From the September 1944 magazine.

Scientist Discusses 2 Points Raised By Wylie's Article

Point 1: The present scientific view of the connection between epilepsy and alcoholism may be stated briefly as follows:

  1. There is a much greater percentage of excessive drinkers among epileptics than among the general population.
  2. The use of alcohol even in moderate amounts aggravates epilepsy.
  3. There are persons who have latent epilepsy. They may have inherited a constitution which is liable to epilepsy. In such persons, epilepsy may be released only by some precipitating factor. Such a precipitating factor is excessive drinking.
  4. There are persons who acquire a nerve injury which predisposes them to convulsions which resemble epilepsy. In these persons, too, the excessive and sometimes even the moderate use of alcohol may activate this predisposition.
  5. Since active as well as latent epileptics, and persons with nerve injuries as mentioned above, are temperamentally liable to excessive drinking, it follows that convulsions may be observed in a fair number of excessive drinkers.
  6. Alcohol cannot cause epilepsy. But, as said before, it can either aggravate the condition or precipitate the latent condition which perhaps would not have been provoked by other means.

Point 2: Anthropologists have recognized for some years that neuroses and psychoses are not the same the world over. They vary according to cultural patterns. In many primitive societies the young man who is being initiated into men's society is expected to have visions at the time of the initiation ceremonies. In our culture, a vision at any time would be regarded as an indication that the person in question must be considered in line for the mental hospital.

-- E. M. Jellinek

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