Medicine: 18.4 Years to the Bottom

After 19 years of practicing at a hospital for alcoholics in Seattle, Dr. Paul O'Hollaren is acutely aware of each move leading to the bottom of the bottle. For the guidance of general practitioners, Dr. O'Hollaren in Medical Times charts a timetable of symptoms drawn from 147 male patients who began drinking at ages 18 to 19, and eventually wound up in his Shadel Hospital. Dr. O'Hollaren's statistics confirm his theory that it usually takes about 18 years to become a confirmed alcoholic. The journey's main stages:

First Symptoms. These show up as early as two years after social drinking begins, form...

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