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Alcohol abuse and alcoholism is becoming more and more common in urban India. High taxation and even curfews aren t making a dent in consumption. To address the problem in Rajasthan, the Catholic Diocese of Jaipur has set up the city s first alcohol de-addiction centre. Called the Nav Jeevan Kendra, the centre started operations on this weekend in Lalarpura, near the city s Heerapura locality.
The church took up the cause as alcohol abuse has become rampant in the city and what it worrisome is the number of youth taking to this, Reverend Oswald Lewis, Bishop of the Jaipur Diocese, said, inaugurating the centre on Saturday in the presence of medical professionals, religious persons and social workers.
The Diocese like the WHO treat alcoholism as a sickness rather than a moral flaw and they re following the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step style of beating alcoholism. The centre has large rooms, dorms, a lecture hall along with yoga and meditation facilities.
This is one of the best equipped centres for alcohol addicts I have come across anywhere in India or even the world, says Father Joe Pereira, de-addiction expert and recipient of Padma Shri. We follow the Minnesota model of recovery here, says Fr. Pereira, whose Kripa Foundation runs 74 such centres worldwide.
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem and what is known outside is only a fraction of the real situation. While there is no cure, there is ample scope for arresting the habit, said Dr Harsh Udawat, associated with the city s Santokbha Durlabhji Memorial Hospital (SDMH).
The problem is even more in India because alcoholism has a social taboo attached in India and most people don t seek help.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism refers to a disease where a person is dependent on alcohol. Almost synonymous with alcohol abuse, it s considered a form of substance dependence. Broadly speaking alcoholics can be divided into three categories 1) People who drink and exhibit anti-social, disruptive and pleasure seeking behaviour 2) People who are unable to go large periods without drinking and show withdrawal symptoms similar to drug-users when they cannot and 3) Binge drinkers who might not be dependent on alcohol but it refers to people who drink copious amounts on occasions just to get intoxicated.
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