Largely being limited to big cities, bars and nightclubs are fast proliferating in small towns in India pointing to the menace of alcohol. The youth in the country are fast adopting alcohol as part of lifestyle. The scene is no different in other countries, in fact worse in many nations. The rise in alcohol consumption is being seen across various income groups of people. Among the low-income group, it often ruins families.
It may all start with harmless few sips with peer group or once-in-a-blue-moon indulging session to beat stress or get over some negative phase of life. But alcohol has a profound effect on the brain as it activates pleasure centers in the brain and curbs negative feelings. Once the brain is hooked to alcohol, the cravings may start returning sooner than the next time and before one knows, they are addicted to the ‘slow poison’ for life in lack of any concerted effort to get rid of the habit.
Just like any other form of addiction, a person is not able to get out of the vicious cycle of consuming alcohol despite knowing and experiencing its debilitating side effects on health. The high that a person gets from alcohol soon begins to show on their moods and behaviors. Known as withdrawal symptoms, when a person does not drink alcohol for some days, the activity in the pleasure centers of brain diminishes making one feel low. So much so that they can have difficulty in sleeping, feel ill and experience irritability and emotional disturbances.
Long-term consumption of alcohol can also make one impulsive as a result of the changes in the neurotransmitters of the brain that now lack control. This could make the person crave for alcohol even more, lose control over their senses and indulge in risky or violent behavior. This can not only harm them but also their family members and people around them. People who have alcohol regularly and to the extent of being addict resort to lying, cheating, manipulating as they may not be mindful enough to recognize their behavioral patterns and the pain they are inflicting on themselves and others. The fear of their diminishing credibility also does not affect them as their mind is stuck in gaining the temporary high of alcohol.
Alcohol consumption is associated with multitude of health issues. Several studies over the past many years have shown how chronic drinking can cause liver damage, cirrhosis, fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis. It can also cause great damage to brain affecting memory, difficulty in concentrating and neuro-cognitive disorders. Alcohol is also bad for your gut and can lead to digestive issues such as acid reflux, pancreatitis, and stomach ulcers. As one continues to consume alcohol, it can affect immunity which makes it difficult for the body to fight infections and diseases. Alcohol is known to wreak havoc on women’s health and mess up with their hormones. Women who drink heavily during pregnancy increase the risk of birth defects and developmental problems in their children. Moreover, alcohol addiction puts you at greater risk of cancer – including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast.
How Yoga can help in getting over addiction
There cannot be a better practice than Yoga to treat addictive behavior in people as studies have proven how Yoga is effective in rewiring the brain and encourage mindful behavior. It can also ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and help one fight the addictive patterns the mind is entrapped in. First and foremost, Yoga can soothe your nerves and help in releasing stress which often is a common trigger for alcohol use.
One of the factors that stop people addicted to alcohol in giving up the habit is their lack of impulse control. Yoga can promote mindfulness and help one focus on the present moment which can help a person resist cravings. People recovering from alcohol addiction also need to sleep better which plays a key role in getting rid of the habit as during this restful period brain gets time to repair and fix unhealthy patterns.