Alcohol abuse


As a famous saying goes by

“The answers to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a beer bottle.”

The answers are in fact within one’s own self. And yet, yet a man gives in himself to alcohol which looks like ‘a helping hand’ at first but in reality is the most toxic tool of self-destruction.

India is a country which was known to have discouraged drugs like alcohol. India’s culture had always been of one such kind. But things have changed ever since. In a recent global study, it was found out that alcohol consumption in India has risen by 55% over a period of 20 years. Today, there are serious problems arising in the country physically, emotionally and in all the other ways one can think of, due to ‘Alcohol Abuse’. Alcohol abuse is slowly becoming threat to the lives of thousands and lakhs of people in the country and to the overall nurturing and well-being of the country.

‘Alcohol Abuse’ in very simple terms can be put as ‘excessively harmful use of alcohol’. Alcohol abuse is a condition in which the victim continues its regular and harmful use of alcohol despite its negative consequences. It’s an illness, a disease whose cause can be attributed to many different things and which can result in serious and negative results. Alcohol abuse in other words is also known as ‘Alcohol use disorder’ or ‘alcoholism’ or ‘alcohol dependence’.

Although alcohol abuse is ascertainable to various causes, there is not any cause in particular. Alcohol dependency develops when you drink so much regularly and in excess over a period of time that chemical changes in brain occur. Due to these changes, you get pleasurable feelings while consuming alcohol which encourage you to consume more alcohol even if it causes you harm. Some people might have started taking alcohol just for the sake of trying but then became a regular user, some started drinking due to peer pressure and to fit into society while some due to any underlying mental health condition such as stress or anxiety or depression. Sometimes genetics might play a role too as alcoholism also runs in families.

Alcohol abuse has various symptoms. A person who is a victim of alcohol abuse faces problems everywhere and in almost every relationship. A person faces problems in work and at his home. The person is almost never sober, engages into fights with family members and finds excuses to drink and to hide his drinking problem. The person has serious health problems like anxiety, depression, weakness, lack of will to work and talk, insomnia and other health problems caused by taking excessive alcohol. You drink and drive which increases the risk of accidents; you have legal problems such as being arrested for harming someone or drunk driving, you keep drinking even though you have health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use, your friends and family are worried about your drinking and various other symptoms like these. The list is never ending.

The risk factors of alcohol arise when you consume more than 12 to 15 drinks per week, when you have a parent with drinking problem, mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. There are various treatments for alcoholism such as detoxification or withdrawal to rid your body of alcohol, rehabilitation to learn new coping skills and behaviors, counseling to address emotional problems that may cause drinking, support groups, including 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), medical treatment for health problems associated with alcoholism and medications to help control addiction.

Alcohol is a subject in the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the laws governing alcohol vary from state to state. Liquor in India can be found almost anywhere and everywhere from liquor stores to restraunts to hotels, bars and clubs. The easy availability of alcohol is another reason for increased alcohol abuse in the country from the past few years. Alcohol has become more of a social luxury, a symbol of high class and hence, along with the lower classes the higher and educated classes also enjoy and feel a sense of pride in the consumption of alcohol. The legal drinking age varies from state to state. Where in some states it is 18 or 21, in others it is 25. It is banned in states like Nagaland, Gujarat, in Lakshadweep Islands and most recently in Bihar. Despite restrictions and various alcohol laws in the country, the percentage of people who consume alcohol in the country had been on the rise.

Alcohol is slow poison and it does nothing but ruin lives. It feels good at first and you start to get in a grip of it, you feel good as you start to fit in with the high class as you drink regularly in clubs, late night parties and in social gatherings and it doesn’t seem to be a very big deal or wrong at all. Everyone’s life has problems, small or big, doesn’t matter but when you’re a regular drinker and you face some tensions or stress in your life, this alcohol consumption tends to increase and slowly the victim loses control over it. That’s when it becomes a real problem. Alcohol abuse can turn your most loved person into someone you can start hating, it can turn even the most perfect of relationships sour and it gives rise to all the negative emotions one can think of like pain, anger, helplessness, fear, anxiety and it tests once patience and cool.

Alcohol abuse is not just a physical disease, it is a disease which brings out all the mental tensions a person can have. It does affect the victim in most of the ways but when it comes to mental tension then more than the person itself, the sufferer are the victim’s family and friends, people who are really close to the alcoholic. They are the ones on whom the mental tensions are inflicted upon the most, the ones who are looked down upon by many in the society.

‘A world which is free from alcohol would be much better than a world with alcohol’.

Author: Shivani Misra, IIIrd year student pursuing a degree in BBA. LLB. (H.) from Amity University, Lucknow is passionate about Music and Travelling and is a revolutionary against ‘Alcohol’ and ‘Women Empowerment.’ She follows the footsteps of Mr. Steve Jobs, founder of the Apple Inc. and really believes that ‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’

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