SINGAPORE: “It started once I began consuming socially with my mates. They might order towers of beers whereas watching soccer. It was enjoyable and innocent.”
“However once I began to work, I grew depending on alcohol. It was my type of escape as work turned extra demanding and tiring.”
“The considered a stiff drink on the finish of the day saved me going by the work pressures – although it was by no means only a single drink. I’d really feel anxious if I didn’t get my dose of alcohol within the evenings.”
Does this story sound acquainted? At the same time as alcohol consumption stays authorized, alcoholism is an actual downside.
A BLURRED LINE BETWEEN SOCIAL DRINKING AND ALCOHOLISM
Singapore has one of many lowest alcohol consumption charges in Asia, based on the World Well being Organisation, however the variety of binge drinkers has been on the rise.
Youths aged 18 to 34 have been twice as prone to drink excessively and binge drink, based on an Institute for Psychological Well being 2010 examine.
A part of this arises as a result of social consuming has develop into a suitable norm, so binge consuming and alcohol abuse go unnoticed and are deemed regular behaviour.
Consuming is a extensively fashionable exercise that’s socially and cultural accepted. How then does an individual transition from having fun with an alcoholic drink to turning into an alcoholic?
Job stress, peer strain, household background, and even genetic elements play a component in an individual getting addicted.
It’s simple to inform somebody to give up or “struggle” their addictions. However individuals scuffling with addictions can’t management their actions or make rational selections about their behaviour, even whereas consciously dealing with as much as their unfavourable penalties.
For an alcoholic, after a protracted interval of consuming, his or her mind begins to depend on alcohol to supply sure chemical substances. That is what makes it troublesome for heavy drinkers to give up and might trigger uncomfortable withdrawal signs.
UNDERSTANDING THE ADDICTIONS
Habit is a persistent, relapsing illness affecting the mind’s reward and motivation methods.
It’s a international phenomenon; one which impacts individuals no matter socio-economic standing, race or faith. Habit has an affect on greater than the abuser – affecting their household, mates, the healthcare system and wider society.
The truth is that no two addictions are the identical. To efficiently tackle and deal with an habit – whether or not to alcohol, medicine or smoking – maybe we should first perceive the elements that gasoline it.
Addictive substances get individuals hooked as a result of they initially present a way of leisure permitting the consumer to really feel “rewarded”. Individuals devour such substances believing they won’t get addicted; that they’ll be capable to handle how a lot they devour.
Little do they know that their our bodies organically builds a tolerance for the substance, requiring extra of it till the use turns into a necessity.
Sadly, some individuals are predisposed to turning into depending on sure substances attributable to their organic and psychological background.
Have you learnt individuals who solely smoke once they get pleasure from an alcoholic beverage? Or gamblers who use sure sort of medication to remain alert? There’s a tendency for addictions to co-exist.
Fairly often addictions include one other downside – a phenomenon often known as comorbid issues or twin prognosis. This occurs when an abuser or substance dependent individual not solely suffers from an habit, but in addition from a psychological well being dysfunction.
Bipolar dysfunction, melancholy or schizophrenia are frequent diagnoses that outcome from or result in substance dependency. The truth is, a nationwide epidemiological examine funded by the Ministry of Well being and Temasek Basis Innovates confirmed an increase within the prevalence of individuals having two or extra psychological issues, together with alcohol habit, on the identical time.
BEYOND A COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH
We have to look past a one-size-fits-all strategy to assist people struggle their addictions. A complete remedy programme can be customised to people.
Addictions take time to kind, so additionally they take time to beat. Remedy must be versatile and long-term.
When treating alcoholism, the strategy would typically be the abstinence mannequin – particularly if the individual is recognized as an alcoholic or a binge drinker.
Nevertheless, alcoholism is a persistent relapsing dysfunction, that means that these troubled compulsively search alcohol regardless of presumably figuring out about its dangerous results.
As soon as an alcoholic drinks, the reward system of his or her mind is activated, and a vicious cycle kicks into play – the individual typically loses management and the drink takes over.
Although there are claims about diminished consuming, extra analysis must be carried out earlier than we are able to safely say we discovered a reputable various for abstinence.
We have to tackle habit by remedy – not punishment within the type of fines, jails, bans or compelled rehab.
A tailor-made, humane and person-centred remedy is our greatest wager in serving to individuals give up.
DRINKING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
With many social occasions taking place round this vacation season, it’s particularly the time of the 12 months to be extra conscious of our alcohol consumption.
As individuals develop into health-conscious, it could even be the case that there might be extra demand for non-alcoholic cocktails, as extra individuals are selecting to occasion with alcohol-free drinks.
But, for those who should, remember that only one occasional glass of wine is nice for you – no more.
Dr Prem Kumar Shanmugam, is the CEO and scientific director of Solace Asia Remedy Retreat.