Many support meetings for alcoholics daily

Many support meetings for alcoholics daily

SINGAPORE - More people are now seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, say experts.

According to the National Addictions Management Service (Nams), there were 418 alcohol addicts seeking treatment last year compared to 240 in 2009.

Confirming the trend, a spokesman for the Singapore Alcoholics Anonymous group said that they have expanded in recent years to meet the demand from people looking for help. Five years ago, there would only be three meetings a week. Now there are multiple meetings a day.

Addictions specialist, Dr Munidasa Winslow, said that the No. 1 addiction at Promises, an organisation dealing with addiction therapy, is alcohol addiction.

And the number of people coming to him with the addiction has gone up, said Dr Winslow.

He said some of his patients are highfunctioning alcoholics who can down two bottles of whiskey a day.

"Often, something triggers them to get help. It can be something like sending drunk texts, or sending an important e-mail while drunk."

Other patients who come to see him have experienced significant physical damage.

Dr Winslow said: "Some have dementia because of the brain damage caused by the addiction. They can't even remember where the toilet in their own home is."

Signs of alcohol addiction

Mr Suresh Anantha, principal counsellor at Nams, says some key signs are:

1. Craving: A strong and continuing compulsion to drink

2. Drinking in spite of obvious negative consequences: For example, drinking despite recognising that a medical condition can be made worse by alcohol consumption

3. Tolerance: The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to "feel the buzz" or "to get high"

4. Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking: This includes sweating, nausea and "the shakes."

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