We should not take for granted the immense cases of alcoholism in the Philippines that are dramatically increasing. Alcoholics must be given proper attention and medical intervention, alongside with the drug dependents, because people suffering from alcohol addiction are also at risk. In addition, the harmful results of alcohol addiction immensely affect the nation and its citizens much greater than the addiction itself. This situation utterly dictates that the addiction, if left hanging in the air, can seriously influence the shape and future of the Philippines and the majority of its population.
Alcohol addiction is considered a perpetual problem in the country since the 15th century, when Spain took control of our country. In fact, the biggest manufacturer of beer in the country was founded through a Spanish Royal Charter. In earlier times, alcohol drinking was being practiced in festivities and has social and cultural values especially among adult men. It also denotes status symbol, that is, one “belongs to the influential and rich” if one is holding a bottle of alcohol. In remote areas and provinces, the substance has been included in healing rituals and religious activities. Until this modern time, alcohol drinking is still integrated with social gatherings, celebration of special occasions and relaxation. Moreover, the substance is traditionally utilized to cope up with stress that comes along with the fast-phase and urban living.
In this situation, alcohol becomes a part of everyday lives of many Filipinos; eventually transforming into a habit and becoming an addiction for most. Due to its lawful existence, alcohol continuously becomes the most notorious legal addictive substance given that anybody, even teenagers, can simply purchase it from local sari-sari stores. This is the reason why this problem makes its way to the list of the ten most common issues facing our youth today. The same reason also applies why government authorities, private institutions as well as medical researchers, find it difficult to resolve.
“Anyone who drinks alcohol becomes a willing victim of the poisonous substance and will eventually suffer the consequences.”
Alcohol addiction in the Philippines has detrimental effects to the economy as well. The Philippine government has to designate huge amount of money for educational campaign materials and awareness programs to inform the public about the negative impacts of addiction. Government agencies also need to provide resources for the construction of government treatment centers in every municipality and city across the Philippines and conduct research on rehabilitation programs to address the increasing number of dependents. The Department of Health also has to spend millions of its funds on medicines and medical apparatus to meet the need of patients suffering from alcohol-related illnesses. Likewise, every year, different government and private institutions use human resources to tackle the damages brought about by criminalities, road accidents and domestic violence due to alcohol abuse. Though there are no available statistical data or numerical figures about alcoholics and alcoholism, the addiction is inarguably widespread in our country. In order to deal with this, financial and manpower support is a must.
These financial and human resources should have been diverted to other essential necessities such as road widening to deal with the heavy traffic on major highways, upgrading of our weather bureau system and acquiring gears and equipment for the flood control program if this addiction problem is not in the list.
Alcoholism is a Disease that Requires Treatments
Alcoholism in the Philippines is a disease, literally and figuratively.
The reason is simple in figurative statement - it is a disease, perhaps a cancer of the society that crazily spreads throughout its social body and impacts the nation, as a whole. It imposes danger not only to the involved individuals but to other citizens as well. It puts pressure to the culture’s value that emits intellectual part of its inhabitants. Alcohol addiction control large percentage of Filipinos, which eventually affects the productivity of human resources that contributes to the growth of the economy. If left ignored, the escalating number of casualties of addiction will interrupt the national development and communal improvement.
On the other side, alcoholism is a disease that greatly impacts the biological and psychological aspect of an individual. It alters brain functions, affecting emotions and thoughts. The addiction simply planted its roots to the psychological and physical point by enticing its prey through its euphoric characteristic. Alcohol addiction has physical manifestation once the addiction turns into a full blown state. Symptoms usually take place in the later stage which makes it very difficult to anticipate. Take note that late diagnosis means more damages are already in the limelight, decreasing the possibility of a smooth treatment.
