Alcoholic excess is associated with epilepsy in two different ways, as cause or as an effect of it. In the first instance, intemperance may appear as a hurtful habit of the individual favouring the development of the spasmodic neurosis, or again, as a constitutional tendency entailed by parent on offspring with similar dreadful consequences. In the second instance, the moral perversion ordinarily wrought by their disease on the character and conduct of several epileptics, drives them to vicious indulgence in drinking, which aggravates and changes the original character of their fits. The majority of writers have not distinguished in estimating the relationship of intemperance to epilepsy, or insanity, the number of cases immediately ascribable to vice from those in which the uncontrollable passion, or craving for drink, is, as it also happens with masturbation, merely the sign of the outbreak of an inherited predisposition to insanity, or epilepsy, or of the early stages in the evolution of either of these maladies as consequence of accidental causes. Nor has the influence which traumatic injuries to the head, syphilis, or other derangements possibly coincident with the abuse of alcoholics, by themselves exert, been taken into proper account in calculating the part of the latter in the spread, on a wide and increasing scale, of mental and nervous affections. Although this discrimination is by no means always practicable, we may yet arrive at it by diligent inquiry and with a material change in the results, as evinced by the cases we pass on to analyse.
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