Binge drinking in Europe costs millions of euros and pounds each year in lost productivity, sickness and extra policing. The culture of drinking to excess splits families and often leads to abuse of family members, including small children. And that is just the beginning.
The effects of binge drinking are felt in many ways. People at work boast about the hangover they woke up with. Signing off sick is common after binge drinking the night before. Lunch with a client often means the afternoon is written off due to the amount of alcohol consumed. And having “had enough to drink” can mean reaching the point of vomiting.
There is a progression from binge drinking to alcohol addiction that many people are already following. These four stages are:
1. Social Drinking — Drinking for stress relief that results in mood change may begin as a result of peer pressure, to go along with the crowd or to alleviate boredom or stress.
2. Drinking for the Mood Change — Drinking to achieve mood change starts producing psychological manifestations and fixed drinking habits (certain times of the day, in private, etc.). Chief among these is denial of dependence in order to protect developing behavioral patterns.
3. Constantly Seeking Mood Change — This regular pattern of drinking for the desired effects may be manifested as ongoing daily drinking or as sporadic episodes of drunkenness followed by periods of abstinence (often labeled as ‘periodic drinking’). This obsessive and compulsive pattern of drinking leads to violations of one’s fundamental ethics, values and moral standards. Entrenched denial defenses emerge to justify this conduct in response to objections from family members and other significant persons.
4. Addiction — Cells of the body adapt to the increasing ingestion of alcohol, resulting in a higher level of ‘tolerance.’ This means the person may consume more alcohol without obvious physical effects or signs of impaired behavior. The increased alcohol intake causes cellular damage that will eventually exact its toll on the body, even causing organ failure. Increased tolerance also demands increased alcohol consumption. The nervous system adapts to the escalating level of alcohol, resulting in physical dependence.
Ingestion of alcohol beyond tolerance levels results in drunkenness. Sudden abstinence or ingesting less alcohol than the tolerance level throws the cells of the body into acute distress that produces varying withdrawal symptoms including ‘delirium tremens’ (commonly referred to as ‘DTs’). The syndrome of physical dependence or addiction is now in full swing.
The human effects of alcoholism are immense.
In Britain alone 560 deaths and more than 20,000 casualties per year occur from alcohol related driving accidents. Babies are born with crippling diseases—including brain damage, deafness and heart problems—caused from mothers drinking excessively during pregnancy.
Some 12 to 14-year-olds now need treatment for liver disorders because of drinking too much. Then there is the loss to families of a parent, partner or child and loss of bread-winners through accidents and alcohol related diseases.
The cause of the problem
The most common root of massive drinking problems in a society is the loss of a clear purpose in life. It is a way of avoiding the hopelessness they feel.
When people lose touch with any higher meaning to life, is it any surprise that they would seek solace by blotting out the pressures of the day, a troubled family life or a failed relationship by binge drinking? Without a clear understanding of why man exists, we have no purpose in life and flounder in a world of seemingly unrelated events.
Do you know the purpose of your life? Have you ever asked yourself, Why was I born?—What is my destiny? These are questions that millions of people ask themselves privately. But few look beyond the popular notions of their time for answers.
Have you ever considered seriously that the theory of evolution could be just that—only an unsupported theory? Or that solid evidence that the world was created by an intelligent Being may be available?
If you would like to face those questions head-on, why not take a serious look at all of the evidence—and reach your own conclusion.