the were subject to epilepsy, and never got drunk vessels of the brain. Inebriates are peculi- without a fit coming on.|| arly subject to unpleasant dreams. The Attacks of this description frequently arise hour of repose is disturbed with fitful and in persons who do not indulge to great grotesque conceptions of things and events excess. Many persons,says Dr. Macnish, which not unfrequently produce so deep an “cannot get slightly intoxicated without impression on the mind, as on returning having an epileptic or other convulsive wakefulness to induce a strong conviction of attack. These fits generally arise in the their actual occurrence. Dr. Trotter relates early stages, before drunkenness has got to the circumstance of an officer much accus- a height.”'S tomed to hard drinking, who awoke suddenly Dr. Trotter relates an instance, of a genafter a free debauch at the mess-table, and told one of his brother officers in a peremp- * Essay on Drunkenness, p. 64. tory tone of voice, that as it was an affair of † Anat. Melancholy, Part I., Sect. 2.

| Anatomy of Drunkenness, p. 68.

|| Ibid. p. 153. Henry IV., Part 2, Act iv.

§ Essay on Drunkenness, p. 116.

a-work."*

66

*

tleman, an acquaintance of his, who was produced by the stimulus of ardent spirits."* subject to what he terms periodical apoplexy, The same writer remarks that diseases of and who had so frequent a recurrence of the the hepatic system will even originate disease, that he could foretel to his relations delirium, furious mania, melancholy, and the exact period of a new paroxysm. After suicide. He discovered a condition of the each attack, certain paralytic affections com- liver in the bodies of several poor lunatics monly remained. This gentleman had not which favoured this inferance. Dr. Cheyne the apoplectic make, was upwards of seventy mentions the prevalence of hepatic disease, years of age, was accustomed to much coun- upon examining the bodies of lunatics who try exercise, and always very moderate in had died in the hospitals of Dublin.t the use of wine. At this time, however, he Pale countenance, weakness, languor, emacould not take two glasses without defect of ciation, want of appetite, coldness of the voice and speech and stupor coming on. In hands and feet, cold moisture over the whole this situation, he had upwards of thirty surface of the body, cramp in the extremities, distinct fits of apoplexy, the greater part of slow pulse, giddiness, nausea and vomiting, which Dr. Trotter himself witnessed. In with extreme anxiety about the most trivial one of them the patient died.*

circumstances, combined with frightful Dr. Trotter also tells us of a woman, who dreams, are among the most prominent of was much given to spirituous liquors, and those painful and distressing symptoms, when intoxicated, was often seized with a which stamp the character of this disorder, convulsive motion in the muscles of the and indicate its awful approach. The mind lower part of the face, which sometimes becomes indescribably harassed with phantainduced a dislocation of the lower jaw. sies of the most hideous and unnatural Violent emotions of passion usually brought description. Objects most calculated to on these convulsions. The common people produce loathsome and horrifying feelings, attributed the luxation to a punishment keep the unfortunate sufferer in a state of from heaven for her profane swearing, as inexpressible disquietude and anxiety. At inability to speak was of course the conse- one period, for example, they imagine disquence of the accident.f

