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Alcoholism linked to childhood history

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th January 2007 03:00 AM

I was stunned to learn that The New Vision and Uganda Breweries will soon introduce a new column titled Alcohol and You, aimed at teaching people how to drink responsibly (The New Vision, November 24, 2006).

I was stunned to learn that The New Vision and Uganda Breweries will soon introduce a new column titled Alcohol and You, aimed at teaching people how to drink responsibly (The New Vision, November 24, 2006).

By Oscar Bamuhigire

I was stunned to learn that The New Vision and Uganda Breweries will soon introduce a new column titled Alcohol and You, aimed at teaching people how to drink responsibly (The New Vision, November 24, 2006).

The truth is, most Ugandans do not need to learn how to drink responsibly. They need to learn how to stop drinking and taking drugs.

Contrary to what Uganda Breweries said, social drinking has no benefits whatsoever for people aged 45 and below. I brought this fact out very clearly in my article ‘Tips on how to drink moderately’ in The New Vision of November 21, 2005. The majority of Ugandans should, therefore, not be taking alcohol, because, according to recent studies, most of them are below 45.
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 10% of all people who drink take 50% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States. Men and women between 18 and 29 years old drink most.

Most of the patients received in the treatment centre for alcoholism and drug abuse in Uganda fall in this age category. They need to learn how to quit drinking!

People become alcoholics for two main reasons: They are victims of child abuse and have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

Alice Miller in her book, Drama Of The Gifted Child, explains that: “Every kind of addiction is a way of escaping from the memories of one’s painful life history…” and in another book, For Your Own Good, she says, “Our earliest experiences unfailingly affect society as a whole; that drug addiction and criminality are encoded expressions of these experiences.”

Oliver James, in his article, ‘Hooked on the rehab habit’ (The Times, April 9, 2003), explains: “Although hardly a week goes by without some expert claiming that alcoholism is an inherited trait, the evidence from studies of twins and adopted children is far from clear.

While genes may be crucial in some cases, childhood experience is usually the key. The main contributory factor is parental care. “Even if there is such a thing as a predetermined genetic vulnerability, your childhood history determined whether or not you will succumb to it.”

In other words, a social drinker will drink socially because he was not a victim of child abuse. An alcoholic will drink whether he is taught how to drink responsibly or not. He is subconsciously self-destructive as a result of child abuse.
Psychologists and the Alcoholics Anonymous programmes accept the fact that there is no such thing as turning an alcoholic into a social drinker.
The Johns Hopkins University Drinking Scale, which is meant to detect alcoholism, clearly indicates that anyone who is interested in learning how to drink socially is an alcoholic.
Such people are often already experiencing problems with alcohol. They cannot control their drinking. They just have to quit.

Uganda has a serious alcoholism/drug addiction problem, and the treatment currently available is not only too expensive for the average patient, but is also only 10% or less effective.

Prof. George Valliant of Harvard University, in his book, The Natural History Of Alcoholism (1983), says that among those treated for alcoholism, 95% relapse in the eighth year.

Report findings by Svanum. S., & McAdoor. W. B. (1989), appearing in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, state that 90% of those treated for alcoholism relapse overtime!

At Butabika mental hospital, alcoholism and drug addiction residential treatment facility is always full. Clinical studies by Dr Fred Kigozi in 1991 revealed that 25% of admissions at Butabika are a result of alcoholism and drug addiction.

A study done by Dr David Basangwa on schools in 1994 revealed that 64% of secondary school children have an alcoholism problem, while 9% have a drug addiction problem.

Studies by the Uganda Youth Development Link in 1992 showed that 90% of street children and homeless youth suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction. According to studies done by Dr Ssegane Musisi at Mulago Hospital psychiatric liaison service in 1998, 7% of the hospital’s referrals were alcoholics and drug addicts. The most affected regions, according to studies done by Dr Ssegane and Dr Walugembe in 2002, are the war-torn regions of northern and eastern Uganda.

Observations by psychiatric nurses of Trans Cultural Psychosocial Organisation revealed that at least 40 people die of suicide every day in northern Uganda as a result of alcoholism.

Most of us in the alcoholism treatment field do not want to publicly declare the fact that no one should be taking alcohol in any dose whatsoever, because it is a narcotic.

Katherine Ketchum and William Asbury, in their book, Beyond the Influence, point out that alcohol is a drug just like heroine, cocaine or marijuana!

Alcoholism linked to childhood history

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