CHENNAI: The lockdown has been an unpleasant experience for many, spurring negative emotions due to loneliness and despair. Consequently, substance addiction has been on the rise. To address this, AMK NGO, in association with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, recently launched a State-wide helpline number for tele-counseling.
Managed by a team of three counselors and two doctors, the group is stationed in Kanyakumari, but offers counselling services across the State. The helpline numbers are 75981 82222, 93423 44129 and 93423 11365, and the service can be availed free of cost between 8 am and 8 pm. The team has been receiving at least 150 calls daily, and a large number of them are from Chennai.
“Since liquor shops are closed, those who are addicted to alcohol can’t drink, and suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Many of them get frustrated and often beat their companions or children. Most calls we get are from the wives, who ask us how to tackle the situation,” said Arul Kannan, director, AMK.
He added, “Health experts and counselors are providing tele-treatment and counseling for psychological problems such as anxiety, irritation and restlessness, and health problems such as difficulty in sleeping, giddiness, sweating, fluttering, headache, stomachache and poor appetite. We also look into problems such as confusion and abnormal behavior.”
Also, those who recover from addiction to substances face several psychological and health-related problems. So the NGO makes follow-up calls. ll government-funded de-addiction centres have been asked to start free tele-counseling centres so drug addicts and recovered addicts can easily avail the services. Raising caution over the risk of alcohol dependence, Kannan said excessive and regular drinking can lead to severe health issues, both physical and psychological, and could cause alcohol-induced psychotic disorder.
Just a call away
The counselling helpline numbers are 75981 82222, 93423 44129 and 93423 11365, and the service can be availed free of cost between 8 am and 8 pm. The team has been receiving at least 150 calls daily, and a most are from Chennai