Drinking and smoking are glamorized today. It all starts with the first time. If we ask people why they consume alcohol or take drugs, they will give us host of reasons, such as: to celebrate; to have fun; to forget problems; to relax; to experiment; to impress; to be fashionable; to mingle; for business purposes.
Advertising has a great influence especially on teenage drinking. The advertisements try hard to present a glamorous image of the drunkard to the public. They do not present a disheveled fellow leaning against a lamppost. Rather they present a handsome couple enjoying wine by the candle light, a happy cricket fan smacking his lips after a glass of refreshing beer, etc.
Sometimes, it could be because of some peer pressure. Peer pressure compels with phrases such as:” Aren’t you my friend ?”, “One for the road “, “Don’t be so outdated “.
Many teenagers believe that alcohol is stimulant, i.e. , it makes you work/act faster. But medically speaking, alcohol is a depressant i.e. it slows you down and depresses the working of the brain.
It is not the taste of liquor that makes it popular, as by any account, the flavor of alcoholic beverages is unpleasant. But liquor is popular as it affects the user’s mood. So it may be quite reasonable to assume that people drink not because they like to drink, but because they like the affects of alcohol. There are also people who resort to liquor to stifle their conscience. It is not infrequent to find self – respecting and law abiding individuals who under the influence of liquor easily consent to evil conduct.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease associated with the excessive and habitual use of alcohol. If left unattended, this disease can worsen and kill the sufferer. Alcoholism is marked by physical dependency on alcohol and can cause disorders in many organs of the body, including the liver, stomach, intestines and brain. It is also associated with abnormal heart rhythms, with certain type of cancer, and because of loss of appetite, with poor nutrition. It has killed more people, wrecked more lives, broken up more families and wasted more money than any other drugs. It is readily available and easily abused and without realizing one becomes a slave to it.
There are five stages of intoxication, each more intense than previous one:
Feeling ‘happy’: Sociable, relaxed, talkative, unable to judge properly and loss of efficiency.
Feeling ‘excited’: Inability to think correctly and hence slow reactions, loss of control on one’s behavior.
Feeling ‘confused’: Staggering and indistinct speech, blurred vision, aggressive and moody.
Stupor: Inability to stand or walk, total loss of self-control: almost unaware of surroundings.
Coma: Complete unconsciousness, especially when large amounts of alcohol are gulped in quickly. At times, serious breathing problems, resulting in death.
The self- deception of the alcoholic who with the aid of alcohol feels strong when he is weak, adequate when he is failure, secure in spite of his insecurities and warm when he is cold, is the most serious obstacle to any meaningful cure. Treatment requires first ending the physical dependence, then making lifestyle changes that help the individual avoid relapse. In some cases, medication or hospitalization is needed.
Any habit can be broken if the required determination is present. Every alcoholic can thus stop drinking if he really desires to. However, a weakness of purpose is typical of the attitude of the alcoholic and so in spite of the many good intentions; he gives in easily to the temptation to take another drink whenever the going becomes tough. Helping the alcoholic to face reality squarely is the only successful way of curing him. This is so because drinking is a habit that gains its strength from the effect that alcohol produces in providing apparent temporary release from the obligations and frustrations of life.
Besides these factors, sound psychological and religious principles will help one emerge triumphant in one’s struggle against alcohol. Personal interest and an element of comradeship offered by understanding and caring individuals will also help the struggling alcoholic when he is tempted to drown his disappointments and discouragements in drinks.
Remember, alcoholism disrupts not only the life of the alcoholic but also the lives of his family members and has grave social consequences.
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