Friday, July 15, 2011

diary of an intern

I wonder sometimes what’s in the alcohol that makes some person an honest slave of it…. an honest consumer who’s almost never honest about his (yes I see almost all males) drinking habit. I know the neuroscience of addiction, I’ve read it, and I also have read that it uses the reward centre of brain- the same that gets activated when we feel happy and makes us to crave for something, the same that gets activated when we fall in love with someone or something, the same that makes us to feel the bliss. Then why people go for alcohol when they can get the same joy from other things like being addicted to some good habit or to some good person? Are they all depressed, or ignorant about the effects of that drug which can damage anything right from the guts, the liver, the brain to the DNA? Is it peer pressure, or pressure from the stress of life, or a silent slow way of doing suicide? Though ignorance can explain alcohol addiction in illiterates, I wonder why people who themselves are doctors also go for it. I’ve read that alcohol forms long term memories and associate the positive feelings of the environment of consuming alcohol- like a group of intoxicated funny talking friends, high fat foods which themselves stimulate the reward centre, the music of pubs to the alcohol and makes the person a fan of it. But our brains are not dead hard wired things and we can change the programming whenever we want, at least theoretically… long term potentiation isn’t a permanent thing. But then why it doesn’t happen in reality, why people continue to go for it again and again even when they know that alcohol is dragging them to death, when they get complications like cirrhosis, ascites, fatty liver, alcohol induced dementia, tremors, anemia, gastritis, and even alcohol induced psychosis, when they have to get admitted in the hospital for these complications for number of times? Why do they go for it at first place, and why do they lack the willpower to fight against it when they become slave of it? I’ve seen people shouting for alcohol when they’re laying on the death bed constructed for them by alcohol only… and I wonder what would have happened if they had loved some person or cause to this extent…

It makes people to ‘see’ everyone as beautiful as their depressed brains can’t recognize the asymmetry of faces, people become more ‘adventurous’ or ‘helpful’ as the inhibition making them ‘shy’ from the prefrontal cortex is reduced… but these depressed adventurous brains are more prone to accidents which could be lethal to themselves or others…

mm… love also makes us to trust others more, to look at and concentrate at the positive things of others, but the causes are different… Is alcohol like love… no, love is totally harmless and alcohol is known to damage many things, we could treat alcoholics with love, but in their case they’re in love with alcohol only… they value alcohol more than any other person or activity in their life, even more than themselves. Whenever they’re happy they celebrate it with alcohol, they look at alcohol for washing away their tragedies and stresses, they go for alcohol for entertainment when they feel bored… alcohol is everything for them, they don’t need family and friends to the extent they need alcohol. Some think of themselves as dedicated to their families, they never drink at home, but for them joy and family are two distinct things… and the ‘joy’ is alcohol.

I’m writing this because I’m really horrified to see the number and severity of patients who get admitted repeatedly only for the sake of alcohol. I encounter poor people mainly who’re illiterate or semi illiterate or maybe educated. They’re mainly males of varying ages, of varying stresses and family backgrounds… till date I’ve seen only one woman who had got admitted for alcohol induced psychosis and she had told that she learned drinking to accompany her beloved drunkard husband.

Alcohol isn’t a small thing to ignore; it’s at the top of list of drugs causing harms to human lives, and still people adore it! I don’t really know why people take everything lightly, including their health, their relationships and their lives? I don’t know why they succumb for drugs like this, and will it be ‘possible’ to make the ‘possible’ thing of changing their synaptic structures possible? I can’t keep guessing now… because I’ve to go, I’ve to tap the ascetic fluid of a dying chronic alcoholic patient.

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