Never mind that the teen’s parents had locked her up in her room in their fifth-storey HDB flat.
The 18-year-old girl unlocked her window grilles and climbed out – all because she needed her alcohol.
She was unscathed in the ordeal, but her family decided that it was time for professional help.
This case was cited by Dr Munidasa Winslow, a psychiatrist in private practice, to illustrate the problem with alcohol addiction and binge drinking among women here.
Just how bad is it?
According to an article published in the Singapore Medical Journal last month, binge drinking among young Singaporeans is reaching US levels.
And the fastest-growing group is women aged between 18 and 29.
Binge drinking is categorised by the Ministry of Health as having six or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion.
Dr Winslow said that most people who binge drink maybe dealing with underlying issues.
Referring to the case of the 18-year-old girl who indulged in binge drinking often, he said: “She was from a broken home and couldn’t speak to her parents.
“She felt the only people she could relate to were her drinking friends. After the (climbing) incident, her grandmother got her to seek treatment.”
Dr Winslow,who specialises in addiction, used to be the chief of the Institute of Mental Health’s Addiction Medicine Department.
As with the teen, intervention may be needed for other young women who are addicted to alcohol or who engage frequently in binge drinking.
Drop by places like Clarke Quay on a Friday or Saturday night and chances are that you’ll spot intoxicated young women sprawled on the ground.
Jane (not her real name), 45, started drinking when she was in the university.
An occasional mug of beer quickly grew into a habit.
By age 25, she was playing dare with friends to see who could last the night on tequila shots.
But she has since been hit by a litany of medical problems, including diabetes, as a result. Said psychologist Frances Yeo: “From a woman’s perspective, they could lose out more (than men could when they get drunk).
“For instance, they could engage in high-risk behaviours such as unsafe sex, which would lead to unwanted pregnancies. ”
Added Dr Winslow: “The problem for younger folks is that unless something bad happens, they tend to continue their drinking, thinking that bad stuff will never happen to them.”
Psychiatrist Brian Yeo agreed, saying that most binge drinkers don’t seek help until it affects their health or social lives.
Shakes and tremors
He said: “Some of them are brought in because of gastric problems...or shakes and tremors.
“Others are brought in by family members because it has resulted in violence or job-related problems.”
Dr Winslow said that these young people are often brought in by their parents and usually, they would have started drinking even before the legal age of 18.
Most binge drinkers don’t even know they have a problem.
Psychologist Daniel Koh said that most people don’t know they have been binge drinking until they are asked to record the number of drinks they downed.
He said: “They’re drinking either to feel numb or high. After a while, there’s the pressure to drink more to reach the same level of pleasure.
“It’s like gambling. They start small but it goes out of control. Alcohol also impairs judgment and reasoning.”
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