gusting vermin to be creeping about the IV. Delirium tremens, or brain fever of body; at other times, dangers of an appalldrunkards.- Delirium tremens, or delirium ing description, are looked upon as holding with tremor, forms one of the most appalling out prospects of momentary destructionof the catalogue of diseases brought on by while the most alarming suspicions are enintemperance. Paraphronia, a synonyme tertained, even of those, who, under different of delirium, is derived from mapa errone- circumstances, were esteemed as valued reously, and Opovèw I understand; an erroneous lations and friends. state of the mind. This disease is more or less Dr. Pearson, an able writer on this subject, fatal in its consequences, in proportion to relates a case of delirium tremens, where the the previous habits and constitution of its patient for a considerable time previous to victims. Those persons are the least likely his death, imagined that he saw the devil at to recover, whose systems have, for a con- the ceiling above his bed, and as the disease siderable period, laboured under incessant drew near its rapid termination, he fancied excitement from the free use of spirituous the evil spirit approached him with knife liquors. To produce this condition of the to cut his throat, and he actually expired system, it is not necessary that an extreme making violent efforts to avoid the terrible degree of intoxication be superinduced. It instrument. is not unusual for individuals to be capable Under judicious medical treatment, this of attending to the concerns of life with disease is, in general, controlled. But when some degree of propriety, and yet be in such it is neglected, or improperly treated, a state, that at some favourable opportunity, it is almost certain to have a fatal termination. this terrible disease shall suddenly_display The patient, in this event, is not unfreitself in all its terrific characters. By some quently carried off in convulsiors. Deliri. medical writer, delirium tremens has been um tremens, however, may terminate, either considered as “forming a sort of connect. in decided madness, or confirmed idiotism; ing link between mania and fever.”'Arm- to either of which, perhaps, death would be strong remarks, that " in persons whose a preferable alternative. constitutions have been broken down by the A modified species of this disease is exlong use of of ardent spirits, the simple ceedingly common among those who are typhus is now and then accompanied with habitually addicted to intemperate habits. fits of wild and almost maniacal delirium."|| It is attended with considerable nervous de

Dr. Burrows speaks of delirium tremens as rangement, and spectral illusions, of a

a sympathetic affection of the organ of in- peculiarly unpleasing character. The same telligence, arising from a morbid action of symptoms, although in a diminished degree, the stomach, and probably of the liver also, are often witnessed after even moderate sion,' and tremulous appearances which and one of the medical officers to Somerset follow, clearly demonstrate.

vinous indulgence, as the nervous depres* Essay on Drunkenness, p. 114. + Ibid. p. 118. 1 Armstrong on Fever, p. 310.

* Burrows on Insanity, London, 1828, p. 325. i Ibid. p. 31.

t Ibid p. 91.

Hospital, Cape Town. During the first two Delirium tremens, bas, of late years, years after the establishment of that become a disease of common occurrence. hospital (1819 and 1820,) there were ad. Dr. S. Jackson, of America, states, that he mitted 620 patients. Out of that number, has treated upwards of 200 cases. Dr. only four were cases of delirium tremens ; Carter, one of the resident physicians of the from the 26th of May, 1827, to the 30th Philadelphia alms house Infirmary, in a March, 1830, a period of two years and ten paper published in the American Journal months, during the administration of Dr. of Medical Sciences, informs us that in that Bailey's predecessor, Mr. Laing, there were establishment there were, from November thirty-three cases of that disease. During 21st, 1828, to February 1st 1829, seventy the year and nine months, which preceded cases of mania a potu, and from June 19th January, 1832, there had been admitted to September 10th 1829, seventy five cases ; 1050 patients, of which there were (arising making no less than 145 cases in six chiefly from drunkenness) of delirium months.

tremens, 55 ; diseased livers, 400; ulcers, Dr. Ware has seen more than one hundred 200; pulmonary consumptions, 60; maniacs, cases of this disease, and Dr. Wright asserts 21 ; making a total of 763 cases. During that he has received in the Institution the period stated, there were 83 deaths ; at Baltimore, from sixty to seventy eight out of ten, by post mortem examina. cases annually. Dr. Copland, however, tion, showed that their deaths were occathinks many of these cases have not been sioned by intemperance.* the true delirium tremens, but those delirious

The statistical reports of our troops in the affections which immediately follow after East and West Indies, and in British America, intoxication. The amazing consumption, present woful evidence of the effects of inof spirituous liquors in America owing to temperance on the Brain and nervous their cheapness, is, it may readily be supposed, a sufficient reason for the appall- selection of the returns from two districts.

system. The following table embraces a ing prevalence of this disease in that country. A striking additional example is found in a statement made by Dr. Bailey, the founder,

* South African Commercial Advertiser 1832. DISEASES OF THE BRAIN AMONG THE TROOPS AT

