Alcohol? – kick that habit!


Habits make us..

Everybody wants to lead a healthy life style but do you have the firm determination, sustainable action to maintain your health? How successful/unsuccessful, happy/unhappy, in-shape or out-of-shape you are? It is essentially the sum of your habits. Do not be upset; you can form good habits and improve your health. Every habit you have, good or bad, follows the same three steps in a pattern. First step is reminder or the trigger that initiate the behavior, followed by action you take i.e. routine and finally reward – the pleasure you derive from doing the behavior. Therefore, follow the 3 R’s of habit-change – intervention on one or more of reminder/routine/reward can disrupt your habit. It can be applied to get rid of alcohol and smoking.

Last year I spoke about exercise and nutrition. Today I will touch upon alcohol. Nearly 30 % of Indian men and 5% Indian women are regular users of alcohol. Its consumption has multitude of effects on physical, social, emotional, behavioral and financial spheres of an individual, family and society. The alcohol intake is linked to more than 60 health conditions and a variety of harmful effects ranging from brawl and accidents. One look around the globe reveals the impact of alcohol use and its downside. High-income countries have increased efforts to minimize these harmful effects. It is time that our society wakes up to this epidemic before many more lives are destroyed & families wiped out.

Ill effects of Alcohol
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Health Impact

The average alcohol-dependent person decreases his life span by 10 to 15 years while spending 50% of his income on alcohol. The long term effects of the alcohol are many, almost all the systems are affected. The main diseases are liver cirrhosis, peptic ulcer, neuropathy, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, fetus’ brain damage in pregnant ladies, reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer in females and Alcohol Dependence Syndrome. 50-60% of alcohol-dependence cases can be managed with enforced abstinence, detoxification, individual & group therapy sessions and treatment of complications.

Just like passive-smoking

A study conducted by National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences on families across India showed that not only did the drinker’s family face financial, emotional & mental trauma but people in neighborhood also endured psychological trauma i.e. arguments, physical violence and sexual abuse. ”Just as smoking affects those around, drinking alcohol too has an equally passive effect. Not only the drinkers’ family and those in surroundings are also affected with his behavior”.

How much is too much?

A unit of alcohol is equivalent of 10 gm pure ethanol equal to 30 ml of hard drink or 100ml of wine or half bottle of beer. Moderation means maximum of 3 units a day for men & 2 units a day for women. Try not to take on two consecutive days and teetotaler should not be encouraged to take alcohol in any form.