Alcohol has been a problem for many Kenyan youths who run to it expecting to find solace and happiness but on the contrary, it has cost some of them their lives.
Doctors say that over consumption of alcohol causes a large number of deaths in the world and Kenya is no exception, adding that it also causes various health problems to the victim.
In fact, the problem is so serious that recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a countrywide crackdown on illegal brews which has been said to destroy many lives of young people and families in some parts of the country.
John Njau, a recovering alcoholic in Narok says that his friends introduced him to alcohol when he was in high school. He says that he always thought that he would be a moderate drinker but with time, he found that he had graduated into heavy drinking.
“At that time in high school you know, money is not a big problem as parents provide every cent expecting that one is putting the money to good use, but after school, the load of financing drinking habits gets heavy forcing one to go for cheap liquor where he gets drunk fast on very toxic liquor and slowly get addicted,” he says.
Experts say that the alcoholics start small and grow into heavy drinkers due to addiction where it becomes a problem to stop. Counselors and medics agree that alcoholism is a sickness like any other disease and an alcoholic will go to any length to get the drink, even if it means selling their belongings, in total disregard on the effect on their health and lives.
Peter Kimani another Narok resident says, “My brother committed suicide in drunken stupor after he found that his wife had poured the extra liquor he had kept in the house into the toilet.”
Kimani says that his brother used illicit liquor due to lack of money to buy the standard alcohol but is quick to add that both types of alcohol; the legal and the illegal have negative effects on health in the long run.
Alcohol has also been a cause of families’ break-ups sometimes due to the male inability to meet his family obligations. Scientists says that alcohol overconsumption leads to damage of the central nervous system hence leading to lack of sexual desires and impotence in men.
Some women whose families have been affected by alcohol are now appreciating the President for the crackdown order which they say will save families from alcoholism.
“At the moment I know that within a year I will be having a child of my own since my husband is changing as he is moving away from alcohol,” a woman who was part of a team that was destroying illicit brew in Narok town said.
Alcohol has also been blamed as a big cause of the rise in spread of HIV and AIDs and other social evils in the society where researchers says that a drunk person is sometimes not in the right frame of mind to make a sound decision.
Victoria Chepkorir, a University of Eldoret student studying Food Science and Nutrition says that many people who get to the habit of over drinking do not take the required food to handle the alcohol saying, that is the reason when such a person is infected by ulcers.
“When going to take alcohol it is advisable to avoid acidic food like beans since they are corrosive and such foods lead to ulcers in many cases,” Chepkorir says.
The student says that drunk people don’t get the attention they require such as getting a person to prepare them lemon water which makes such a person relax and feel comfortable.
Doctors say alcohol abuse is associated with widespread and significant brain lesions (injuries). They say alcohol related brain damage is not only due to the direct toxic effects of alcohol but also alcohol withdrawal, nutritional deficiency, electrolyte disturbances, and liver damage.
“This could be the reason as to why the people who are heavy drinkers forget things easily and also one of the reasons a drunkard can be involved in bestiality since the brain is not functioning as normally,” Dr. Kiio says.
Researchers have said that it is wrong for a person to take alcohol to boost their confidence in the public as it has its side effects in case of a long-term misuse. It is said this could worsen social phobia symptoms and could also cause panic disorder.
Excessive alcohol intake is associated with impaired prospective memory. This problem makes one to procrastinate (to put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness, or, to postpone or delay needlessly) and that is why you will find that a person forgets to do a simple duty such as zipping their trouser.
“The higher the volume of alcohol consumed and the longer consumed, the more severe the impairments. One of the organs most sensitive to the toxic effects of chronic alcohol consumption is the brain,” adds Dr. Kiio.
The government efforts to fight alcohol abuse should be lauded by all as a society whose people are affected negatively by alcohol cannot move forward. People affected by this problem need our empathy and support to recover. These patients need understanding and support of the whole family as they undergo rehabilitation to recover from the problem. Doctors too, should be extensively involved to restore their health and also help them deal with withdrawal symptoms which often kill the victim if not dealt with.
Narok County leading online newspaper.
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