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La mujer y el alcoholismo en México en el Siglo XIX

Author(s): Ramos de Viesca, María Blanca

Journal: Salud Mental
ISSN 0185-3325

Volume: 24;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 24;
Date: 2001;
Original page

Keywords: Alcoholism | women | history | clinical manifestations.

The social condition and habits of the Mexican women in the XIX Century reduced certain illnesses, in which the morality and the intimacy were envolved, to only be studied in their advanced stages. This is the case of syphilis and alcoholism. At that time, an exemplary behavior and way of life of women were expected, thus rejecting all excesse. Women reflected the education provided for them at home or at such schools as The Vizcain College. It was believed that women were fragile and sensible, therefore prone to noble feelings and emotions. It was believed that certain illnesses were produced by the poor functioning of the uterus, by their sexual desires and by their nature. Hysteria and chlorosis were considered as women’s illnesses. When at the beginning of the XIX Century, Esquirol described the delirium caused by drunkedness, a new entity, called alcoholism, was born. National and international statistics were elaborated on alcoholism. The high risk occupations most related to alcoholism were: miners, people working in wine shops and coachmen. Workers were induced to drink since morning. Women also worked in these areas. Alcoholism was supposed to be more common in middle class women, who were usually angry and suffered due to marital quarrels. They were supposed to get more easily drunk. During their hyperstesic period, chronic alcoholism is described, including alcoholic hysteria, alcoholic epilepsy, delirium tremens, lipemania and dipsomania. In this stage they usually lost their mental and affective faculties. In alcoholic epilepsy, convulsions were of a more exquisite nature than in men. Alcoholic epilepsy demonstrated the relation between the nerves of the uterus and those of the cerebellum. Women with delirium tremens, with a dominant passion, such as jelousy, expressed it in each delirious access. Dipsomany was observed in menopausic women. Due to the social repression they had to hide their drinking. When alcoholism turned into a psychiatric problem, it was reduced

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