The consumption of alcohol has been often glorified in popular media and literature. Besides, taking alcohol on social occasions is a sign of celebration, camaraderie, and merriment. But there is another side to the story—the burden of alcohol consumption. A study conducted in 189 countries and published in The Lancet found that alcohol consumption in India between 1990-2016 had grown by 38% i.e. from 4.3 liters a year per adult to 5.9 liters. This has a huge cost in terms of human life and health care expenditure.
As per the National statistics quoted in a report, “an average of nearly 12,000 people die every year and an average of nine lakh people get arrested in driving while intoxicated (DWI) incidents. The offenders largely belong to the age group of 30 to 40 years.” Similarly, the statistics are given on the World Health Organisations (WHO) data repository paint a grim picture too. The alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF) of all causes of deaths in India was found to be 5.4%. Around 62.9% of all the deaths due to liver cirrhosis were attributable to alcohol use. Besides being a major public health issue, alcoholism has also been one of the main reasons for domestic violence and financial upheavals.
Given the grave issues arising out of alcoholism, it is imperative to identify its signs and symptoms as early as possible and seek treatment. Today, many reputable rehabilitation centers following global standards offer alcohol treatment in India. It is time to take concrete steps if your loved one or you consume alcohol frequently and notice one or more physical or psychological changes discussed below.
First, let us understand how much alcohol is too much alcohol. As per the figures shared on Mayoclinic.org, moderate alcohol consumption for healthy adults generally means up to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. What is considered one drink is defined on the basis of the type of liquor and the percentage of alcohol in it.
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
- Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
So, what exactly is considered alcohol abuse disorder?
Harmful levels of alcohol consumption mean any alcohol use that puts your safety, sanity, or health at risk or negatively affects the people around you in any way. Binge drinking is one of the forms of AUD. When a female consumes at least four drinks or a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours, it results in significant health and safety risks. However, AUD is not limited to binge drinking or frequent drinking. It ranges from mild to severe stages and even a mild disorder can worsen and lead to serious problems. Therefore, if there is a significant pattern of drinking, which results in distress and disturbances in your daily life, then it is likely to be alcohol use disorder.
Here are some more prominent signs and symptoms of alcoholism.
- Inability to limit the quantity of alcohol you drink
- No success in wanting to cut down on how much you drink
- Wasting a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol, or recovering from after-effects of drinking alcohol
- Repeated absence from school or home due to repeated alcoholism
- Priortising alcohol despite being aware of physical, social, or interpersonal problems being caused by it.
- Wanting to stay alone or hanging out primarily with those who drink alcohol regularly
- Giving up on hobbies or any other activities that a person used to enjoy earlier
- Taking alcohol in situations where it’s unsafe, such as while swimming or driving
- Increased tolerance to alcohol, which means that now the same amount of alcohol that one used to consume earlier does not give the desired effect. As a result, a person needs to drink more and more alcohol until they begin to get high.
- so you need more to feel its effect or you have a reduced effect from the same amount
- Uncontrollable urges to drink alcohol and onset of withdrawal symptoms — such as vomiting, sweating, and shaking when unable to find or trying to avoid drinking.
- Alcohol intoxication leading to psychological and behavioral changes such as lack of judgment, inappropriate behavior, unstable moods, lack of focus, slurred speech, impaired memory, and poor bodily coordination.
- Experiencing “blackouts,” where a person does not remember immediate events.
Consulting a doctor is the best thing to do when you notice the symptoms mentioned above. But what’s ideal does not usually happen on time, especially when a person is trying to deal with and find the solution to alcohol abuse disorder all by himself or herself. Therefore, in addition to taking note of the physical and psychological indicators, ask yourself (or the affected individual if you are trying to help someone else) the following questions.
- Do I (you) feel guilty about drinking?
- Has my (your) alcohol consumption increased over a few days or months?
- Do I (you) feel irritated, sleepy, aggressive?
- Have I (you) experienced any personal or professional setbacks because of alcoholism?
- Will I (you) be better if I (you) cut back on alcohol consumption?
If the answer to any of the questions given is ‘yes’, then do contact a reliable center for alcohol treatment in India and redefine your life for the better.
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