Blumenthal was discussing alcohol de–addiction at a talk organised by Alcoholics Anonymous inter–group, Pune, and the Indian Medical Association (IMA), on Friday afternoon.
Explaining that alcoholism is not a condition, but a disease, Blumenthal went on to explain the causative reasons, negligence and adverse influence that alcoholics often fall prey to.
“Very often, the physicians don’t even know how to deal with patients who have a drinking problem, because of which, most alcoholics go undiagnosed. This eventually leads to the patient’s premature death,” says Blumenthal, a trained psychiatrist, who set–up rehabilitation facilities for alcoholics and drug addicts in the US and Canada.
Blumenthal explained how alcoholism and drug abuse are correlated. “Alcoholism leads to drinkers losing reason, which makes them take unsound decisions like drug abuse,” he said.
Interestingly, AA does not stop alcoholics from drinking altogether. It just helps them to avoid drinking again. “It’s about sobering one day at a time,” clarifies Blumenthal.
The therapeutic impact of members on other members provides the support system for alcoholics to recover. Not to forget the 12–step programme that AA propagates to help members overcome the drinking problem.
“At regular AA meetings, one alcoholic helps another overcome the drinking problem by sharing their experiences and struggles. Those who succeed in sobering by lowering their alcohol intake, learn to keep their egos in check,” said Pushan V, an AA member, who shared his struggle of overcoming his drinking problem that just kept getting worse for 12 years. “But I haven’t touched alcohol in the last 17 years,” he asserts.
The medical fraternity, along with AA and those suffering from alcoholism, should network better in order to find solutions to alcoholism, Pushan suggested.
“And because alcoholism is a disease, one’s attitude towards the abused and his problems should change for his betterment,” said S Bhalla, another AA member.
The talk on Friday was attended by psychiatrists and AA members from Pune and Mumbai. There are some 19 AA groups all over Pune and Pimpri–Chinchwad with a membership of about 1,200. AA has chapters in 58 countries.
“Every country office has an independent status and we produce in–house literature on alcohol de–addiction,” said Jo–Anne, trustee of the AA General Service Board, Canada–US.
Members of AA, Pune are available on 020–24468087.
Facts and figures on alcoholism
- As per World Health Organisation’s latest figures, some 35 million people all over the world die of alcoholism.
- Alcohol consumption in India: 2.5 litres per person per year.
- Alcohol consumption in US: 8.5 litres per person per year.
- Almost 50 per cent of those employed in urban India are prone to alcoholism.
- Almost 65 per cent of the total alcohol produced in Asia comes from India.
- India imports almost seven per cent of the world’s total liquor produce.
- Around 10 to 15 per cent of the population in Canada and USA suffers from alcoholism.