Case no: 1
A man in his 50’s, of Goldhunga, Kathmandu got into the habit of consuming alcohol from early in the morning after the massive earthquake.
His three and half storey house was severely damaged in the devastating earthquake. Authorities have assigned red sticker to his house, implying that the building has to be demolished.
The man, who earlier was a social drinker, had migrated a few years ago from Nawalparasi district after selling all his ancestral properties to invest in the house in Kathmandu. Moreover, he had invested all his savings, jewelries of his wife and loans taken from a bank to build the house.
He had been paying the bank loans in installments from rent collected from tenants, all of whom vacated the rooms that are now unoccupied.
His family now lives in a makeshift shelter paying rent. Contractors have demanded over Rs 1 million in order to demolish his house and clear the debris.
Case no: 2
A woman, an executive in a reputed INGO, was on the sixth floor of her house, when the 7.9 Richter scale earthquake rocked Nepal in April. In the beginning, she could not figure out what was going on. When she saw adjoining houses and nearby buildings collapse, she thought that she would not survive the day.
The woman was so traumatized by the devastating earthquake that she hasn’t been able to sleep at night since. She started taking help of alcohol for sound sleep. Now she has become addicted to alcohol and her family has sought the help of psychologists at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) to get her out of the addiction. Doctors at the hospital said that the woman was suffering from post traumatic disorder in the beginning and is now struggling with anxiety disorder.
Aforementioned are just representative cases. Doctors and police officials say that rate of alcohol consumption has gone up dramatically following the devastating earthquake.
Over 8,600 people died more than 20,000 got injured, and thousands were rendered homeless by the earthquake and aftershocks.
“A lot of people have turned to alcohol to forget the losses caused by the massive earthquake,” Dr Saroj Ojha, chief of the Psychiatric Department at the TUTH, said. He estimated that cases of psychological disorder have spiked by 20 percent at the hospital since the devastating earthquake.
Moreover, people seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, too, have increased after the earthquake. “We see about eight to ten people struggling with alcohol addition every day,” informed Dr Ojha.
Dr Deep Malla, a psychiatrist at Norvic International Hospital, said that alcohol addition has risen after the earthquake. “We have been dealing with new alcohol related cases every day,” said Dr Malla, adding that even the people who gave up drinking liquor have started drinking after the earthquake.
Among them is a reputed real estate businessman. The apartment he had invested in incurred heavy loss in the earthquake. The pressure to pay hefty interest to bank weighed so heavily on him that he has started to drink from early morning.
“His family even tried to keep him in a rehab center but to no avail,” informed Dr Malla. He said that the man has been prescribed anti-depressants to fight off anxiety.
Bishow Raj Pokhrel, Superintendent of Police (SP) at Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said that the trend of alcohol consumption might indeed have increased post earthquake. “So far it hasn’t caused serious law and order problem as most people who have turned to drinking to relieve themselves from stress seem to be drinking at home,” said SP Pokhrel.