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The downside of excessive alcohol consumption

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As the schools closed it was an eyesore, considering the activities that our youths were engaged in as they got their booze, hired kombis and went around on what they called binge rides.

Some were carrying these modernised water bottles and in them were alcoholic cocktails, which they kept sipping from as they gathered around each other in the public places.

The Easter holiday was congested with more of these binge outings as the youth held a number of events where binging was the order of the day.

Binging is drinking alcohol excessively that is having five or more drinks in a row for men and four for women within a space of two hours.

This produces blood alcohol levels far above the 0,08 percent, the legal driving limit. Too many of our young persons are participating in this dangerous practice called binging, unaware of the consequences.

For the youth, getting drunk is usually their main goal of drinking alcohol as they compete with each other as to who can drink the most or who was the worst drunk.

Some say they need to do this to forget school problems as they cross over to their schooling break. Some say it is their way of having a once in a lifetime fun. Others say that is a way to show that they are unique persons and this allows them to resist rules and social norms as this boosts their confidence and asserts their independence.

Although binging is not alcoholism or alcohol dependency it can be just be risky as drinking large amounts of alcohol can affect you mentally, physically and emotionally. Not only does it hurt you but can take a toll on your family members and friends as some have gone into a comma or died during such activities.

Binging has short term effects and frequent binging can lead to a host of long term complications, these more serious consequences are overlooked because of the quick, one night occurrence of some binging episodes.

The sudden temporary effects are co-ordination problems, dehydration, nausea, memory loss, poor decision making and shakiness.

Too much alcohol can put you at risk of various health problems and injuries as it impairs your judgment, leaving you at risk of unintentional injuries like sexual assault, domestic violence or alcohol poisoning.

The long term side effects include brain damage, liver disease, stroke, heart problems, cancer and infertility, these side effects will depend on the amount you drink, how quickly you drink, weight, gender, other drugs involved and medical history.

Since the brain continues to develop till the age of 25, prolonged alcohol use by a young person can affect brain functionality and potentially cause lifelong cognitive problems.

In short it is not safe for anyone under the age of 25 to take alcohol or any other substances for recreational purposes as the brain is still developing.

Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation expert. For more information and help contact 00263772399734 or email mthae4jesus@gmail.comQui aboresequi a sinvellab iuriatur?

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