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Mental Health Dept urges people refrain from alcohol for Buddhist Lent

PHUKET: The Department of Mental Health is urging people to refrain from drinking alcohol during Buddhist Lent, which begins tomorrow (July 9) as the country observes the Khao Phansa Buddhist holiday.

religion, alcohol,


The Phuket News

Saturday 8 July 2017, 10:51AM


Mental Health Department Director-General Boonruang Trairuengworawat pointed out that the prevalence of alcohol drinkers with mental issues was as high as 18% of the total population. Photo: NNT
Mental Health Department Director-General Boonruang Trairuengworawat pointed out that the prevalence of alcohol drinkers with mental issues was as high as 18% of the total population. Photo: NNT

The call, from Mental Health Department Director-General Boonruang Trairuengworawat, also comes as the nation today (July 8) marks the Asarnha Bucha Day Buddhist holiday.

By law, the sale of alcohol is prohibited today and tomorrow in respect of the religious holidays. (See story here.)

Director Boonruang reminded the medical profession that alcoholics were patients, because alcohol addiction leads to dementia and other problems in mental health.

He pointed out that the most recent national mental health survey, carried out in 2013, indicated that that the prevalence of alcohol drinkers with mental issues was as high as 18% of the total population, or about 9.3 million people, reported state news agency NNT. (See story here.)

The national mental health survey is conducted every five years to study the link between psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. The most recent survey was conducted on nearly 5,000 subjects aged above 18 across Thailand during July and September of 2013.

The survey results indicated that as much as 1.9% of the country’s population, or one million people, suffer from mental problems.

In this group, 1.8% or 900,000 people suffer from depression while 1.6 million people suffer from anxiety. Around 500,000 adults are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Alcohol can contribute to the development of mental health problems, as well as exacerbating pre-existing ones,” Mr Boonruang noted.

“It can cause an individual to act on suicidal thoughts, which they would not have done if not under the influence of alcohol.”

He said that alcohol would lead to negative effects on the drinkers, their family, community, society, and the country as a whole.

 

 

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