Social drinking vs alcoholism
Social drinking has become so acceptable in India that gone are days when teenagers would hide their whiskey in soft drink to avoid being caught by elders. Almost in every party you can find budding boys and girls proudly holding their can of beer and chatting with elderly people, looking straight in their eyes. Parents no longer have the guts or courage to question them as they themselves are hooked to drinking habits. This certainly is causing serious health problems, as only a few people know when to say NO.
A couple of months back a successful industrialist brought his only son, still in teens and with serious drinking problem. Before I could open my mouth to say a few words of advice, the handsome young boy directly shot a question “Hey doc! Don’t you guys suggest that red wine protects the heart and immune system? I drink only red wine as I have heard it’s great for health”.
The humble father completed the story. The son was drinking almost two bottles of red wine every single day and yet believed that he is just protecting his health and by no means he is an alcoholic.
Alcohol industry being one of the most profitable and giant industries all over the world is quite prone to manipulate opinions through sponsored columns advising couple of drinks, a glass of wine or beer for good health. We all know that drinking is such a temptation that not many people can limit to just one or two drinks. As one of my good physician friend comments, “if you slip once, you will find ways to slip again and again”.
The irony is that most people never realize or accept that they are alcoholics. Last month a sixty two year old Indian gentleman, settled in France, came to consult. On questioning when he revealed that he is regular with three vodkas for lunch and five scotches for dinner, I suggested he is alcoholic. I could see that he was quite uncomfortable with my opinion of his being alcoholic.
The problem of alcoholism is as old as alcohol itself. Master Ayurvedic scholars Charak, Sushruta and others deal with alcohol related health
problems at length in topics under ‘Madatyaya’ and ‘Panatyaya’. According to Ayurvedic viewpoint alcohol is similar to poison which in small dose acts like medicine but in excessive quantity threatens longevity. Ayurvedic term for alcohol is ‘Madya’ which is quite close to ‘Wine’. Ayurveda in detail describes numerous ways to prepare medicated herbal wines specific to various physical and mental disorders. But the dose of any such wine should not exceed more than one ounce, if being used for medicinal purpose.
Ayurveda observes four stages of alcoholism. In the first stage, which is known as ‘Pratham madmaha’, a person feels enlightenment, happiness, more confidence, better appetite, sense of elation and increased creativity.
In the second stage, which is known as ‘Dwitiya madmaha’ , the person feels disorientation of memory, speech and other actions. He starts loosing control on his senses of perception and becomes excited and restless.
Third stage of alcoholism is known as ‘Tritiya madmaha’. In this stage the alcoholic looses sanity and sense of discrimination. He likes to drive fast, disrespects elders, makes fun of noble and humble people, likes to eat inedible food and starts sharing his best-kept secrets with strangers. He starts laughing, shouting and singing without any reason and completely looses control of his mind.
In the fourth stage known as ‘Chaturtha madmaha’ the alcoholic looses all senses and falls on the ground. He feels nothing even if the dogs pee on his face. He completely blacks out and next morning he may not even remember anything.
Continuing with the second and third stage of alcoholism leads to chronic digestive problems, lack of appetite, disturbed sleep, loss of memory, bad temper, lack of confidence and self-esteem, high blood pressure, fatty degeneration of heart, cirrhosis of liver, tremors in the limbs and delirium.
The first drink of toast for your success and prosperity may be fine but the last one for the road always leads to the Road of failure and destruction. Take care my friends !!!
Dr. Dinesh Sharma
At Life Before Lives Therapy Center