I am Dr. Santosh Bangar, Psychiatrist. Today I will discuss alcohol consumption and what it has got on mental and physical health. It is consuming widely. It is a social lubricant. India is the highest consumer of alcohol mainly whiskey in the whole world. There is a certain stage which consumes more alcohol. What are the effects of alcohol? There are a lot of different reasons the common ones are just to fill a part of the crowd or be more socially acceptable. Some people drink it as a stress buster. Some people drink to get rid of sleep problems or to get rid of the problems or depression. Alcohol is also consumed to get rid of the anxiety, shyness, phobias. So, the reason could be anything. Gradually, as one drinks alcohol the effect and dose required to get the same effect increases with time so person develops the tolerance to the effect of the alcohol. With time, the days and times the drink also get increased and the impact on personal and social life. So, alcohol can be consumed as the slow poison to the whole body.
Let's look at what are the main effects of alcohol on physical health. It can affect the liver so the liver goes through stages, fatty liver, alcoholic liver and liver cirrhosis which basically means scarring of the liver. A lot of people end up having liver cirrhosis and they need a liver transplant because of a damaged liver. Other organs in the body are affected as kidney, heart, responsible for various cancers. How does alcohol affect the brain? Alcohol changes the brain structure causes shrinkage of the brain, atrophy of the brain, alcohol causes memory problem what we call as blackouts. Alcohol dementia could be because of head injury. Alcohol is the main reason for road accident when it comes to driving and the government has rightly put the stringent rules who drink and drive. That is one of the effects on the brain. Gradually, the person who starts drinking, eventually they may become depressed. So, it is a 2-way relationship. Alcohol also affects the sleep of the person and it ruins the whole sleep cycle. Once the person wants to give up on alcohol, they have difficulty falling asleep or suffers from insomnia. What can be done? First, the person has to understand that they are having the problem in other words they should have understanding or insights into the problem of the disorder. If the person is not motivated then it is very difficult to help such a person as with any other disease.
But there are certain things that I could advice you today that how to minimize or to control the drinking. So, simple measures can help a person who seriously wants to give up on alcohol. Keep a track of what is consumed or how many units you had. Once you start drinking, do not drink on an empty stomach. Because if you drink on an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed very rapidly and it can lead you to alcohol intoxication within no time. So, it is advisable to eat before you drink. Also, drink plenty of water so that will dilute the amount of alcohol you are consuming. The sensible option is to dilute your drink as well or to have a lesser amount of alcohol than the usual you drink it over a prolonged period of time. Sipping your drink slowly because that will last longer. If a person wants to quit alcohol then the person should have realistic goals and you should be very serious in sticking on those goals.
That would include lifestyle measures as well. You need to have a healthy lifestyle include sleeping on time, getting up at a particular time, going to the office and coming back on time. Eating meals and staying stress-free or doing some stress bursting materials like meditation, music, dance, swimming or any sports activity. If one is serious in giving up their alcoholic habits, there are medical treatments also. Some people resort to going for rehabilitation. Those are very few and far. Also, it comes with a cost. So, we do have a lot of facilities at our hospital if you keen on giving up on the drinking. You can come and talk to me if you wish to come up on alcohol or any other habits like smoking I will be happy to help.