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Up to 100,000 Thais at risk from alcohol-related ‘withdrawals’ during national ban





Yesterday experts announced that up to 100,000 Thais who have become seriously dependent on alcohol are at risk during the nationwide booze ban. The ban on alcohol sales was imposed in order to minimise large gatherings and also to curb coronavirus related infection risks, especially during the traditional Songkran celebrations.

According to the director of Centre for Alcohol Studies at Prince of Songkla University, Sawitri Assanangkornchai, the withdrawal symptoms can include high fever, nausea, profuse sweating, seizures, and severe anxiety.

“These people must be monitored. If the situation is severe, then the person must go to hospital.”

“Drinking alcohol, even when done alone, weakens one’s immune system and makes people more prone to being at risk of coronavirus infections and other illnesses.”

“Around 1 million Thais are estimated to be “dependent on alcohol”, and as many as 10% of those are considered to be severely dependent and could experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as six hours or up to 3 days after their last drink.”

“Those severely dependent on alcohol should not stop drinking right away instead, they should seek to drink less and less, and eventually stop altogether, to reduce stress on the body and mind.”

Thailand has a high level of alcohol-related domestic violence and alcohol abuse and drunk driving are a leading contributor to the country’s horrendous annual road toll.

Government spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, also addressing the issue, says “those experiencing alcohol withdrawal, such as hearing strange voices, should seek medical treatment immediately.”

According to Sawitri, one man in Buriram is believed to have died due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms over the weekend.

And in Nonthaburi yesterday morning a construction worker climbed a tamarind tree reportedly because he could not buy alcohol for his daily consumption. Rescue workers spent an hour trying to talk him down. The man eventually fell down and was taken to a police station for questioning and treatment.

Sawitri sees this national ban as an opportunity to reduce the number of people who are dependent on alcohol, such as limiting hours of sales and also limiting the amount of alcohol you are allowed to purchase at one time. She noted that compared to other nations like China, Japan, and South Korea, Thailand’s level of alcohol consumption is still far lower.

Here are some tips and methods to minimise the pain and discomfort of alcohol withdrawals…

  • Stock up on fruits and vegetables
    As the alcohol metabolises, your body and converts it into sugar. So, if you have been drinking regularly, your body got accustomed to an excessive amount of sugar. Eating lots of healthy fruits and vegetables can help balance the sugar levels in your body.
  • Drink lots of liquids
    You must drink a lot of water and fluids that contain electrolytes to avoid dehydration and nausea. However, ensure that you stay away from caffeine as it can make you super dehydrated. Coconut thailand alcohol hotlinewater, kokum sharbat and fruit juices can be excellent choices.
  • Sweat it out
    Exercise is one of the best coping mechanisms to deal with the depressive symptoms of alcohol. Exercising releases endorphins in your brain that puts you in a peaceful state of mind. So, while you cannot hit the gym, do at home-exercises and take brisk walks in your lobby to improve your mental and emotional well being.
  • Practice breathing techniques
    Deep breathing techniques such as ‘ujjayi breath’ and ‘nadi shodhan’ (yoga breathing techniques) can help you relax by clearing your mind and allowing you to focus on essential things. When you find yourself stressed, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold for fore more seconds and breathe out through your mouth for four seconds.
  • Listen to music or spend time with your family
    Distraction can be a powerful tool to help you divert your mind from the withdrawal symptoms. Read a book, listen to some soothing music or spend time with your family to keep yourself busy in times of withdrawal. The less you think about the more you will cruse through this.

Here is the contacts, in English and Thai, for the Thai branches of AA.

SOURCE: Latesly | Khao Sod


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My name is Anukul, I a writer for the Thaiger, I specialise in translation articles and social media, and assisting with our video production. I previously worked at Phuket Gazette and attended BIS international school in Phuket.

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