Drinking alcohol is part of modern social material. Turn ups, braais and sundowners are the usual manner of behavior of the modern South African society. From a bottle of beer after work with friends to the glass of wine at dinner. In fact, almost every occasion is celebrated with a drink.
While there is nothing wrong with having a good time over a few glasses, the difficulty arises when one drinks like a fish and then later drives home under the influence.
Though statistic show a slight decrease of 2,5 percent in deaths on the road, 1,118 accidents were recorded on the road the 1st of December 2015 and January 5 2016. This number still brings fear to the population as most of the drivers involved in these accidents were DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
And while one doesn’t have to be a full-blown alcoholic to experience problems with alcohol, binge drinking and underage drinking are becoming more prevalent.
Binge drinking is regarded as drinking excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. During this pattern of drinking, the doors of alcohol are thrown wide open, often making one slide dangerously close to the brink of alcoholism.
Researches have reported that 26,6 percentage of the population aged 15 and above consumes 60g or more of pure alcohol over a month. There is a rise in the number of 11 to 17 who drink. The most worrying about this is that those who start drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin after the age of 20.
With the turn up lifestyle trending, endless partying encourages binge drinking on a large scale. Peer pressure, curiosity and wanting to appear as self-confident and grown up are often to blame.
Underage drinkers can never engage in responsible drinking, as they usually don’t have the maturity to understand the impact and consequences of excessive alcohol drinking.
Parents should worry about the studies that show that when teenagers are under the influence, they are more likely to engage in high risk sex and be involved in accidents.
SIGNS YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC
- Trying to quit but you cannot
- You drink excessive amount of alcohol and you drink fast
- You black out regularly
- You drink to relax or feel better
- Unable to stop once you start drinking
SIGNS YOU ARE A BINGE DRINKER
- You drink to get rid of boredom
- Drink when feeling depressed
- You drink to re-bond with friends
- You drink to relief stress and tension
- You drink more than you intend to
Most people don’t consider that downing drink after drink could lead to alcoholism- a chronic dependence on alcohol to a point where someone is physically and psychologically unable to function without it.
Two components of alcoholism: emotional/social and physical
When you have to drink to forget, sleep or relieve stress, this indicates that alcoholism is developing. And, when a person sacrifices healthy living and functioning as a result of drinking, like being unproductive or being late at work, and frequent relationship conflicts as a result of drinking, there is a problem.
The physical component refers to when a person is sober, they suffer form withdrawal symptoms, like shaking, vomiting, nausea and headaches. They need alcohol to feel normal.
Because drinking is an unshakable habit in our society, it made alcoholism an incredibly difficult disease to manage.
Alcohol is promoted and available almost everywhere, so trying to obtain a sober behavior is rather difficult.
There is a difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. There are those who abuse alcohol, but at the same time cannot be classified alcoholics. Liquor is found to be the most abused substance across Mzansi.
Gout, anaemia, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are just some of the health hazards associated with alcohol abuse.
Though 60% of South Africans actually drink alcohol, the majority of this population do it irresponsibly.