All 1312 first-admitted alcoholics at the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, Lund (120 women) during 1949-1969 were followed until December 31, 1980. There were 537 deaths. All patients had been rated at discharge with a multidimensional rating scale including signs of cerebral dysfunction. Thirty-three per cent of the total patient group had signs of cerebral dysfunction, increasing with age up to 64% in those over 50 years. Men younger than 50 years with brain dysfunction had a higher mortality caused by alcohol-related physical disorders in relationship to violent deaths compared with the others. The main finding in those over the age of 50 was the increased number of deaths caused by circulatory disorder in the brain dysfunction group. The social prognosis was similar in all groups. It is suggested that a continuous and heavy drinking pattern in the young dysfunctional group and an accelerated aging in the old dysfunctional group could explain the differences found.