A 65 year old, widowed man, with a previous diagnosis of schizophrenia; presents to the Emergency Department at 2100. He is a bit disheveled in appearance and his breath smells of alcohol. He is accompanied by his landlady. The landlady tells you that she found him earlier this evening trying to enter his apartment door. He was sweaty, his eyes where dilated, and his hands were trembling so badly that he could not get the key in the door. He kept calling her by his deceased wife’s name and saying he was trying to get into his office to do some work.
According to the landlady, Mike retired years ago, has lived in her apartments for several years since his wife passed away, and knows her real name.
His blood/alcohol level is 250mg/m upon arrival to the emergency department and his speech is not slurred. He can correctly identify himself but, also appears confused. He is unable to tell you the month or season. His nose and cheeks are red with tiny spider veins and his stomach distended and when he extends his hands out in front of him they are very tremulous.
His demeanor is polite and apologetic to you and the staff. He asks you several times to call his wife because he believes she is worried about him. He tells you she was at home earlier, but he left to have a few drinks and never returned home.
Mike tells you he has never had a problem with alcohol but scored high on the CAGE assessment test. He then admits to an “occasional drink every now and then.” He states he did have a few drinks earlier today but can’t say exactly when or how many. However, he is willing to stay at the hospital for a brief stay and tells you, “ I will stay here, but only if you think I have to. Do you think I have to? Can you call my wife and let her know I am okay?”