Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol on rise

Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol have been on the rise for the last five years in the country. This is according to the annual health bulletin 2023. Doctors from the national referral hospital said that mental and behavioural disorders occur due to genetics and environment such as peer pressure and the easy availability of alcohol in society. Mental and behavioural disorder due to alcohol happens when a person is addicted to alcohol and suffers from dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

People suffering from mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol were more than 1,000 and 1,300 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The number of cases increased by almost up to 300 every year in the subsequent years.

According to the annual health bulletin, the number of cases has crossed more than 2,000 in 2022.

According to a psychiatrist with the national referral hospital, though extensive study has not been carried out on the cause of such a rise, he says it could be due to easy accessibility of alcohol in the market. He also added that most of the drug users are now resorting to alcohol due to the stringent regulations on substance use.

“I think alcohol anyway is a culturally acceptable beverage in our country where it is offered on all occasions plus it is available everywhere from a grocery store to a bar to a hotel. And then, we use alcohol almost on several occasions so now if 100 people are exposed to this type of alcohol availability and alcohol use at least 20 to 30 per cent will become addicted,” said Dr Damber Kumar Nirola, psychiatrist at JDWNRH.

He added that usually, the hospital provides counselling and rehabilitation facilities to help individuals suffering from such disorders.

During the Meet The Press session yesterday, the Prime Minister said that there is a need to do thorough research to understand the alcohol-related issues in the country.

“About a year or so, the policy changed so there is no dry day, and bar licence to sell the alcohol was also discontinued. Because of these two policies, we cannot say for sure the number of alcohol consumption has increased. We need to do thorough research because even before the discontinuation of dry days, we do drink on Tuesdays. Even when we ask the hospital, they say that the mental disorder has not particularly increased due to alcohol. However, we need to investigate thoroughly.”

Meanwhile, the number of alcohol liver disease cases has been decreasing over the years. Nonetheless, it is still the leading cause of death in the country.

Alcohol liver disease accounts for about 12 per cent of deaths which is 146 deaths in the country in 2022.

To curb alcohol-related health issues, the World Health Organisation has also recommended the policy maker to regulate the alcohol in the market.

Singye Dema

Edited by Tshering Zam 

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