You’re Of Age!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! So it’s your 19th birthday and you’re finally old enough to drink (without getting in trouble)! And you’re faced with a choice. You can choose to try this magical elixir that’s so popular amongst high-schoolers or you can opt out and stick to juice and water.
When I was 19, I decided to experiment…try out this drink that everyone seemed to love. Hated it. Hated the taste of it and hated the way it made me feel. I felt out of control and vulnerable, as if I could be easily manipulated by anyone. And that’s when I made my choice not to drink alcohol. I’ve been told that I made the wrong decision, that I don’t know how to have fun, and that I don’t belong at parties because I was a buzzkill. Those comments don’t make me want to change my decision though. It just makes me realize how strong of an impact peer pressure can have on an individual, and how dependent people are on alcohol. I also realize how many social effects there are in relation to alcohol abuse.
“I’m A Social Drinker…”
I work on a surgical floor as a Registered Nurse. And when doing my assessments pre- and post-operatively, I have to assess whether my patients smoke, use recreational drugs, drink alcoholic beverages – and if so, how much they drink. And most often, the response I get is “I’m a social drinker… just a couple beers or so”. And to most people, that doesn’t really count as being a “drinker”.
The UK’s National Health Service is right in stating that “social drinkers” are at risk of developing long-term health conditions associated with their large amounts of alcohol consumption. Often “social drinkers” will get wasted every Friday, and maybe every Saturday too, or during the week. Many “social drinkers” engage in binge drinking – consuming drink after drink after drink in a short period of time.
But it doesn’t even need to be that extreme. Even having three or four drinks a day or most days without ever getting drunk can be damaging to your health.
In a study, the NHS found that over 9 million people in England drink more than the advised daily amount. 15, 000 people in England die from alcohol-related deaths every year and out of that number, 32% of deaths were due to liver disease, 21% were due to cancer and 17% from cardiovascular illnesses such as strokes or heart diseases.
A Common Misconception
Many of the negative consequences of alcohol are associated with being an alcoholic or abusing alcohol in some manner. The CCFA ontario drug rehab will allow you to take your life back from the most common drug, alcohol. As NHS points out, many believe that having wine with their dinner is not something that should worry them – especially because it isn’t associated with drunken behaviour. But if the amount of alcohol consumed is over the advised amount of daily alcoholic intake, it actually can cause the same negative effects as abusing alcohol. Maybe not as fast, but it may still cause serious side-effects.
To see if you need to cut down, NHS provides a link to a drinking self-assessment which will help you assess whether you are drinking over the recommended limit. If you are, you’ll get some advice on how to cut down. Monitoring your alcoholic intake is also useful, in that it makes it easier to cut down if you realize you’re drinking more than you actually thought you were. Wondering how to track how much you drink when drinks come in all kinds of percentages, shapes and sizes? NHS also provides a handy unit calculator which helps convert and track the amount you drink. By following these tips, you can learn to be a safer social drinker.
We Are All Connected To Each Other…
Abuse of alcohol and the poisonous effect does not merely touch one individual. Alcohol affects society as a whole – even those who are unconnected to the individual. For example, alcohol use decreases judgement and reaction time. As a result, those who have consumed alcohol make risky drivers and can put the lives of others, as well as theirs, at risk. Impaired judgement due to alcohol also leads to bad decisions such as unprotected sex and criminal offences.
West Virginia University’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center’s site and The Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 from the World Health Organization (WHO) make it obvious that alcohol use negatively affects various aspects of life which we aptly called social effects of alcohol abuse. Among the things they list are the following:
If you’ve read this blog and realized that you may be a heavy drinker and you’re currently abusing alcohol – this isn’t the end! Find help with CCFA’s Toronto alcohol rehab centre. Rehab centres are there to help individuals just like yourself. Seek and ye shall find.— Alcohol Abuse