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The admissions and deaths in this class of of these were cases of delirium tremens, the diseases in the Windward and Leeward Is- direct consequence of intemperance. Delands are about four times as high as among ducting these, the admissions and deaths the same number of troops in Great Britain. were only about double those which occur in Considerably more than one half, however, Britain from the same cause; and, as the writer of the Report says, “ Many even of by intemperance. Died by diseases, most these no doubt originated in drunkenness, of which were either produced or aggravated though not so reported." He also remarks, by habits of intemperance, 56. Total deaths " this shows that the influence of a high from 1825 to 1832, inclusive, 100. These temperature in increasing the prevalence of statistics might be enlarged to a considerable mortality of this class of diseases is by no extent. means very great."* In reference to British V. Madness and Idiocy are, in the present Guiana, the author of the Report remarks, day, in particular, common, but deplorable “ the ratio of deaths by diseases of the brain consequences of intemperance. A fit of is unusually high ; more than one-half of intoxication is, in reality, a state of tempo. them, however, have been from delirium rary madness, followed, as it usually is, by tremens, the consequence of drunkenness, striking imbecility. The diseases in question for which, unfortunately, this colony affords are the result of a similar and permanent many facilities.”+

action on the brain and nervous system. Delirium tremens is most destructive in Seneca, wisely observes, Ebrietas est voluntropical regions. Not more than half as taria insania,—drunkenness is a voluntary many died from this disease at Gibraltar, in insanity. Dr. Conolly observes, that the the course of nineteen years, as in the temporary delirium which forms the delight Mauritius, during one year alone, out of of the drunkard, is, too often, but the fore. half the strength. It must, however, be runner of the long-continued, or permanent remarked that in tropical climates intem- aberration of the maniac, or the drivelling perance is more common, and carried to a imbecility of the demented, or the idiot.* greater extent.

Dr. Pritchard remarks, that in public With regard to the Bermudas, in which lunatic asylums in England, it is generally station fully one half of the cases, and near- known that, in a great proportion of the ly the same proportion of deaths, arise from cases, dram-drinking is the exciting cause.t delirium tremens, if these, the result of the Mr. Poynder, who was for thirty years soldiers' own imprudence, were deducted, clerk both to the Bethlehem and Bridewell " the others would be found comparatively Hospitals, states, with respect to the former, rare, notwithstanding the high temperature from a weekly attendance upon the Subto which these islands are subjected for Committee during that period, “about half, several months of the year. I

