Alcohol misuse, impact on health and society

Prof (Dr) Nimai Chand Luwang *

Alcohol use is quite common in India both in rural and urban areas, varying from 23% to 74% among males and 24% to 48% among females. In the west, alcohol is consumed everywhere: festivals, sporting events, weddings, backyard barbecues, concerts, brunch… it is hard to think of any social event that does not at least offer it.

Alcohol is commonly used as a social lubricant but it does not mean that a person who consumes alcohol feel comfortable in a social situation is likely to become alcoholic. People drink alcohol initially to enjoy and relieve anxiety. They may also consume it to gain relief from existing psychiatric or emotional problems.

Consequently, they begin to drink habitually, thereby leading to chronic alcoholism. Alcohol is an addictive substance which can lead to physical dependence, inability to stop at will and occasional drinking can be a slippery slope that may lead to addiction. Alcohol consumption becomes a problem when the individual engages in problematic drinking that puts him at the risk of developing adverse health events.

Alcohol consumption varies across different parts of India because of various socio-cultural diversity and difference in laws governing individual States. It is also bound by varying customary laws and cultures.

A few decades ago, consumption of alcohol was considered an unhealthy practice in Manipur by most communities. However, it has been observed that it has become widely prevalent in the Meetei society and is now regarded a fashion both among males and females.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), alcoholism is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problem, having to drink more to get the same effect having withdrawal symptoms.

Globally, 50% of the deaths caused by liver cirrhosis, 30% of the deaths because of oral and pharyngeal cancers, 22% of the deaths caused by interpersonal violence, 22% of the deaths because of self-harm, 15% of the deaths by traffic injuries, 12% of the deaths because of tuberculosis (TB) and 12% of the deaths caused by liver cancer are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol consumption is one of the main contributing reasons for the modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes and consequential health problems like kidney failure, heart attacks, blindness etc.

In India, in the year 2010, prevalence of AUDs was 2.65 pc and that of alcohol dependence was 2.1%. In 2012, 33.1% of all the road traffic deaths were attributable to drinking and driving. Prevalence of AUD in adult men was found as 9%. Around 62.9% of all deaths due to liver cirrhosis were attributable to alcohol use.

Medical and Health consequences of alcohol use

When alcoholic beverages are consumed, it gets absorbed from the stomach and small intestine. It is distributed through blood circulation to every organ in the body. The alcohol gets absorbed by the liver rapidly and excreted through the kidneys amounting to about 95% to 98% of the consumed alcohol.

Hospital admission rates because of alcohol consumption and related conditions were also increasing with 20% to 30% admissions.

Short- term risks of alcohol misuse include:
accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatments, such as head injuries and trauma;
violent behaviour and being victim of violence;
unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (HIV/AIDS);
loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys, or mobile phones;
alcohol poisoning which may lead to vomiting, fits, and falling unconscious.

People who binge drink means those who drink heavily over a short period of time are more likely to behave recklessly and are at greater risk of experiencing an accident.

Long term risks include:
persistent alcohol misuse increases risk of serious health conditions, including;
heart disease, stroke, liver diseases (mainly cirrhosis of liver),
liver cancer, mouth cancer, bowel cancer,
breast cancer, pancreatitis, obesity, diabetes and so on.

Acutely, modest doses of ethanol (alcohol) can not only increase sexual drive
but can also lead to decrease in erectile capacity,
testicular atrophy resulting in decrease of ejaculate volume and low sperm count in men;
Muscular changes leading to skeletal muscle weakness and decreasing bone density;
Neurological complications including blackouts, blurred vision, impaired memory,
alcohol tremors, myopathy, encephalopathy and cerebral degenerations etc..;

Psychiatric complications: Chronic alcohol consumption leads to depression and anxiety leading to mental disorders and misbehaviours and may lead to suicide. Ultimately, chronic drinking may lead to cirrhosis of liver resulting in death. Drinking and driving is the main cause of road traffic accidents. Drunken driving is responsible for 28% of deaths due to road traffic accidents.

Dependant drinkers usually experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly cut down or stop drinking, this include: hand tremors, sweating, hallucination, depression, anxiety, insomnia (difficulty in sleeping). This often results in “relief drinking” to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Social consequences of alcohol use

Alcohol consumption not only affects the individuals but also his family members and society in one way or the other.

