Lost in the tipsy world
Gokul : Age 15 , studying in the tenth standard in a government high school in Trichur . A few years ago , he was admitted to a de-addiction centre due to excess consumption of alcohol. His father was alcoholic and died due to heavy drinking. He used to drink on the terrace of his house and used to give young Gokul a small quantity of the drinks, for ‘company sake’.
Thus Gokul started drinking at the age of six. One day his father drank heavily and while trying to get up and walk, lost balance and fell down from the terrace and died instantly.
This incident shocked Gokul, putting him into deep grief. As an attempt to escape from the sad loss, he took to drinking heavily , until he lost his mental and physical balance.
Seeing his sad condition, he was taken to a near by de-addiction centre , Punarjani. After continued counselling and treatment for months, he regained his life and started going to school . He is also an active participant now in campaigning against alcoholism among youngsters .
Anand : Age 12 , was admitted to a de addiction centre in Chennai and taking medicine for the last three years..He started alcohol at the age of seven , his grandfather took him into drinking, pouring a ‘small’ for little Anand , whenever he drank. Sometimes he used to drink two or three times daily and slowly Anand also became a habitual drinker. Once Anand under the influence of liquor, raped his own sister. She committed suicide.
.Anand lost his mental and physical balance and was admitted to a de addiction centre. After years of treatment and counselling he is now slowly recovering. Now he has even started his studying.
These are not lone cases of youngsters taking to drinking and drugs, ruining their lives and of their dear ones back home. Thousands of youngsters die every year as a result of heavy drinking, vehicle accidents, suicides, and from injuries incurred on falling, burns and drowning. Crimes perpetrated by these people are also on the rise.
Here Future Medicine looks at an younger generation lost in the tipsy world and the problems they raise in a society
By Sumithra Sathyan
Widespread Health Problem
Underage drinking is a risk that attracts many adolescents and teens. When young people try alcohol, they often don’t realize about the damaging effects of drinking on their lives, their families, and their communities. Besides being illegal, underage drinking is a widespread public health problem that poses many risks. According to statistics, in 2009 alone, about 10.4 million young people between the age 12 and 20, drank more than “just a few sips” of alcohol.
As the kids get older, they drink more. By age 15, half of the teens had at least one drink. By age 18, more than 70% of them had at least one drink.
Treatment of alcoholism
Young people drink less often than adults, but when they do drink, they drink more than the adults. On an average, young people have about five drinks on a single occasion, which can be considered binge drinking.
Treatment of alcoholism works best when the family and the alcoholic are all involved and working together. Recovery is a life long journey and an alcoholic relapse can happen at any time. There’s a wide variety of treatment options available, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon/Alateen, and individual or family therapy. Often, alcoholics need to begin in rehab centres in order to detox and be away from the pressures that cause them to drink. Since alcoholics have different reasons behind their drinking, it’s important to look into which options meet the substance abusers’ needs. Certain things to consider include motivation of the drinker to quit, cost, physical condition of the drinker, and their personality.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the most widespread group anti-alcoholic program. The only qualification to be a member is the desire to quit drinking.
On an average, an open Alcoholic Anonymous group meeting lasts one hour and has two or three speakers who share their experiences about alcoholism and recovery.
Currently, there are over two million people in 150 countries that attend A.A. meetings on a regular basis.
Underage drinking risks include:
Death – 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
Serious injuries – More than 190,000 people under age 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries in 2008 alone.
Impaired judgment – Drinking can cause kids to make poor decisions, which can then result in risky behaviour like drinking and driving, sexual activity, or violence.
Increased risk for physical and sexual assault – Youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault.
Brain development problems – Researches show that brain development continues well into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can affect this development, and contribute to a range of problems.
The signs of underage drinking
Anyone who interacts with young people should pay close attention to the warning signs that may indicate underage drinking. Some of these warning signs include:
Academic and/or behavioural problems in school
Changing groups of friends
Less interest in activities and/or appearance
Finding alcohol among a young person’s things or smelling alcohol on their breath
Memory and/or concentration problems
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