For a long time, alcohol has been demonized and those who drink too much of it are seen as lost and disrespectful. Alcohol is one of the best known psychoactive drugs which are classified as wines, distilled spirits and beer.
As many young people are unemployed, they end up joining the desperate trail of drunks to “help” them forget their miseries. In the villages, one cannot fail to meet a drunkard full of remorse and promising that the last glass he drinks would be the last. The pungent smell of alcohol that comes out of their mouths is enough to wake someone up from a coma. Sunken eyes, disheveled hair, dry skin, protruding ribs define them.
Some young people suffer from alcohol addiction due to unresolved childhood trauma. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition, psychodynamic theory understands that substance abuse results from the inability to deal with childhood or past problems. Some suffered untold pain but fought their way through fog and mud to survive.
No one should judge them, but try to understand the root cause of their drinking. Young ladies and grandmothers are not left out. Women are at high risk of having babies with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) characterized by low birth weight, mental retardation, among others. In addition to attracting poverty, alcohol addiction causes serious long-term effects.
These include fetal damage during pregnancy, stomach and mouth ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, increased risk of cancer, diabetes, anemia, brain damage, memory loss, poor vision, heart disease, ovarian and testicular diseases, domestic violence, poor parenting, poor financial management among others. Since many families have lost hope in their loved one, necessary assessments should be done to begin treatment. The assessment is done by first asking the individual if they have tried to cut down on their drinking, if they are annoyed when people tell them to stop, or if they have ever felt guilty to drink.
The next stage of treatment is detoxification which requires constant monitoring. Rehabilitation is the next method of treatment where one goes through six stages of behavior change namely the denial and contemplation stage where addicts accept the problem but are not ready to change. The third is preparation where they begin to prepare for the changes, the fourth is maintenance where they work hard to avoid relapse and the final stage is called termination where they gain a new mindset to carry on.
Since the treatment stage requires a lot of support from loved ones, it is crucial to counsel individuals on ways that cause a relapse. I urge the church and government to work together to ensure the permanent elimination of alcohol consumption. Moreover, they should offer free rehab services as many addicts cannot afford treatment plans for their wellbeing.
Mrs. Tanui is a journalist