Shutdown of liquor outlets may turn alcohol withdrawal worse

The lockdown is said to be the best opportunity for those who are willing to get rid of the drinking habit.

The lockdown that has brought the whole world to a standstill, literally, will be leaving innumerable collateral impacts on human race. And, the lifestyle changes are expected to leave no less a dent on people's physical and mental well being.

With the shutdown of bars and beverage outlets in the state in the wake of extended lockdown withdrawal syndromes too may surface. Dr. Tom C Paul of Payyappilly Arogya and Manovikas Kendra in Angamaly, elaborates on the pros and cons of the lockdown, necessitated by COVID-19 outbreak, for habitual tipplers.

"The Alcoholic Dependence Syndrome (ADS) or the withdrawal syndrome causes a number of physiological and psychological disorders. While physical problems range from insomnia to loss of appetite, nausea, shivering to far more severe cases of amnesia, " says Dr. Tom.

Meanwhile, the psychological problems are far too many like hallucination, illusion, restlessness, delirium, paranoia and so on. In some cases the patients start doubting their spouses too. “Delerium tremens is yet another severe form of alcohol withdrawal which is manifested in the patient by altered mental status or global confusion. The afflicted may not be having the sense of place or action he or she is in. For example, the person may walk off the terrace imagining that he or she is entering through a door and may fall down. Such a situation is very dangerous,” Dr. Tom says.

"So, while treating ADS affected persons we need to take both physical as well as mental aspects into consideration. The best option for a patient is to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist for a week.”

However, Dr. Tom sends out a message of hope too that it is the best opportunity for those who are willing to get rid of the drinking habit. "Normally, it is a fourteen-day de-addiction course for an ADS patient to come out of the syndrome and the habit, and here we've whole three weeks keeping us indoors," says the doctor.

Dr. Tom, while treating his own such patients follows a method of inculcating a spiritual sense too in them as he believes it reduces the chance of addiction relapses.

"I think making the patient follow the spiritual path linked to his own religious belief will make the treatment wholesome and complete. Then only he or she will realize that addiction to alcohol is something wrong. I believe it is the spiritual sense that helps one distinguish between the right and the wrong," says doctor Tom.