The medical records of 216 elderly persons, admitted to the hospital for treatment of alcoholism, were reviewed. Concern of family and friends was the most common factor motivating patients for admission. Patients with late-onset alcoholism reported an association between a life event and problem drinking more frequently than did the early-onset alcoholics. The most common associated psychiatric disorders were tobacco dependence (67%), organic brain syndrome (25%), atypical or mixed organic brain syndrome (19%), and affective disorder (12%). Fourteen percent of patients also had a drug abuse or dependence problem, all using legally prescribed drugs. Psychiatric diagnoses and results of psychologic testing did not differ between early-onset and late-onset alcoholism groups. In a 60-patient cohort studied for correlation of outcome of treatment for alcoholism with major psychiatric diagnoses, no associations were found.
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