Alcohol is a substance of abuse freely available globally. The impact of alcohol on health of consumers and others, and society and the economy is detrimental. Alcohol account for 200 diseases and injuries worldwide.
Sri Lanka is one of the worst hit countries, despite almost half of its population is lifetime abstainers. Various myths on alcohol, stigma on alcohol consumption, lack of knowledge about harms of alcohol and low risk drinking and lack of evidence-based strategy in policies regarding alcohol are contributory causes for this perilous situation.
The proposed study aims to adapt brief intervention, an effective strategy introduced by the WHO to reduce harmful drinking and associated harmful behaviours and test its feasibility and acceptability against two control arms. The follow-up period will be four weeks for the pilot study.
Dr. Dewasmika Ariyasinghe is a specialist in psychiatry, who is currently working as a senior lecturer in the department of psychiatry, faculty of medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She teaches and trains medical undergraduates and psychiatry postgraduate doctors. She also supervises MPhil students and dissertations. Her research interests include strategies to prevent alcohol related harms, cognitive decline in normal ageing and psychiatric illnesses and cognitive effects and renal adverse effects of lithium. She has done several publications.
Dr. Ariyasinghe has published books to improve mental health literacy of the general public and has written chapters in books. She writes to both English and Sinhala newspapers and does lectures in public fora on mental illnesses.
She enjoys reading, hiking and travelling in her leisure time. One of her main goals is to develop an effective strategy to minimize harms related to alcohol in Sri Lanka, and she has high hopes that the current intervention may work going by her experience of 17 years working with patients who are affected by alcohol and their family members.