Bhubaneswar: Alcohol intake is responsible for around three million deaths every year worldwide accounting for 5.3 per cent of all deaths, an eminent psychiatrist Dr N.N. Raju said.
“Liquor claims 2.6 lakh lives in India and is the causal factor linked to more than 200 diseases,” Dr Raju, President of the Indian Psychiatrists’ Association said. He was delivering a lecture at an event at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here.
Dr Raju said the death of 7.7 per cent of men and 2.6 per cent of women worldwide was linked to alcohol while 13.5 per cent of total deaths involving people in the age group of 20 to 39 were attributable to liquor. Speaking on the topic ‘Prevention Strategies in Alcohol Use Disorders: Overcoming Challenges in the Current Scenario’ at a National Continuing Medical Education (CME) program jointly organised by the Department of Psychiatry of IMS and SUM Hospital and Indian Psychiatry Society, he said alcoholism was an illness characterized by preoccupation with alcohol and loss of control over its consumption.
Dr Raju said India accounted for 65 per cent of the alcohol production in the world, a substance which was linked to many psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, psychosis and acute stress disorder which often led to suicide.
“Alcoholic intoxication is linked to 22 percent of all suicide deaths while 20 percent of all non-traffic injury deaths are suicides,” he said adding alcohol was responsible for around 38,000 traffic accidents in India during the last three years. Most alcohol-related deaths occurred through alcohol poisoning, accidents, homicides, suicides, unintentional injuries and illnesses like liver failure, cancer or heart disease, Dr Raju said. He said those addicted to alcohol continue with drinking though they were aware of the physical and psychological problems they would encounter if they didn’t kick the habit.
The governments, Dr Raju said, could reduce the number of retail outlets, introduce a government-controlled wholesale and retail system, restrict the time of sale or increase the price of alcohol while imposing high taxes to discourage addiction.