Persons in intoxicated state may indulge in domestic violence which is a common feature with his family members; may exhaust the family savings which can negatively affect the education of his children, psychological wellbeing of the family, emotionally and physically abusing the spouse. Husband’s practice of alcohol consumption is the most common cause of domestic violence.

Impact of alcohol use on family economy

Alcohol consumption denudes family resources and reserves and leaves women and children as its most vulnerable victims. A social stigma is still attached to the families with member(s) having chronic alcoholism. People who misuse alcohol may blow through family budget, cause fights, ignore children, and otherwise impair the health and happiness of people they love.

In time, family members may even develop symptoms of codependency, inadvertently keeping the addiction alive, even though it harms them. When alcohol is consumed, a person is more likely to impulsively buy things without thinking through the consequences of those purchases in the moment.

It can lead to increase in debt, chronic drinkers may have to leave jobs due to health problems. Alcohol dependent persons spend more money than they earn, and are forced to take loans to spend for expenditures related to alcohol consumption and for treatment of related medical conditions.

Alcohol consumption can affect work performance by way of absence from work, work accidents, reduction in productivity, leading to unemployment.

Apart from money spent on drinks, heavy drinkers may suffer other economic problems such as lower wages and loss of employment opportunities, increased medical and legal expenses, and decreased eligibility of loans etc. This results in strained relations with their family members, especially their spouse and children.

Legal problems of alcohol consumption

Crimes following alcohol intoxication is a very common feature which may include sexual/physical assault, rape, exploitation of women in commercial sex work and homicide. Alcohol consumption is associated with numerous legal problems.

Drinking increases a person’s likelihood of getting into quarrels and fights, displaying disorderly conduct in public, driving under the influence, and becoming involved in domestic disputes and violence.

The legal issues and crimes that are related to alcohol consumption fall under four major laws/acts namely, the Prohibition Act, Gambling Act, Psychotropic Substance Act and Excise Act. However, public nuisance created because of alcohol abuse goes mostly unrecognized and unnoticed.

Benefits of alcohol consumption

A wide range of studies in medical science suggest that drinking alcohol in moderate amounts may be good for the heart as it prevents coronary artery disease (CAD). However, individual susceptibility plays a major role in protective benefits of alcohol consumption.

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that “it is not possible to predict in which people alcoholism will become a problem” and advises against consuming alcohol for the benefits it may carry.

In a multicentre study done in India, it was found that even light or occasional consumption of alcohol might increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). So, the benefits of alcohol consumption may not stand true for Indians.

Achieving Sobriety

Socially, alcohol is a huge problem, even for those who have established a lifestyle surrounding drinking can experience harm regardless of having a dependence on alcohol. Once addicted, as it is hard to turn away from alcohol and finally put the bottle down. The idea of legalising alcohol and lifting prohibition law should be rejected.

