Thinking about alcoholism reminds me of a very pitiful scenario I saw on television. It was a small squirrel held in a trap set for it by a farmer. The moment the animal got into the trap, it began to wriggle; struggling to escape. As time went by, the squirrel resigned to fate only to resume struggling after a little while. This process continued for a while until the farmer came by and took it away.
In much the same way, alcoholism is indeed a trap if you consider its definition as a confining situation from which it is difficult to escape, and in which somebody is restricted. Medically, it has been established as an illness with its manifestation in a person’s use of alcohol frequently even in the face of the bad effects it has in the life of the person. Despite the fact that alcohol is commonly used all over, it is not without its own dangers, which this article will highlight. This is simply to alert and stop you from getting into the trap
Alcoholism and its Hazards
Alcoholism, which is dependence on alcohol consumption to an extent that it adversely affects social and work-related functioning is a condition that produces withdrawal symptoms, when intake is stopped or greatly reduced this is what makes it a trap and the moment a person gets to such a level, there are different degrees and types of hazards associated with it ranging from mental to physical, from emotional to spiritual and social.
First, there are medical hazards, which can ultimately lead to the damage of certain organs of the body such as the stomach, liver, eyes, heart etc. When some of these organs mentioned above are damaged, the following can be the resultant effects in an alcoholic’s body:
- Injury to the brain: Since alcoholism sedates a person’s CNS (central Nervous System) by extension, the nerve cells in the brain are depressed, and their ability to respond is distorted.
- Coma or Death: The usage of large dose of alcohol has been known to result into coma and ultimately death.
- Malfunction of Central Nervous System. When an alcoholic’s CNS begins to malfunction as a result of alcohol usage, judgment is impaired the person may lose concentration and may have series of emotional outburst.
- Damage to Liver: Alcoholism causes its victim’s liver to amass avoidable fat which may result into liver failure and or death.
- Damage to the Heart: The ability of the heart to pump blood is weakened by this habit and the heart may become enlarged and having irregular beat.
- Destruction of the stomach: Over time, alcoholism cause irritation for stomach lining and may result into ulcers as well as cancer of the stomach.
- Weakness of Bone: Alcoholism weakens a person’s bones after the capacity to take up calcium is affected. Thus, an alcoholic’s bones may become very thin, weak and soft.
- In another vein, there are numerous social hazards associated with alcoholism. Some of them are:
- Job Loss: When an individual forms the habit of drinking at work, perhaps, when it is against the policy of the workplace, what eventually happens is termination of such a person’s appointment after several warnings.
- Financial Mess: Due to the fact that this social vice requires that a person spends a relatively huge amount of money on it, it may affect his or her financial status leading to being heavily into debt or even stealing. Some parents cannot pay their children’s school fees at the right time simply because the funds for the fees have been spent on bottles of alcohol. This could lead to embarrassment for the children and the parents even.
- Domestic Violence: A person can misbehave under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, it is known to increase the likelihood of spouse battering especially because alcohol usage impairs a person’s judgment and triggers emotional outbursts.
- Clashes with the law: Alcoholism has been known to get people into clashes with law enforcement officers. Sometimes, it may be as a result of a disagreement between the alcoholic and a friend or because the alcoholic had to steal money or other material things.
- Social Ills: Alcoholism has the tendency of making someone commit anti-social vices. When people commit crimes such as rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and other anti-social vices, most times they do brazenly only after they have consumed alcohol. This is not unconnected with the fact that alcohol gives a person a false sense of ‘boldness’ and unusual strength and they assume they can do anything.
- Dangerous Driving: Do not drink and drive is a cliché in most societies and this is because a person driving under the influence of alcohol has every tendency to make wrong judgments behind the wheel. This is the situation alcoholics find themselves.
Finally, alcoholism affects a person academically. Most times, when students are caught in this trap, it eventually leads them into stabbing classes or missing tests and lectures which will tell on their overall academic performance. It is equally possible that the time alcohols is affecting a person negatively is the time he or she is needed to write a very important test and when he misses it he may have to spend extra semester or an extra session in school to cover for the lost ground.
Similarly, low grades are often associated with students who are affected by alcoholism because they just can’t seem to concentrate on their studies. They are either busy searching for funds to buy bottles of alcoholic beverages or busy attending parties where they will get access to free bottles of drinks.
There are quite a host of other hazards which alcoholism has but one thing is certain, it is not what the trouble. It is much better never to get into the trap of alcoholism than make attempts to get out. The consequences and negative effects outweigh whatever temporary pleasure anyone can derive from alcohol usage.
— Dr. Vijay Srivastava – MD (Psychiatry)