Tackle alcoholism among youth with the seriousness it deserves

Some youth suffer from alcohol addiction as a result of unresolved childhood traumas. [Istockphoto]

For a long time, alcohol has been demonised and those who take too much of it are considered lost and unrespectable. Alcohol is one of the most known psychoactive drugs that are classified as wines, distilled spirits and beer.

Since many of the youths are unemployed, they end up joining the desperate trail of drunkards to ‘help’ them forget their miseries. In villages, one cannot fail to meet a drunkard full of remorse and promising that the last drink he had would be the last. The pungent alcoholic smell out of their mouths is enough to wake one from a coma. Sunken eyes, unkempt straggly hair, dry skins, sticking-out ribs define them.

Some youth suffer from alcohol addiction as a result of unresolved childhood traumas. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th Edition, psychodynamic theory understands that substance abuse results from the inability to resolve childhood or past issues. Some have undergone untold pain but muscled their way through fog and mud to survive. 

No one ought to judge them, but try to understand the root cause of their drinking. Young ladies and grandmothers have not been left behind. Females largely risk getting babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) characterised by low birth weight, mental retardation, among others. Apart from attracting poverty, alcohol addiction causes serious long-term effects.

These include harm to the fetus during pregnancy, stomach and mouth ulcers, liver cirrhosis, increased risk of cancer, diabetes, anemia, brain damage, loss of memory, poor vision, heart disease, ovarian and testicular illnesses, domestic violence, poor parenting, poor financial management among others. In as much as many families have lost hope in their beloved, necessary assessments ought to be done as a way to begin treatment. Assessment is done by first asking the individual if they have tried to cut drinking if they get annoyed when people tell them to stop or if they ever feel guilty about drinking.

The next stage for treatment is detoxification which requires constant supervision. Rehabilitation is the next method of treatment where one goes through six stages of behaviour change, namely, the denial stage, and contemplation where addicts accept the problem but are not ready to change. The third is preparation where they begin to prepare for changes, fourth is maintenance whereby they work hard to avoid relapsing and the last stage is called termination where they acquire a new mindset to keep going.

Since the treatment stage requires a lot of support from dear ones, it is crucial to advise the individuals on ways that cause relapse. I would urge the church and government to collaborate to ensure the permanent elimination of alcohol use. Additionally, they should offer free rehabilitation services since many addicts may not afford treatment plans for their well-being.

Ms Tanui is a Journalist

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