With these being said, we can conclude that alcoholism is a disease - a risk on both physical and societal aspect, and must be treated as such. A person who drinks alcohol uncontrollably and continuously will likely pay the price sooner or later, compromising the nation’s prestige. And the fact that the negative results also call for action, one can conclude that it unquestionably falls into the list of illnesses that requires medical attention and professional treatment.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol dependency slowly affects one's health – physically and psychologically, eventually taking full control of the wheel. Once the dependency arrives at its peak, the person will lose control over his drinking. Individuals who are abusing alcohol in an extensive, day to day basis tend to skip meals which weaken their immune systems - making them vulnerable to diseases. In addition, alcohol abuse causes deficiency of many necessary nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy, especially B vitamins. B vitamin deficiency causes irritability, fatigue, weakness, confusion, depression, insomnia, dizziness and mood swings which understandably lead to complicated psychological and emotional problems. Alcohol abuse is also associated with certain liver, heart and brain problems and is proven to be irreversible.
Alcohol dependency is also relevant to social issues. For example, alcoholics often cannot sustain an intimate relationship, are not productive at work or are experiencing many health issues. They often get involved to road accidents during their intoxication. They could become violent to innocent by-standers and usually have no affection for others while they are under the influence of alcohol. Their behaviors and decision makings are affected.
“It is important to understand that the addiction to alcohol not only creates damages to physical health but to social and psychological aspect of an individual which requires both physical and psychosomatic treatments, together with the alcohol addiction itself.”
People Tend to Forget the Importance of Treatments
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers can deal with this type of problem. Alcohol addiction treatment centers provide medical treatments that handle equally the physical and psychological aspect and result of the addiction. These institutions also provide personal development and spiritual growth to address personal and social issues which are important when the patient leaves the rehab center.
Unfortunately, in the Philippines, alcohol addiction victims often prefer not to undergo treatment due to a number of reasons, which mostly include the cost, the wrong perception about the condition and the discrimination that comes with addiction. Victims of alcohol addiction often hide their problem out of fearing how people would react when they find out, and because undergoing alcohol rehabilitation would expose their problem, they would rather keep the addiction to themselves and try as hard as they can to get rid of it with no success at all. If one fails to act immediately, the condition worsens, making the situation more complicated.
This is the reason why it is important to let victims of alcohol addiction know how important it is for rehabilitation to help them start a new life and turn away from addiction. Rehabilitation program is an approach of reforming a person’s life when life with addiction seems to reach its dead-end. It gives the necessary time to start all over again and allows the person to start at the right spot. It also eases up the integration process of the recovering alcoholic with the community once he leaves the center. Furthermore, an alcohol rehabilitation center provides necessary tools that can be utilized to cope up with the stress of the outside world.
Be a Part of the Solution, Not the Problem
Every one of us should be an element of the solution, providing paramount efforts in proving to each and every country of the world that the Philippines is a growing, drug and alcohol-free nation that is inhabited by responsible population. And that we, Filipinos, as one solid republic, are firmly against all activities concerning abuse of alcohol that brought about these alarming addiction problems.
We can help by excluding ourselves to the existing injury – by simply not abusing alcohol. Furthermore, we can make ourselves part of the solution by voluntarily submitting ourselves to rehabilitation if we believe alcohol has already taken control of the wheel. One alcoholic who recovers from the disease means reducing the amount of problem. It will definitely make a huge difference. Our own admission of the problem will also inspire others, who are in the same shoes, to immediately take actions in resolving their own addiction problem. This would generate a butterfly effect which could gradually answer the problem of alcohol addiction and would benefit us in the long run.
On the other side, we can also contribute by helping someone we know who is suffering from drinking problems, to realize he has to seek professional and medical help. We can encourage a relative - perhaps a member of our immediate family to enter a rehabilitation center in order to recover from the dreadful disease. Every Filipino is a part of the action team, an effective element of the solution; therefore, we should provide support for everyone. Regardless of our economic and social status, we must help these victims of alcoholism in the Philippines.
Quit Alcohol Now Blog by: Aliyah Arsiton
Are you searching for new ideas that can help you quit alcohol? Has your attempt reached a dead-end? Do you think that your options are limited? Quit Alcohol Now blog is providing informational articles and comprehensive guide to people who want to quit drinking alcohol.