Cases of alcoholism rise, again

After a significant drop during the lockdown, cases of alcoholism and related troubles have re-emerged in the district.

The pattern is in keeping with the prediction by experts who said people who would be forced to give up drinking owing to non-availability of liquor during the lockdown would dive headlong into it once bar and liquor outlets opened.

The initial wave of withdrawal symptoms that triggered an avalanche of calls to the helpline numbers run by the Excise Department by addicts and even their families had subsided gradually during the lockdown.

They either made peace with the non-availability of liquor or their needs were met by illicit brewing.

“Increased number of cases of alcohol dependence and related psychiatric issues like aggression are being reported. From near zero calls, we received 10-15 calls in the last week alone,” said Faris Basheer, medical superintendent at the de-addiction centre at Muvattupuzha run under the Vimukthi programme of the Excise Department. Cases of binge drinking are also being reported.

“The only silver lining is the significant drop in cases of illicit brewing,” said A.S. Ranjith, Deputy Excise Commissioner, Ernakulam.

Psychiatrist C.J. John said the soaring number of trauma cases and incidents of alcohol-induced violence immediately after the reopening of bars and liquor outlets was indicative of the re-emergence of alcohol dependence.

“When a habitual drinker suddenly restores his drinking pattern to previous levels after a prolonged period of enforced abstinence, his brain, which was getting back to normal, acts up, leading to behavioural disorders, including violence,” said Mr. John.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 5:16:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cases-of-alcoholism-rise-again/article31984945.ece

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