With all liquor shops, bars and pubs across the country shut down as part of the 21-day lockdown against the spread of Coronavirus, health facilities across the country are seeing a surge in patients with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms--reveals a report published by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Doctors at AIIMS have appealed for massive awareness about the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal patients and the need for treatment for such patients during the lockdown. Author of the report, Dr Atul Ambekar, Professor of Psychiatry at National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of AIIMS while speaking to news agency ANI said, "Doctors from Indian Psychiatry Society also had a similar view that they are witnessing a large number of patients with alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the emergency unit of their respective hospitals."
He added, "Our AIIMS emergency is also reporting patients with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. We just urge the government that health facilities should be prepared to deal with patients with alcohol withdrawal in the coming days once the lockdown gets over."
According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Report (2019), there are about 16 crore persons who consume alcohol in the country. The use of alcohol is considerably higher among men (27.3%) as compared to women (1.6%), says the report. While most of the people who consume alcohol would be able to cope with the situation, those who are suffering from "physical dependence" are at the risk of experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
In Kerala, there have been just two deaths from Coronavirus so far, but within three days of non-availability of liquor due to lockdown, more than six people, mostly youngsters below 40, have committed suicide. Using tobacco and drinking alcohol to cope with boredom during the COVID-19 lockdown can affect immunity as well as mental health, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday, amid rising cases of the novel coronavirus.
In India, the number of novel coronavirus cases climbed to 1,397 on Tuesday after 146 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours across the country, while the death toll due to the pandemic rose to 35, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The active cases of COVID-19 stand at 1,238, while three deaths were reported, the ministry said in an updated data on Monday night.
(With ANI inputs)