Connect on +91-8291419590  |  Follow us on:
( By Dr. H.K.Bakhru )

Reading Room Home

Pages: Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50

Alcoholism is a chronic disorder, in which a person is unable to refrain from frequent and excessive consumption of alcohol for physical or psychological reasons. The World Health Organisation has listed alcoholism as one of the three most deadly killer diseases of the 20th century. Alcoholism is also a very serious social problem. It often brings poverty and a certain amount of crime and frequently results in marital unhappiness and broken homes. It also leads to numerous traffic and accidents.

Alcohol is not a product found in nature. It results from decomposition and as such belongs to a family of poisons. Ethyl alcohol, the main intoxicating ingredient in wine, beer and distilled liquor is a toxic drug which depresses the brain and nervous system. Alcohol cannot be called a food for it enters the ailmentary canal and is not changed or digested in any way. It is quickly absorbed in the blood stream and then travels to every part of the body, adversely affecting vital organs like the brain and liver. About 90 per cent of the alcohol is slowly oxidised in the liver and the remaining 10 per cent is eliminated by breathing and through urination. An average peg of whisky, 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine take one full hour to be oxidised in the liver


According to W.H.O., " Alcoholics are those excessive drinkers whose dependence on alcohol has attained such a degree that it shows a noticeable mental disturbance or interference with their bodily or mental health, their interpersonal relations and their smooth social and economic functions, or who show the prodromal signs of such development."

Alcoholics have a puffy face with bloodshot eyes, hoarse voice and rapid pulse. They are suspicious, irritable and over-emotional. Vomiting, delirium, impaired judgement and disturbed sleep are some of the common symptoms.

The chronic alcoholic, who would rather drink than eat, fails to get enough vitamins. The few vitamins acquired by him are drained out his system in the process of burning the alcohol in his body. Vitamin deficiency can lead to delirium tremens,convulsins, neuritis, disorders of the eyes and impaired memory. Excessive drinking often causes premature graying of hair due to vitamin deficiency. Chronic alcoholism results in a depletion of minerals in the body, particularly magnesium, which produces symptoms like tremor of the hands, feet and tongue, convulsions, mental clouding and sweating.

Alcohol tends to be habit-forming. The more you have, the more you want. The more you drink, the less you eat. Soon the body is out of gear, because it has been getting an unsuitable and inadequate type of fuel. Excessive drinking imposes a strain on the liver. It gradually destroys its functions and often causes cirrhosis of the liver. It leads to disorders of the stomach and bowels. It can cause brain damage as brain cells are often affected by it. Alcohol also affects the heart which becomes weak and flabby.


Alcoholism results from excessive drinking. Sometimes a person sinks comparatively rapidly into alcoholism and at other times, years may pass before a person becomes a full-fledged alcoholic. A person generally takes to drinking as a means to enliven social life, to overcome anxiety or to induce sleep. He becomes an alcoholic if he gets dependent on alcohol physically and psychologically. He resorts to heavy drinking because of his inability to deal with the stress and strain of life.

Dietary Considerations

The chronic alcoholic must first of all make a firm resolve to stop drinking. He should abstain from alcohol all at once for the habit cannot be got rid of in gradual stages. The most effective way to treat alcoholism is to build the body’s nutritional integrity so as to prevent the craving for stimulants like drinks. The patient should be put on a cleansing juice fast for at least 10 days in the beginning. During this period, he should have the juice of an orange every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The juice may be diluted with warm water, if desired. Nothing else should be taken as otherwise the value of the fast would be entirely lost. Alternatively, vegetable juices may be taken. Each day while fasting, bowels should be cleansed of poisonous matter thrown off by the self-cleansing process set up by the body. This can be achieved by a warm water enema.

During the juice fast, the patient will usually feel no craving for alcohol. This will give a good 10-days start towards breaking the drinking habit and will help remove not only the physical but also the psychological dependence. After the initial fast on juices, the optimum diet of vital nutrients is essential. Such a diet should consist of whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds and sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables. The breakfast may consist of fresh fruits and milk. Steamed vegetables, whole wheat chappatis and butter-milk may be taken for lunch. The dinner may comprise a good sized raw salad and sprouts.

It is advisable that in the beginning of the treatment, the patient is given a suitable substitute to relieve the craving for alcohol if and when such a craving occurs. The best substitute drink is a glass of fresh fruit juice, sweetened with honey, if desired. In the alternative, wholesome candy may be taken. The patient should always have easily available juices, candy or other snacks to be taken between meals if he feels a craving for a stimulant. All refined foods such as sugar, white rice, macaroni products and white flour and meat should be avoided. The patient should eat several small meals a day in preference to two or three large ones and avoid strong condiments such as pepper, mustard and chilli. He should not smoke as this will only increase his desire for alcohol.

Dr. Roger J. Williams, a world renowed researcher on alcoholism from the nutritional point of view, states that if the alcoholic is supplied with certain nutrients missing from his body, the craving can be halted and even reversed. He has worked out a specific nutritional supplement containing the nutrients necessary for an alcoholic, which is as under :

Vitamins Minerals
Vitamin A : 20,000 I.U. Calcium : 300 mg
Vitamin C : 200 mg. Phosphate : 250 mg.
Vitamin D : 1,000 I.U. Magnesium : 100 mg.
B vitamins Copper 1 mg.
Thiamine : 4 mg. Iodine : 0.1 mg.
Riboflavin : 4 mg. Iron : 10 mg.
Pyridoxin : 6 mg. Manganese : 1 mg.
Niacinamide : 40 mg. Zinc : 5 mg.
Pantothenate : 40 mg.  
B - 12 : 10 mg.  
Choline : 200 mg.  
Insitol : 200 mg.  
Vitamin E : 200 mg.  

In addition to proper nutrition, plenty of rest and outdoor exercise are necessary. The healthy condition of the appetite centre, which controls the craving for alcohol is improved by exercise.