Alcohol-Related Psychosis: A Rampant Malady

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Psychosis associated with alcohol usually occurs with acute intoxication, alcohol withdrawal, as well as in patients with chronic alcohol use disorder. The condition is also sometimes referred to as alcohol hallucinosis. Though it is a comparatively uncommon consequence of alcohol use, it may be more widespread than typically believed.

In alcohol-related psychosis, symptoms of psychosis manifest  during or shortly after heavy alcohol intake. Clinically, alcohol-related psychosis is similar to schizophrenia but has been found to be a unique and independent condition. It is characterised by hallucinations, paranoia, and fear. The condition can lead to many life-threatening outcomes and may also mar a person’s capacity to perform physical duties optimally.

People who have formed the habit of drinking strong liquor must watch it. They may be embarking on a journey that will lead to doom. With the proliferation of all sorts of alcoholic beverages in our cities and towns, alcohol-related psychosis has become rampant. Many people have the condition but they do not know because they believe that whatever effect that arises from alcohol consumption is good for them.

Patrick Iwelunmor

In a densely populated city like Lagos, you will easily notice the rampancy of strange behaviours from people. Don’t be surprised that many of these people are under the influence of strong drink. You may even think they are exhibiting their huge sense of humour but on the contrary, they are in a world of delusion.

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The economic problems facing most families in Nigeria have turned many into drunkards. This sad development is becoming a social pattern, with very grave consequences; yet people trivialise it. Psychiatrists understand the gravity of the situation and its attendant repercussions.

The story of Osha (not real name) is a good reason people must not develop dependence on alcohol, no matter the situation they are trying to cope with. Osha was a bricklayer with a wife and five children. His wife is a petty trader, while his children attended one of the many public schools in Lagos.

Osha’s love for alcohol was dangerous because, aside from the fact that he consumed the substance with careless abandon, he was strongly opinionated about its unfounded benefits to the body. He also had the mindset that drinking dry gin helped him to overcome every emotional issue that crept into his mind. Only God knew from where he derived his theories.

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According to Osha, dry gin, mixed with snuff, cured toothache and could also kill all the worms in a person battling the stomach parasites. The avalanche of claims he made were always supported by his likes, who, out of sheer ignorance, believed that anyone who opposed their views was not current.

Unfortunately, Osha is now at the receiving end of the many harmful effects of his alcoholic choices. Most times, he drank on empty stomach and when it was time to eat, what he called food would elicit pity from any right thinking person. It is now obvious that he is nutritionally deficient and yet he drinks himself most times to stupor, eroding the walls of both his intestines and his reasoning faculty. He is gradually becoming a mental case as his judgements and speeches often suggest that something has tampered with the chemistry of his brain.

Many a time, Osha had complained of stomach ache and once vomited blood. When advised to seek medical attention, he reluctantly agreed and was diagnosed with ulcer, as a result of excessive consumption of dry gin on empty stomach.

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As of today, Osha has become a shadow of his once vibrant self. He no longer does his bricklaying job as he lacks the concentration and mental strength to do so. Most times, he roams the streets, uttering gibberish and laughing intermittently all alone. When concerned friends and relations intervened, it was discovered that he was battling psychosis, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.

A closer look into his family life showed that he suddenly developed the habit of beating his wife and destroying property at the slightest provocation. His children now dread him like wildfire. Their once loving father has lost touch with reality. All by himself, he has destroyed that warmth and cordiality that ordinarily should bind members of a family together. His untamed choices have turned him into an outcast in his own family.

Osha is now a liability to both family and society. The last time this writer saw him, he was dancing almost half-naked at a popular Lagos motor park. Some onlookers said he is a comedian

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