In a Youth Inc exclusive, we take a look at the various addictions that plague people. This month’s focus is on alcohol addiction. Heer Paresh Kothari unveils heinous facts about alcohol abuse
HOW IT ALL STARTED
A gleaming Aryan(name changed), now in his late twenties. He goes back in time unveiling a dark phase of his life – “I was only fourteen when I sneaked out of my house with my friends with a bottle of alcohol. On learning of the incident, my parents put me under a rigorous scanner. After their constant guidnace, I excelled academically and at sports. I also aced my all college years.” “All was well, until one-day tables turned! I was barely 21 years and my father suffered and stroke and passed away. Being the eldest, I was the heir apparent to a fairly large business that my father had single headedly developed. I had not an iota of how the business was run. Gripped by confusion I made decisions that caused colossal losses. A friend then exposed me to the vice of drinking alcohol that gradually replaced my morning cup of coffee.”
That was when a concerned friend introduced Aryan to a counsellor. After a complete detox, Aryan was made to sit through the sessions at Alcoholics Anonymous (famously known as A.A.). Today, owing to the unending support rendered by family and friends Aryan was able to kick the vice. He also realised that taking to alcohol only urged him to shove problems under the carpet, and not face them.
A COUNSELLOR’S VIEW
Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease if not controlled. The disease is hard to regulate as alcoholics are usually in a state of denial. Binge drinking fosters alcoholism at a rapid fuelled pace. Excessive alcohol also causes both physiological and psychological damage. “There is no specific or scientific explanation for taking to alcohol. Scientists have blamed the changing environment, and have also attributed some of the reasons to the augmenting psychological predicaments. We have also observed that today are less tolerant. Some even take to incessent drinking, owing to peer pressure, or in an attempt to be part of a certain ‘group’, and follow the bandwagon,” adds Dr Kavan Lakdawala, a practicing psychologist in Mumbai.
45-year-old Sanjana Walia, (name changed) suffered a stroke at the age of 43. Early signs of excessive drinking showed up in the form of a psychological disorder of dementia. Confidence got the better of her, as when she decided to give up completely she experienced the unwanted withdrawal symptoms. Sanjana was victimised both physically and psychologically by the vice. Two decades ago we’d see men falling into the malicious trap of the deadly poison, alcohol. But today, as women take charge at the workplace, they are introduced to higher levels of stress. The clink of glasses and the joy of downing glistening bouts of toxins seem like the perfect way of calling it a day. A single glass is then followed by many more when the stress levels heighten.
Women are more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse as compared to men. The reasons are attributed to the lack of fat and lack of water content in the body as compared to men. In some cases, the hormones take a back seat and they find it difficult to conceive. One mustn’t overlook the numerous sexually transmitted diseases one can acquire. “Today every third woman suffers from Polycystic Ovary Disorder, this too can be attributed to heavy alcohol consumption,” adds celebrated gynaecologist Dr Shah.Counsellors observe abnormal behavioural pattern in a child if an expecting mother consumes alcohol during pregnancy. Breast cancer, heart ailments, and liver cirrhosis are other lifestyle diseases that can string onto the list on excessive intake of alcohol.
In an interaction with traffic police officer, Ramesh Gaikwad, we learn that in spite of the rigorous rules imposed by the government there are still numerous drinking and driving cases. “It is surprising to learn how young women have taken to drinking in the recent years,” adds the officer. He also states that the fines levied have made citizens more responsible drinkers and more aware (at least they refrain from drinking and driving). But, we have not been able to successfully curb the drinking culture as the young are going all out imitating the ways of the west.
WHAT IS A.A. ?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an independent body that has helped over three million people overcome alcoholism from around the world. The body is an informal society that is not attached to any political organisation or denomination. Victims suffering from alcoholism gather to discuss their common problem and to overcome alcoholism, by sharing their strengths and experiences.
SMART Recovery is also another self-empowering addiction recovery support group.
As we wind up, we learn that depression is the crux of this problem. If you as an individual even remotely feel that your drinking has gone up, it is better to speak to a friend or address your problem to a counsellor, instead of getting stuck in a unhealthy rut, that could just inch you closer to serious health issues or even death. After all, life is not about running away from problems, but it’s all about facing and fighting them!
ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC
People who consume at least four to five large drinks at one time.
When a person who consumes alcohol is unable to register what happens to him/her while in state of intoxication.
When giving up alcohol all of a sudden patients tend to feel extremely hot or cold, restless or even depressed.
A person who consumes as much as 60g or more of the prescribed alcohol limits.
Volume 4 Issue 7