Chennai: Feeding tasty food on time, every time, increasing the fluid intake, hiding sanitiser and other liquids containing alcohol, conversing in a gentle and understanding manner are what the family members of alcoholics should do to their loved ones when the liquor shops are closed for two weeks starting Monday, said an experienced counsellor.
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus the Tamil Nadu government has ordered closure of liquor shops for two weeks as part of stringent lockdown measures.
"It is an opportunity for the family members of alcoholics to wean away their loved ones from this habit. But the family members have to handle it gently," Jacqueline David, Senior Counsellor, TTK Hospital told IANS.
She said when an alcoholic is deprived of his drink then he suffers from what is called withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal symptoms are anger, shaking hands, heartburn sensation, fits, hallucination, hearing of voices in the ears, sleeplessness, violent behaviour and others.
According to her, to manage the withdrawal symptoms, an alcoholic should be fed properly at regular intervals with lots of vegetables and his/her fluid intake should also be increased.
"An alcoholic could be given lime juice with sugar and a dash of salt. One can also give other juice. The other steps that family members could take is to distract the alcoholic and keep his mind engaged," she said.
A hungry stomach will trigger the craving for liquor.
David also said the family members should hide all liquids like sanitisers, after shave lotion and others containing alcohol from the reach of an alcoholic.
The family members should also be gentle in suggesting their alcoholic relative to quit drinking rather than pontificating.
During the 2020 lockdown three persons died after drinking paint varnish with water and two persons lost their lives after consuming after-shave lotion with water.
David said not many realise that alcoholism is a mental and nervous disease needing medical attention.
It is not known about the plans of the government to handle the distressed alcoholics in providing detox medicine.
Last year the government hospitals provided detox medication to distressed alcoholics.
According to David, alcoholics have the habit of consuming in large quantities if there is stock rather than spreading it over several days.
Meanwhile, long queues were seen outside the liquor outlets in the state after the government announced the closure of shops for two weeks.