Alcoholism: A Guide Out of The Foolishness


The very first day in this month is called April Fool’s Day. Now, I know this is not news; most of us no longer fall for the pranks anyway. What you probably don’t know is that while we step into April glorifying goofiness and practical jokes that make sweet relationships sour, the whole month is dedicated to the awareness of another act of foolishness – alcoholism. This particular one doesn’t stop with ruining relationships but extending the reach of its wrecking ball into jobs and one’s whole life.

In truth, alcohol affects everyone differently. However, alcohol joins tobacco, cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs on the list of substances whose abuse has been linked to increased likelihood of the loss of life, physical damage or alcoholism; an addictive health disorder. One might wonder: when do I cross the line from an evening of high spirits (pun intended) into the slippery slope of alcoholism? WeMD gave clears answers: generally speaking, males shouldn’t take more than 4 drinks per day or more than 14 in a week; it shouldn’t be more than 3 drinks per day or 7 drinks in a week for the females.

But how much is one drink if you must be drunk; is it one barrel or 50 cl? Since the alcohol content of each drink varies, it should be expected that the limit quantity for an Absolut Vodka that contains up to 40% alcohol can’t be the same as that of beer which is usually around 5%. Therefore, a drink is an equivalent of 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 ounces of distilled spirits like Vodka. If you are wondering how do you measure all these, coincidentally, the lines on the body of the red solo cup is a good fit for measuring. It is also important to always pour your own drink and avoid mixing of different types of drinks which can lead to a toxic combo.

A red solo cup

The Red Solo Cup

Credit: Centre for Wellness Promotion

It has been identified that denial is one major factor that prevents people from acknowledging when they slip into the abyss of alcoholism and more unfortunate that their loved one that should have been their caregivers share in the denial thereby preventing those affected from seeking for help. When we couple this with the fact that most students of the University of Ibadan are now living off campus where there is easy access to alcohol, it therefore comes handy setting some facts right about alcoholism.

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Facts About Alcoholism

The use of alcohol is probably as old as civilisation

Ever wondered who were the guys that discovered drinking fermented liquids feels like a cool thing to do? While it might be impossible to trace back to these guys, latest research on archaeological findings from Jiahu, a village in China, has revealed that the earliest alcoholic beverage dates back to 7000 – 6600 BCE when humans at that time used fermented drink from rice, honey and hawthorn fruit and/or grape, flavoured with some herbs and flowers as herbal wines. Perhaps the acts of using beers to heal sorrows and stress can be traced to Egypt and Sumeria, as they started making them as early as 4000 BC (about 6000 years ago).

You only need 25 to 30 percent of your liver to maintain normal body functions

The liver is one of the organs excessive use of alcohol affects, as it is the site where alcohol is broken down. It is, however, hard to make people already battling alcoholism to see this because firstly, they can’t see the way alcohol is slicing and biting through their liver and secondly, the liver has very high regenerative abilities. In fact, it has been proven through organ donation procedures that humans can lose up to 40 to 60 percent of their liver and it will regrow to its original size. This gives people taking excessive alcohol a very long rope to pull. They start thinking they are invincible and it fuels their denial, but what happens when the level of damage leaves you with 20% or probably 5%? There is a limit to what your liver can endure; you’re human, not Wolverine, the X-men mutant.

The slow-mo experience that comes with intoxication is not a film trick

In actual sense, you are the one that gets slowed down when you take excessive alcohol, even though it feels like the world is lagging behind. The substances in alcohol mess with your neurotransmitters, which are essential chemical parts of your brain, which causes a slowdown in the rate of your reaction and perception. This is the explanation for the numerous road accidents and injuries people under the influence of alcohol suffer.

Alcohol affects all of your systems

Alcohol goes into your brain and reduces the size, thereby limiting brain functions; it affects your heart and the way it pumps blood; muscle functions are also compromised; and it hampers fertility.

While it might be difficult to escape the grip of alcoholism like every other addictive substance, it is not an impossible feat. Ways that has been proven to work include to first of all admit that you have a chronic health emergency to deal with, compare the costs of your actions and inactions, set up realistic goals and a solid support system to help you swim back offshore and have a determination to do better with your lifestyle.

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