refers to addiction to alcohol
. It is a chronic disorder, in which a person is unable to
refrain from frequent and excess consumption of alcohol
for physical or psychological reasons.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed alcoholism
as one of the three most deadly
killer diseases of the 20th century.
is also one of the serious social problems. It often brings poverty and certain amount
of crime and results in material unhappiness and broken homes. It also leads to numerous traffic
is not a product found in nature. It results from decomposition and as such belongs to a
family of poisons. Ethyl alcohol
, the main intoxicating ingredient in wine, beer and distilled liquor
is a toxic drug which depresses the brain and nervous system. Alcohol
cannot be called a food
for it enters the alimentary canal and is not changed or digested in any way. It is quickly
absorbed in the bloodstream and then travels to every part of the body, adversely affecting vital
organs like brain and liver.
According to the WHO, "Alcoholics are those excessive drinkers whose dependence on alcohol
has attained such a degree that it shows a noticeable mental disturbance or interference with
their bodily or mental health, their interpersonal relations and their smooth social and economic
functions, or who show the prodormal signs of such development. "
Alcoholics have a puffy face with bloodshot eyes, a hoarse voice and a rapid pulse. They are
suspicious, irritable and over- emotional. Vomiting, delirium, impaired judgement and disturbed
sleep are some of the other symptoms
The chronic alcoholic, who would rather drink than eat, fails to get enough vitamins. The few
vitamins acquired by him are drained out of his system in the process of burning the alcohol
his body. Vitamin deficiency can lead to delirium tremors, convulsions, nutritious, disorders of
the eyes and impaired memory. Excessive drinking often causes premature greying of hair
to vitamin deficiency. Chronic alcoholism
results in a depletion of minerals in the body,
particularly magnesium. Its lack produces symptoms
like tremor of the hands, feet and tongue,
convulsions ,mental clouding and perspiration.
Excessive drinking imposes a strain on the liver. It gradually destroys its functions and often
causes cirrhosis of the liver
. It leads to disorders of the stomach and bowels. It can cause brain
damage as brain cells are often affected by it. Alcohol
also affects the heart which becomes
weak and flabby.
results from intemperate drinking. Sometimes it sneaks upon a person comparatively
rapidly; other times, years may pass before a person becomes a full-fledged alcoholic. A
weak-minded person consoles himself by taking to drugs or alcohol
. In doing so he simply tries
to escape the situation rather than face it boldly.
A person generally takes to drinking as a means to enliven social life, to overcome anxiety or to
induce sleep. He becomes an alcoholic if he gets dependent on alcohol
psychologically. He resorts to heavy drinking because of his maladaptive way of dealing with
The chronic alcoholic first of all must make a firm resolve to stop drinking. He should abstain
all at once for the habit cannot be got rid of in gradual stages.
The most effective way to treat alcoholism
is to build the body's nutritional integrity soaps to
prevent craving for stimulants like drinks. The patients should be put on a cleansing juice fast for
at least ten days in the beginning. During this period, he should have juice of an orange every
two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The juice may be diluted with warm water, if desired. If orange
juice does not agree, vegetable juices may be taken. Each day while fasting, bowels should be
cleansed of effete and poisonous matter thrown off by the self-cleansing process set up by the
body. This can be achieved by warm water enema.
During the juice fast, the patient will usually feel no craving for alcohol
. This will give a good 10
day start towards breaking the drinking habit and would help remove not only the physical
dependence but also the psychological factors. After the initial fast on juices, the optimum diet of
vital nutrients is essential. Such a diet should consist of whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds and
sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables.
It is advisable that in the beginning of the treatment, the patient is given a suitable substitute to
relieve the craving if and when such a craving occurs. The best substitute drink for alcohol
glass of fresh fruit juice, sweetened with honey, if desired. In the alternative, wholesome candy
may be taken. The patient should always have easily available juices, candy, or other snacks to
be taken between meals if he feels a craving for a stimulant.
All refined foods such as sugar, white rice, macaroni products and white flour and meat should
be avoided. The patient should eat several small meals a day in preference to two or three large
ones and avoid strong condiments such as pepper, mustard, and chilli. He should not smoke as
this will only increase his desire for alcohol
Apples are considered valuable in the treatment of alcoholism
as their use removes intoxication
and reduces the craving for wine and other intoxicating liquors. The raw celery juice is also
considered helpful. It has a sobering effect and is an antidote to alcohol
In addition to proper nutrition, plenty of rest and outdoor exercises are necessary. The healthy
condition of the appetite centre, which controls the craving for alcohol
is improved by exercise.
Yogic asans for general health such as padmasan, vajrasan, vakrasan, paschimotanasan,
yogamudra, bhuajangasan, halasan and shalabhasana and yogic kriyas like jalneti, kunjal and
simple Pranayamas like kapalbhati , anuloma-viloma, shitali and sitkari will be beneficial.
Copious drinking of water, hot fomentations on the stomach and abdomen with a wet girdle pack
between applications are also effective water treatment for alcoholism
And finally, it will be advisable to follow the ten commandments to prevent alcoholism
, offered by
psychiatrist Dr. William B. Terhune. These are :
never drink when you ` need one';
sip slowly ;
space your drinks, taking a second drink 30 minutes after
the first and a third an hour after the second ;
dilute your alcohol;
keep an accurate and truthful record of the amount and
number of drinks you take ;
never conceal the amount of alcohol
you drink ;
do not drink on an empty stomach ;
stop drinking on `signal ` ( signals are lunch, dinner, fatigue
, sex stimulation, boredom, frustration
make it a rule never to take a drink to escape discomfort - either physical or mental ; and
never, never take a drink in the morning thinking it will cure a hangover.