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Alcoholism in Goa

7 May 2008, 15:52

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15% of men in Goa abuse the bottle.

A recent study of alcohol abuse and its associated problems by the Goa branch of the Voluntary Health Association of India is telling. Of the 826 males and 741 females examined in the clinics of ten general practitioners, prevalence of harmful alcohol use in men was 15% – one in four of those who drank – while amongst women it was under 1%. Only 19% of women had consumed any alcohol at all.

Goa-based studies reveal that while drinking alcohol was in general associated with higher education and better socio-economic circumstances, harmful alcohol use was associated with being male, less educated and poor. There were strong associations between harmful use of alcohol and factors such as psychological difficulties and violence.

The study found that GPs were moderately effective at recognizing alcohol abuse amongst their patients. Alcohol misuse is a serious problem with significant social consequences for men in Goa. It requires intervention and prevention strategies based in general practice, the study recommends.

Studies in four talukas (administrative areas) of Goa showed that out of 984 male industrial workers, 21% were affected by hazardous alcohol drinking. The study done by the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Sangath Society and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it found alcoholism to be significantly associated with depression and anxiety as also severe health problems involving head injuries and hospitalization. Interventions in the workplace must target depression and anxiety along with drinking problems since they both have adverse economic and health outcome, the study said.

READ ON: Silva, M, Gaunekar, G, Patel, V et al. (2003) The prevalence and correlates of hazardous drinking in industrial workers: a study from Goa, India. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 38: 79-83; Gaunekar, G, Patel, V, Rane, A. (2005) The impact and patterns of hazardous drinking amongst male industrial workers in Goa, India. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40: 267-75.

>by Rupa Chinai

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