An Evaluation of Factors Influencing Alcohol Dependence to Identify the Need for Designing Suitable Interventions: A Step towards Harm Reduction
Dr. K Lohit,
#108, Sri Krishna, Valmeeki Nagara 2nd Cross, Tumkur-572103, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: Alcohol dependence is well known for its harmful effects and is considered as the ‘gate way’ drug of abuse across the globe. There has been a progressive increase in its abuse with a serious impact on health contributing to high morbidity and mortality.
Aim: To evaluate the extent and pattern of alcohol consumption, reasons for and factors influencing its consumption.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary Hospital. All in-patients admitted in psychiatry ward with diagnosis of alcohol dependence were included for the study. A pilot study was done to assess the feasibility of Case Record Form (CRF). Data collected from all alcohol dependent in-patients in psychiatry ward for a year on socio-demographic profile, patterns and types of alcohol use, the age at onset and duration of consumption/dependence along with treatment details was evaluated for in-patients reporting at a tertiary care hospital.
Results: In this cross-sectional study, 102 subjects were assessed, among them 35.30% from upper lower and middle socioeconomic category and 24.50% skilled worker group. The mean age of study population was 41.17±9.80 years with 81% in the productive age group. The mean age at onset of regular alcohol consumption was 24 years in 68.62% and 18 years in 27.45% of hospital admissions. The average number of years for first hospital admission after initiation of regular alcohol consumption was 19.92 years. The number of patients who consumed spirits was 96% and those consumed more than 3 units/day was 73.6%. The hospital admissions for alcohol related illnesses were 58.80% and those reported to seek medical help on their own was 52.9%.
Conclusion: The findings indicate that alcohol dependence is common among adolescents and young adults who are the in the productive age group. The upper lower and middle socioeconomic groups are at higher risk of dependence. There is a need for stringent policies, programs, early identification, treatment and preventive measures using age specific, feasible and efficient interventional tools to achieve ‘harm reduction’ due to alcohol dependence.