Punjab, India

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Alcohol Abuse in Rural Punjab

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Introduction Punjab is a state in northern India comprised of a mainly Punjabi-speaking Sikh minority Population. Due to these differences in religion and language, there exists a culture in Punjab which has its unique challenges and problems. One of these problems the state faces is the high rates of alcohol use and abuse, especially in rural villages. Data collected from multiple studies paint a clear picture that Punjab has higher rates of mental morbidity than the national average with alcohol use disorder being the biggest problem. These rates of alcohol use disorder rise even higher when we focus on areas in rural Punjab. Alcohol abuse is an important issue to highlight in rural Punjab because alcohol use disorder is a mental illness that significantly impacts physical health. It has been reported that worldwide there are an estimated 2.9 million deaths each year due to substance use disorders with alcohol use disorder contributing to 2.7 million of these deaths (Nadkarni et al., 2016). It has also been shown that alcohol abuse is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes (World Health Organization, 2015). It is clear the impact that alcohol use disorder can have on public health and why it is important to investigate this problem in Punjab. As we investigate rates of alcohol abuse in Punjab and specifically rural communities in the state, we will find that they are higher than the national average due to a lack of education and other mental illnesses.

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