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Alcohol: India's Worst Enemy

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the most prominent addiction in the world. It is an incredibly common issue in India. What is the true definition? Alcoholism is an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic beverages beyond physical capacity and the behavior that results from the dependency to alcohol. The root cause of this addiction is that people don’t learn about or understand it. It is not an easy problem to fix. People all over the world, especially in India, should be more educated about the effect and consequences of alcohol.

Health-Related Consequences

Obviously, alcohol isn’t good for you. It’s one of the worst things a person can put into their body. It interferes with neurological pathways in the brain, affecting motor control, mood, behavior, and cognitive ability. Consumption of too much alcohol results in high blood pressure, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and strokes. Drinking can also cause fatty liver, cirrhosis, several different types of cancer, and weaken the immune system. The scariest part about all of this is that not everyone knows about what alcohol does to your body.

Alcohol’s Effects on Daily Life

Alcohol causes so many social problems, that it’s becoming hard to keep track of all of them. Statistics show that 25-50% of men in most areas of the country consume alcohol. About 2% of India’s women drink, but they are strictly reprimanded for it,yet another example of gender stereotyping. In a country where alcohol consumption is generally forbidden on days of religious observance and frowned upon culturally, how is this number so high? It can’t can’t be the result of advertisements; alcohol advertisements are illegal in India. Many alcohol companies sell drinking water and juices as well, leading to regular advertising in daily life. Young children see these names, and start drinking at a much earlier age. A study performed in the southern state of Kerala  shows that the age when people start drinking has dropped from 19 to 13 years of age. This, again, has to do with the lack of education about the ill effects of alcohol. Alcohol dependency has caused an increase in family issues in India as well. The number of domestic violence cases and rapes are rapidly increasing with the the number of true alcoholics in India. A study by the National Family Health Survey states that:

Women married to men who get drunk frequently are more than twice as likely to experience violence as women whose husbands do not drink alcohol at all.

Not only has drinking endangered many women, both married and single, it has severely impacted the children of the people who drink as well. The children are beaten, and sometimes left without food because alcoholic parents spend their money on booze instead of bare necessities. Other times, people are fired for reporting to work while they’re drunk.  Some states, like Kerala, are trying to solve this issue by closing all bars and liquor stores on the first of the month so not as to promote the purchase of alcohol. The alcohol companies greatly contribute to India’s growing economy. The fact that most people in India drink hard liquor, like rum, brandy, and whiskey, is not a good thing for health or conditions in society. These companies have the upper hand when it comes to getting citizens’ attention. NRI’s, or non-resident Indians, often bring liquor home to India, and airports sell drinks like Johnnie Walker in duty-free shops. The impulse to buy alcohol is everywhere, and it is easy to obtain. The government is trying to make reforms, but they don’t always work.


The idea that India does not face issues with drugs because of the country’s complex and beautiful culture needs to be reformed immediately. The nation has access to many western influences. Alcohol and marijuana are slowly rising as  a major issue. The first and most important step to solving alcoholism and the prevalence of drinking is to promote education about what alcohol does to the human body. Rather than promoting the low cost of liquor, promote the rise in domestic violence that results from it. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy are taking a stand against alcoholism in India. Show support for these groups and be sure to share this article!

[Image Attribute: Mikko Koponen via Flickr]
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