The problems caused by alcoholism in South Africa have been the subject of research conducted by the government and other health organizations for several years. According to the findings of the studies, drinking is associated with a wide variety of issues. Some of South Africa’s obvious alcoholism problems may be related to the fact that alcohol consumption can lead to a variety of health complications.
Abuse of alcohol over a long period of time can lead to cirrhosis of the liver in addition to the damage to other organs. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can also result in physical complications. Drinking to excess not only increases the risk of committing suicide but also increases the risk of accidental death. According to one school of thought in the field of psychology, drinking alcohol lowers a person’s sense of agency, making them less able to deal with difficult situations, and disabling the barriers that would normally prevent them from hurting themselves. As a result, a drunk person is more likely to take their own life.
One of the issues that contribute to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is alcoholism, and one of the issues that contribute to alcoholism in South Africa is the fact that drunk individuals are more inclined to engage in unsafe sexual behavior. This raises the likelihood of them becoming infected with or transmitting HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This happens because of the promiscuity that comes along with a loss of inhibitions brought on by intoxication, as well as because of the failure to take preventative measures while engaging in sexual activity.
When a Person Does Not Eat Healthily, Their Immune System Suffers the Consequences
Because of this, malnutrition can contribute to the problem of alcoholism in South Africa by increasing the likelihood that drinkers will become susceptible to opportunistic diseases. People who get a substantial chunk of their calories from alcohol (which indicates that they are not eating properly) are at an increased risk of developing organ damage as a result of their drinking habits.
Especially in the Western Cape, there has been an extremely increasing incidence rate of fetal alcohol syndrome in infants. This is a worldwide problem. This happens when an expectant mother consumes excessive amounts of alcohol while she is still pregnant. These infants will have a difficult time leading a normal life because they are born with a specific set of disabilities and will face challenges along the way. Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome are easily identifiable by the characteristics of having small eye openings, a smooth philtrum, and a thin upper lip. This is a particularly heartbreaking illustration of the issues surrounding alcoholism in South Africa.
Consuming Alcohol to Excess is Also Linked to Criminal Behavior
The increased caseload caused by alcohol-related misdemeanors and felonies also has an effect on the criminal justice system. Abusers of alcohol put themselves in a more precarious position to become victims of crime because they are more likely to be intoxicated. When a person is drunk, they are more susceptible to being mugged and are more probable to roam into risky situations that they would normally avoid. This research was inspired by the observation that common sense tells us that this is the case.
According to the findings of a study that was carried out by the Medical Research Council in the year 2002, 46 percent of people who passed away from causes that were not natural had an abnormally high level of alcohol in their blood. The percentage of people who died as a result of being killed in a car accident or by another person was significantly higher. This exemplifies the serious and potentially lethal nature of the alcoholism problem in South Africa. This pattern was also found to be present in Intensive Care Units (ICU), where 39% of all patients turning up in a trauma unit had a breath alcohol concentration that was higher than the legal limit for driving a vehicle.
In South Africa, specialized treatment facilities for people with alcoholism problems found that just over half of all people who checked into rehab reported that alcohol was their primary drug of abuse. As a result, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of people needing treatment in rehabilitation facilities; this fact alone ought to prompt us to question whether or not the abuse of this substance should be regarded as normal and acceptable.
Lowering Alcoholism Concerns in South Africa
Research conducted on a global scale has demonstrated that there is more than one approach that has the potential to be successful in lowering the amount of alcohol abuse that occurs in society.
Limiting people’s access to alcohol is one strategy that comes to mind immediately. This can be achieved through legal restrictions on who can sell alcohol, when they can sell it, and the prohibition of sales to people under the age of 18. Increasing the amount of tax that is placed on alcoholic beverages is yet another strategy. Because of this, their prices go up, which makes it more difficult for people to consume as much of them. The additional tax may be put toward the development of programs that address the challenges posed by alcoholism in South Africa.
As a measure to discourage this risky behavior, the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are significantly more severe than they were in the past. In addition, the government has made financial investments in mobile testing units, which can check spontaneous drivers to determine whether or not they are under the effects of alcohol or drugs. The use of breathalyzers on pedestrians is another approach that could be taken to ensure that they’re sober enough to pay attention to oncoming vehicles.
The issues caused by alcoholism in South Africa span a wide spectrum and have a deleterious effect on society. If you are concerned that you may have an alcohol abuse problem, you should speak with an addictions counselor at WeDoRecover to receive guidance on how to take back control of your life and overcome your addiction.