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Dipsomania

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Cummerbund for Geography
70282.  Wed May 17, 2006 8:48 am Reply with quote

I wish my limited, two A-levelled brain could work out exactly what the difference between this and alcoholism actually is...

 
Amie
70284.  Wed May 17, 2006 8:53 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Alcoholism
A disorder characterized by the excessive consumption of and dependence on alcoholic beverages, leading to physical and psychological harm and impaired social and vocational functioning. Also called alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence.

Dipsomania
An insatiable craving for alcoholic beverages.


I think they're different because an alcoholic depends on the alcohol, but with dipsomania you drink lots and lots but you still want more.

 
Gaazy
70399.  Thu May 18, 2006 7:36 am Reply with quote

Not to be confused with polydipsia, which is excessive drinking of fluid due to thirst caused by diabetes or a psychological disturbance.

There was an entry for the worst case of this in a Guinness Book of Records some years ago; by 1990 (the year of publication of the only copy I can lay my hands on) the entry seems to have disappeared, but there is a listing for the hardest drinker, which was a 24-year-old woman with an alcohol level of 1510 mg per 100ml, which is triple the normal lethal level. She presented herself at hospital in this state, but discharged herself after two days.

 
96aelw
70412.  Thu May 18, 2006 8:30 am Reply with quote

Cummerbund for Geography wrote:
I wish my limited, two A-levelled brain could work out exactly what the difference between this and alcoholism actually is...


My nearest OED claims that there isn't one, really (other than the spelling, of course). It defines dipsomania as alcoholism, although it goes on to say that it is "specifically in a form characterized by intermittent bouts of craving for alcohol."

 
QI Individual
70498.  Thu May 18, 2006 1:36 pm Reply with quote

I think you could say that once a dipsomaniac gives in to his compulsion he then becomes addicted to alcohol and thus becomes an alcoholic too.

If at any time he is able to overcome the addiction then as long as the craving will remain he will no longer be an alcoholic but he will still be a dipsomaniac. If he can lose the craving too he will be neither.

 

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