at least half, those who come into the ComIn the whole of the West India stations, mittee-room, and concerning whom it has the cases of delirium tremens are almost al- been inquired by the governors present, or together confined to European soldiers. The by the physician, what they supposed to be cases among the Black troops are compara- the causes of insanity, it has been stated to tively rare. The same fact is found to exist be from the cause of drinking; the larger in regard to our troops at Malta, as compared proportion I should certainly say, to be from with the more temperate natives of that that cause." I island. The diseases of the brain among Dr. Ellis, resident physician at the County our troops at Malta, admitted into the hos- Lunatic Asylum, Middlesex, remarks, that pital from the year 1817 to 1836 (the aggre- the use of fermented liquors, and particularly gate number of troops being 40,826) were of spirits, is very conducive indeed to the 236, of which 38 were cases of delirium bringing on insanity; it first of all acts on tremens. In the returns of the civil popu- the stomach, then on the nervous system ; lation of Malta, from 1822 to 1834, it brings on diseased action, disorganization (exclusive of Goza, &c.) the aggregate pop- of the brain is the consequence, and all ulation for 13 years being 1,303,517, not a the dreadful results of insanity follow.ll single case of madness or delirium tremens In a Report presented to Parliament, a is recorded. || What a contrast does the few years ago, and printed by order of the following record of the causes of death (in a house, it appears that the pauper lunatics Nominal Roll, transmitted to the Medical and idiots in the several counties of England Department) present of those who died be- and Wales, amounted to very nearly 10,060 tween 1825 and 1832, in the Veteran Com- in number. 5,145 of these were females. panies, Canada. These companies were chiefly By adding to this number the amount of composed of men advanced in life, but of lunatics ascertained to be confined in public drunken habits. Died, by suffocation from and private asylums, and those in the army drinking, 10. Delirium tremens, 15. Apo- and navy; a total is produced of 13,665, a plexy, principally from intoxication, 15. mass, which according to Sir Andrew HalliFound dead, supposed from the same cause, day, is three times greater than it was twenty 2. Drowned, ditto, 2. Contusion, ditto, 1. years ago. Making a total of 44 deaths directly produced Out of 495 patients admitted into a luna* Statistical Rep. on the Sickness and Mortality to have come to that state through intemperance.* Dr. Ellis states, that out of 28 This table shows that among the poor who recent cases admitted in 1834, into the form the inmates of this Institution, females Hanwell Asylum, Middlesex, 19 were known are most subject to insanity from moral, and to be drunkards.+ In the same asylum, the males from physical causes. “One of the most number of patients increased in one year melancholy features of the Commissioners from 825 to between 1100 and 1200, princi- Reports,” remarks a valuable authority, cipally in consequence of the increase of “both as respects the county and metrogin drinking. The Report of this hospital politan asylums, is the increase of insanity for 1834, states as follows: “The 76 deaths from intemperance."* This fact accords which have occurred in the year, have been, with the late decided increase of spirit drink(with the exception of those who died with ing among the operative classes. advanced age) principally caused by the The following table, recently published, disease of the brain and of the lungs, and presents a selection of the chief causes of the complaints brought on by those deadly insanity in patients admitted into the West potions of ardent spirits, in which the lower Riding Lunatie Asylum, Yorkshire, during classes seem, more than ever, to indulge. the last 20 years. Intemperance, 342; DoIn a very great number of men and women, mestic Affliction, 123 ; Anxiety of Mind, the insanity is caused entirely by spirit 24; Disappointed Love, 62; Fever, 34; drinking." The last report of this asylum Injury of the Head, 36; Jealousy, 34; Mis(as presented in the late documents of the fortune in Business, 19; Poverty and Distress Metropolitan Commissioners in lunacy) gives 75 ; Pecuniary Disappointment, 52; Purthe following as the chief exciting causes of purea, 34 ; Religious Anxiety, 108 ; Study, this disorder :

tic asylum, in Liverpool, 257 were ascertained among Troops in the West Indies. p. 9. 1838,

Ibid. p. 16. | Statistical Report on the Mortality of Troops, * Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal. 1842. in the United Kingdom, Mediterranean, and British + Pritchard on Insanity. p. 205. America, p. 9.

I Parl. Evid. p. 64. li Ibid. Appendix, Abstract, No. 3.

|| Ibid. p. 46.

24 ; Unkindness of Husbands, 26.7 Males. Intemperance, 60 : Epilepsy, 24 ; The following interesting and valuable doParalysis, 14 ; Poverty, 22; Domestic Un-cument, drawn up by Dr. C.C. Corsellis, of the happiness, 8; Grief, 4 ; Disappointed Affec- Lunatic Asylum, Wakefield, February 29th, tions, 4 ; Females. Intemperance, 9; Epi- 1840, exbibits the number of cases, male lepsy, 19; Paralysis, 9; Poverty, 22 ; and female, admitted into a variety of hosDomestic Unhappiness, 19; Disappointed pitals, from drunkenness :Affections, 11.

Number of Patients admitted into the following Asylums, with the per-centage of

admissions caused by intemperance.

[blocks in formation]

* 117 admitted-of these 31 were insane from intemperance : making 26.49 per cent.

from this cause.

The proportion of insane in Scotland, was, exceeded one in 1200. An accurate and some years ago, nearly three-fold to what it valuable work, published at that period, was in England. From a return made by states, that “the excessive and increasing the Scotch clergy, in 1818, it appears that use of spirituous liquors amongst the lower the number of lunatics and idiots in that ranks of the people, is justly to be considered country was 4650, which, allowing for omis- as the great cause of this, as well as other sions, as some parishes made no returns, the diseases to which they are liable." proportion at that time would be about two- In Ireland, also, spirit-drinking has been and-a-half to every 1000 of the population. In England, the higbest estimate never

* Facts and Figures. No. 4. p. 61. 1842. * Parl. Evid. p. 144.

+ Yorkshire Gazette, 1841. + Ibid. p. 46.

Statistical Survey of Scotland, vol. v. p. 139.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »