Hyderabad: Amid the lockdown, the number of alcohol withdrawal cases reported at Erragadda Mental Hospital has increased. The hospital which usually sees four to five such cases per day is now being flooded with more than 100 cases.

All wine shops in the city were shut down after a lockdown was declared on 25 March. This has led to an increase in the number of patients reporting to the hospital with symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Uma Shankar, told NewsMeter, “The Mental Hospital is a poor people’s hospital and the poor mostly consume alcohol from tardy shops which have been closed due to the lockdown. These shops sell adulterated alcohol and that is why we are seeing so many patients these days.”

He said on 31 March a total of 190 cases of alcohol withdrawal was reported in the hospital. “We treat the patients based on their symptoms. Some have mild symptoms so they are advised medication, while some have severe symptoms and are admitted to the hospital. Depending on their symptoms it takes from a week to a month to discharge a patient with alcohol withdrawal,” he said.

Another junior doctor from the hospital, explaining the symptoms of the patients, said, “Usually people with mild symptoms have shivering hands, while in more severe cases they cannot even identify their own parents and family members. The severity depends on addiction levels.”

One source from TB Chest Hospital told NewsMeter, “A family of three are under isolation in our hospital for suspected COVID-19 infection. The son, who is showing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, tried to attack a doctor who was treating him. Nothing happened to the doctor. If he tests negative, we will shift him to the Erragada Mental Hospital.”

On 27 March, a man from Banjara Hills committed suicide due to alcohol withdrawal.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter. A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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