Among all the forms of addiction that currently plague the lives of millions of people living in Malaysia, alcoholism is one that has been given the least attention. Sure, it’s “just alcohol” like a lot of ignorant people say. It’s, however, important to understand that every form of addiction is bad. It doesn’t matter whether it’s narcotics or be it alcohol or morphine or idealism.

Addiction itself adversely affects the chemistry of the brain, our mental health,  and our bodies in ways too heavy for the fainthearted to comprehend. But in this article, we’ll be dissecting the hydra-headed public health issue of alcoholism in Malaysia. Read on to discover early warning signs of alcoholism and how best to prevent, manage and treat the condition.


A lot of people still carry the wrong believe that alcoholism is a “Western problem,” and therefore not prevalent in countries like Malaysia. However, a study carried out by graduates of the Universiti Teknologi Mara revealed that teens as little as 15 years of age in Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia), were already chronic alcohol drinkers. In fact, Kuala Lumpur was named the world’s 10th largest consumer of alcohol in 2011 despite the tiny population and size. In that same year, it was reported that Malaysians had spent over 1.5 billion Malaysian Ringgit on alcohol with an average per capita consumption of 7 liters.

The study whose primary aim was to examine the prevalence of “Alcoholism among youth in Kuala Lumpur,” and it revealed that 45 percent out of 150 respondents aged 15 to 24 had consumed alcohol with 28 percent being 17-year-olds. It stated that beer and cheap spirits locally known as “Samsu” were Malaysians’ favorite.

Alcoholism, also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) actually refers to any excessive drinking of alcohol that eventually results in physical or mental health problems. Alcohol is not only causing numerous health issues, but it also contributes to a significant increase in the number of accidents making the addicts a danger to themselves and others. Alcoholism also accounts for 16 times higher absenteeism from workplaces and lower productivity in Malaysia.

What could be causing this increasingly prevalent public health issue among the youths of Malaysia?


Alcoholism in Malaysia is caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors that interact to influence the risk of that individual developing the condition. A lot of fingers can be pointed at the readily available varieties of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets, coffee shops, sundry shops and plantations, coupled with the aggressive advertising strategies utilized by production companies in Malaysia.

However, just because they’re making them doesn’t mean you have to drink them. The problem of binge drinking in Malaysia is determined by factors such as the ease of access to alcohol, the very low price and availability of alcohol in the market.

The risk of developing alcohol dependence can also be significantly influenced by the same genes that are responsible for the metabolism of alcohol. The family history of alcoholism, therefore, might be an indication of impending alcohol use disorder. People who have A genetic disposition to alcoholism show a greater tendency to start drinking at an earlier age. Childhood traumatic experiences and the lack of peer and family support generally increases the risks of alcoholism developing.


The one problem with alcohol addiction is that it’s very difficult to distinguish between someone who’s just enjoying the occasional drink and someone who has an alcohol problem. Well, here are five ways you can tell whether your loved ones are battling with alcohol abuse disorder.

  1. The Individual Constantly Neglects His/Her Responsibilities. If a person is consistently performing poorly and avoiding responsibilities either at work, school or at home as a result of his/her alcohol consumption, then they have a drinking problem. Perhaps they’re still hungover at work from last night’s sorrow-drowning outing, or they feel anxious and unable to focus at work until they’re able to finish and start drinking again.
  2. He/She Repeatedly Gets Into Trouble With The Cops. If he or she repeatedly gets arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or they always exhibit reckless and irresponsible behavior that often accompanies alcohol addiction, then they have a drinking problem. Repeatedly consuming alcohol even though it causes them to get in trouble is a sign of alcohol dependency.
  3. If Alcohol Seems Like The Only Way To Relax. Everyone gets stressed out every once in a while. Stress itself has become a mainstay in the lives of billions of people in the world today. You realize that there may be an underlying issue with alcohol dependence when people only turn to alcohol to de-stress or relax. The problem is that alcohol is a depressant, so for addicted drinkers, the feelings of stress and anxiety are amplified to cause an increased craving for a drink.
  4. If Relationships Become Stretched Or Broken As A Result Of Poor Drinking Habits. Our family and friends are always there to support us whenever we go through hard times. However, if our relationship with them is under threat because of alcohol consumption, and it seems impossible to stop, then there’s a problem. Someone in the grips of alcohol addiction often becomes oblivious to the needs of others and the suffering they cause their relationship partners and loved ones. This often leads to feeling alienated by their loved ones.
  5. If They Start To Become Dangerous To Their Coworkers. It’s evident that there’s a drinking problem if the addicted individual is experiencing impaired work performance because of his/her alcohol addiction and this could be even more disastrous if they handle heavy machinery or driving at work. Even mixing alcohol with prescription drugs can have devastating effects on a person’s work performance. A person with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) remains oblivious to these dangers.


The question on everybody’s minds is how can we prevent alcoholism from taking over Malaysia? One very practical approach is the forming of strict alcohol policies by the World Health Organization, the European Union, etc., to reduce the purchase and use of alcohol by teenagers and adolescents.

Presently in Malaysia, primary health care and hospital-based infrastructures have been put in place to focus on intervention and treatment among people diagnosed with alcohol use disorder and dependence. Treatments of alcoholism are varied because there are multiple perspectives to the addiction. It could be treated as a medical condition or as a social choice. Regardless of how it’s viewed, treatment and management are aimed to put an end to the compulsive drinking behavior in Malaysians.

One can only sit back and reflect on these words of American musician Moby, “What fascinates me about addiction and obsessive behavior is that people would choose an altered state of consciousness that’s toxic and ostensibly destroys most aspects of your normal life because for a brief moment you feel okay.”

Not sure if you or your loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction? Do you notice some of these tell-tale signs in their life? It’s best to get a professional assessment. We have professionals who have successfully handled cases of alcoholism that can help you with a full evaluation while maintaining a high degree of privacy and confidentiality. We can help you get over your alcohol problem that you have no control of. Contact us today for an assessment that will change your life for the better.

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