Alcohol and General Wellbeing

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85
No safe level
Cups containing alcoholic drinks

Many people take alcohol with the erroneous belief that it enhances sexual performance, without considering the long-term damage that its excessive consumption can do to their general wellbeing. Alcohol has proven to be a major cause of blood vessel problems, just as it also affects the sex hormone in men. Most cases of low testosterone are connected to alcohol abuse. Loss of libido and lack of interest in sex are also some of the consequences of alcohol abuse. While many see alcohol consumption as a beautiful way to unwind, the serious challenges it poses to human health must not be taken for granted.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov, “Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2001 – 2015, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working age adults aged 20 – 64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion or $2.05 a drink”.

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For men who love booze, moderation is strongly advised, owing to the fact that there is a standard amount of alcohol the liver can break down at a given time. This means that habitual drinking will lead to the build-up of toxins in the body and these toxins can lead to destruction of vital organs, including those that enhance sexual performance. A study by University of Washington showed that sober men were able to achieve erection more quickly than men who were under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, the alcohol consumption culture in Nigeria and many African countries is one that calls for serious concern. From marriage ceremonies to the celebration of personal victories in life, Nigerian alcohol users have a very voracious appetite for the beverage. Many of them seize every available opportunity to drink themselves to stupor, not minding the consequences.

Apart from the health-related hazards that come with alcohol consumption, there are several social issues that are associated with it, according to the United States National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Issues such as relationship problems, domestic conflict, infidelity, economic insecurity, professional misconduct and divorce are some of the consequences of an unhealthy drinking culture.

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In Nigeria, there are ample examples of motor accidents caused by indiscriminate drinking by drivers. More so, some of the cases of accidental discharge of bullets by policemen and other law enforcement agents are linked to alcohol consumption. No matter how we look at it, alcohol, when abused, can lead to many serious health and social problems. In fact, studies show that almost 50 per cent of unplanned sexual encounters are triggered by alcohol consumption. There is also a possibility that 60 per cent of STDs are transmitted during such encounters, as young adults who use alcohol are more likely to have unprotected sex.

And for men who like to ignite the moment with cigarettes, during alcoholic sessions, the risk for erectile dysfunction becomes very high. Men under the age of 40 who love to smoke are more prone to erectile dysfunction which could come in the form of weak erection and/or premature ejaculation. Studies show that men who smoke more than 10 sticks of cigarette a day have an increased risk for erectile dysfunction.

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For women, excessive alcohol use can lead to a number of  health problems, especially because the effects tend to last longer in them due to their body chemistry. The immediate effects of alcohol usually occur more quickly and last longer in women than in men. This is the reason women are more susceptible to the long-term negative health effects of alcohol compared to men, according to www.cdc.gov.

Some of the health disorders alcohol abuse can cause in women include heart muscle damage, breast cancer, foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (for those who drink during pregnancy), miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The onus lies on governments to review their alcohol-related policies in order to create the enabling environment for the reduction or eradication, if possible, of alcohol-induced crisis such as sexual violence. In most of the communities where rape and unprotected sex have become rampant, excessive alcohol use has been established as a major contributing factor.

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