* Prof (Dr) Nimai Chand Luwang wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a former Member (five times) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly
and a retired Professor of Community Medicine (MBBS, MD, MSc London, FIPHA)
This article was webcasted on 16 October 2022.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Kanglei Thokpa @ Sagol Kangjei : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #3: Gallery
  • Meitei Professors' Invention granted Patent
  • Historic Premiere: 'Chilli Chicken' at Manipur
  • Effective Unified Command for Resolution
  • Music & Quiz: Drug Abuse amongst youth
  • Visionless and headless DMU
  • When is the right time & situation for PM visit
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #37: Download
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur: Book
  • Manipur crisis: Treat the disease, not symptom
  • 133rd Durand Cup Trophies Flags Off
  • NEET droppers vs freshers
  • Death : Only future to look at ?
  • Mental health of displaced people
  • Aftermath of Imphal Flooding #1 : Gallery
  • When was the last time we smiled ?
  • Appeal to Stop Unbearable Monetary Demand
  • 'Oppenheimer' links with Supreme Science
  • 'Preventing from holding a press conference'
  • Travel tips during Monsoon
  • Look at it via ground reality
  • Making the 'Balak Buddhi' wiser
  • Kang Chingba @Govindajee #1 : Gallery
  • Release Ebo Mili & Stop large dams in ArP
  • Rainforests are the lungs of Earth
  • Education suffering from political interference
  • Inflated bill main vote plank, law dont cut graft
  • From the Lok Sabha to Manipur
  • Third visit of Rahul
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #9
  • International Day of Yoga #1 : Gallery
  • Lord Jagannatha's processional chariot fest
  • World Zoonoses Day 2024
  • PM 'bola' in Parliament
  • Acknowledging the stand of UNC
  • Embracing tree plantation as a new trend
  • 17th N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #2 : Gallery
  • The spirit & the creed of the Olympics
  • Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra) : Book
  • 'Economic blockade: Rumors baseless'
  • The Power of Poppy - 38 :: Poem
  • Balancing children's academic performance
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #2 : Gallery
  • Covid, Ngari, Yu and Loktak
  • Rural people struggling with network problem
  • English certificate courses for BA student
  • 6th July is International Day of Cooperatives
  • Clogging the waterways with plastics
  • Diverting public attention from core issues
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #2 : Gallery
  • Gateway of Assam
  • Integrating GIS & EWS for flood management
  • The Dopamine overdose
  • Free workshop on civil service exams
  • Bucket of cold water after a hot shower
  • Breaking the silence
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #1 : Gallery
  • Embracing 'Sharra - Kashar-ot'
  • Drug abuse & illicit trafficking in Manipur
  • Nudity being served to increase followers
  • Record high temperature
  • Bangladesh FM Hasan Mahmud's Riyadh visit
  • Indigenous call for NRC
  • Come home to the electorates
  • Meiteis must unite for survival
  • Flood advisories issued
  • State & District Control Rooms
  • Green Hydrogen for a clean environment
  • Need for an Emergency
  • Monsoons beauty
  • Calling out the indifference of Delhi
  • Questioning the silence with a roar
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #8
  • Problem & prospect of floriculture in Manipur
  • WomenLeaders India Fellowship 2024-25
  • Naga Peace Talks and Narasimha Rao
  • Arunachal Minister visits Oil Palm @Godavari
  • Clear cut stand from the Nagas
  • Crisis resolution in 100-day plan ?
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur: A battleground of imperial geopolitics
  • Wangkhem Suresh @ Higher Defence Course
  • Shoppers Stop's 1st Store in Dimapur
  • Stop razing rail station, divert 25k Cr to Signal
  • Has Imphal completely lost the plot ?
  • Time to take responsibility
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #3 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Letter to Prime Minister of India
  • International Day of Parliamentarism
  • Skill Development Course at Lumshnong
  • The Power of Poppy - 37 :: Poem
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #1 : Gallery
  • Multiple Openings @ JCRE Solutions
  • Our mass addiction to predicting future
  • Bonsai - A play with another aspect : Review
  • Timely diagnosis to stop misuse of medicines
  • Impactful tool- Instagram marketing strategy
  • Essence of the June 28 rally
  • Birds of the same feather
  • Scientist of Manipur: Satyendra Thoudam
  • Education and the fate of Manipur
  • Centre not mind talking to Kitovi or Alezo
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Nambol
  • Why Bangladesh urge military diplomacy
  • MoU : Assam Don Bosco Univ with Cambridge
  • Understanding beyond the coup
  • Donning the role of LoP
  • Rally @ Jiribam [June 26] : Gallery
  • Umananda Island- World smallest river island
  • Breaking the impasse
  • Fantasies of a sinister childhood
  • Program: developing women entrepreneurship
  • Microlearning is impacting talent acquisition
  • Looking for the way forward
  • The message
  • Moirangthem Robi - Mr Universe India 2022
  • Parthenium Menace in Indo-Myanmar : Book
  • Respect & recognise domestic worker
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • One test not for India
  • Include tomatoes in your skincare routine
  • Raising ST call a notch or two higher
  • United in grief, but...
  • Panthoibi Phijol Hongba @Mandalay : Gallery
  • Open Letter to Hon'ble CM of Manipur
  • Slavery in the machine world
  • 'Either Rio regime delivers or it fails'
  • No need for NEET or NET
  • Walkathon to promote health at Guwahati
  • Paradox of arming & disarming citizens
  • Meaningless statements
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #7
  • You are king of web, then slave
  • A Groundbreaking HIV Prevention Option
  • Board of Studies at Assam Don Bosco
  • Public Services as a career choice
  • Manipur violence and state
  • Last minute cancellation
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD