Thought disorder in alcoholics.

M. Galanter, T. B. Karasu, R. Plutchik, H. R. Conte, L. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on cognitive impairment in chronic alcoholics has generally focused on pathology associated with organic brain damage. On the other hand, deficits more typical of the functional psychoses have been less explored, due to the absence of appropriate tests. By using the Thought Disorder Rating Scale (TDRS) recently developed at our Center, however, we have tested chronic alcoholics for the presence of classical symptoms of thought disorder. This test is based on the assessment of the patient's verbal behavior by an experienced clinician. Twenty subjects free of psychosis, severe withdrawal symptoms, and medical illness were, after detoxification, administered a test battery which included the TDRS, the Bender-Gestalt Test, and the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS). Five scored pathologically for thought disorder and of them four had abnormal Benders; whereas only two of 15 of those without thought disorder had abnormal Benders (t = 2.84, p < .01). Although SDS scores for both groups were in the depressed range, there was no significant difference between SDS means for the two groups. TDRS scores for these alcoholics are compared with those for other diagnosed groups, and implications for future investigation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in alcoholism
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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