Article 47 of the Constitution, one of the Directive Principles of the State to discourage the consumption of alcohol. Alcoholism is a condition in which an individual loses control over his alcohol intake in that he is constantly unable to refrain from drinking once he begins. It is characterized by the repeated drinking of alcoholic beverages to an extent that exceeds customary use or compliance with the social custom of the community and that adversely affects the drinker’s health or interferes with the social custom of the community and that adversely affects the drinker’s health or interferes with his social or economic functioning. An alcoholic is different from an occasional drinker.
It is defined as that condition characterized by a relatively permanent, persistent desire for alcohol for the sake of its anticipated effects upon body and mind.
Characteristics of an alcoholic
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Increasing worry over one’s drinking
- Loss of control over drinking
- Disturbance in functioning in the society
Classification of Drinkers
- Rare users: who drink once or twice in a year
- Infrequent users: who drink once or twice in two – three months
- Light drinkers: who drink once or twice in a month
- Moderate drinkers: who drink thrice or four times in a month
- Heavy drinkers: who drink every day or several times during the day
Extent of Alcoholism in India
- About 20% of people in India take alcohol.
- Over the past 20 years, the number of drinkers in India has increased from 1/300 to 1/20. Among them 95 per cent are occasional drinkers.
- The production and sale of liquor in the whole country has increased almost 20 times.
- The number of liquor addicts is estimated over five millions.
Stages in becoming an alcoholic
A person becoming an alcoholic. These are:
- Pre – alcoholic symptomatic phase: An individual starts drinking to reduce his tensions. The frequency gradually increases as he starts losing his capacity to overcome conflicts in life.
- Prodigal phase: With increase in frequency of drinking, there is also an increase in quantity of drinking.
- Crucial phase: Drinking becomes conspicuous. Individual develops rationalizations to stand social pressure. Gradually, he starts alienating himself from others and his physical and social deterioration becomes known to him.
- Chronic phase: Drinking starts even in morning. Individual faces prolonged intoxication, impaired thinking, indefinable fears, tremors and loss of certain skills. He feels restless without alcohol.
Consequences of Alcoholism
- Weak physical and mental health
- Personal and economic misery, loss of wages
- Problems of adjustment in the society and family
- Disintegration of peer relations
- Subject to contempt and social ridicule
- Accidents and cost of hospital treatment
- Discord in the family leading to disintegration
- Economic sufferings faced by family members due to misallocation of money in drinking.
- Neglect faced by the children which encourages them towards delinquent behavior
- Neglect of education of the children due to which they have problems of adjustment.
- Cases of divorce, cruelty upon spouse, desertions etc.
- Crime and delinquent acts committed by the drinkers.
- Accidents caused due to excessive drinking
- Loss of valuable economic and human resources of the society
- Hindrance caused in economic development and social progress
- Law and order problems