The study provides a social and psychiatric description of development, drinking pattern and concomitant psychiatric disturbances of 100 female alcoholics, admitted to the Department of Alcohol Disease, Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm between 1963 and 1969. Comparisons are made between this group of women and 100 men of the same age, who were admitted during the same period. The criteria for selection were: 1) at least 7 days of in-patient treatment; 2) early cases. The subjects were between 20 and 65 years of age with a mean age of 40. It is shown that the women started drinking alcohol at higher ages than the men. The episodic use of alcohol passed into regular use, which progressed into misuse at significantly higher ages. The duration of the development from the onset to an alcoholic drinking pattern was significantly shorter and so was the duration of abuse at the time of admission. Notably more women than men showed a lonely drinking pattern and cited a specific external cause problem drinking. The women reported more nervous symptoms both in the growing ages and at admission, had received more psychiatric treatment both during childhood and in later life, and showed symptoms of other psychiatric disturbances in combination with alcoholism to a significantly higher degree than the men. Family history of alcoholism showed no differences between men and women, but the incidence of psychiatric illness was considerably higher for the first-degree relatives of the females.