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Stepaway News Blog

Alcohol is Being Sold Again, but What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Our Society?

The alcohol ban has once again been lifted which was a major cause for celebration in the country as residents can once again purchase alcohol freely, even in bars and restaurants – as long as they adhere to the 10pm curfew.

When South African heritage is at play, there are very few events or occasions that take place without the presence of liquor. In fact, alcohol is often the epicentre of these occasions.

damaging effects of alcoholism on families

Effects of Alcohol Abuse in South Africa

The truth is that casual alcohol consumption can often evolve into alcohol abuse and the consequences are far-reaching to say the least.

The effects of alcohol abuse on our society are devastating and difficult to manage, creating a wave of destruction in homes, workplaces and the lives of children, family and loved ones.

Alcohol abuse also places immense pressure on other social institutions such as the economy and healthcare and justice systems.

Socio-Economic Effects of Alcohol

How Alcohol Abuse Affects the Workplace

There are many ways that alcohol abuse can affect the workplace:

  • Injury on duty – when people come to work intoxicated or hungover, their ability to perform safely is impaired. This has led to many injuries on duty, ranging from minor to fatal
  • Absenteeism – employees who abuse alcohol are more likely to stay at home or take sick leave which can cause major loss to the business
  • Productivity – arriving to work drunk or hungover can dramatically reduce productivity. Being intoxicated can make an individual feel unmotivated and lethargic
  • Unemployment – people who are heavy drinkers are more likely to lose their employment and often, unemployment can exacerbate existing alcohol abuse tendencies
How Alcohol Abuse Affects the Family

Families and their home environments are often severely impacted by alcohol abuse in the following ways:

  • Parenting – when parents are intoxicated, their ability to look after the needs of their children is impaired. This can lead to childhood trauma that stems from various forms of abuse such as neglect, abandonment and violence
  • Domestic abuse – most domestic abuse cases stem from alcohol abuse. Although domestic abuse and violence takes place when one partner is a heavy drinker, it can happen when both partners are abusing alcohol. When children are involved and witness the violence between their parents, they are at risk of developing behavioural and psychological issues
  • Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – when women drink during pregnancy, their babies are born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which will affect their normal growth and development. Babies born with FAS are malnourished and sickly and will be affected for the rest of their lives
How Alcohol Abuse Affects General Social Environments
  • Risk of drug abuse – it’s not uncommon for people who abuse alcohol to eventually start using other drugs. This happens for various reasons, but the consequences can be fatal
  • Dangerous roads – thousands of lives are lost on the roads due to drunk drivers. These lives are often innocent families and the ripple effects of these tragic losses are devastating. For example, the sole breadwinner of a family loses his or her life because of a drunk driver’s negligence on the road – this directly impacts the livelihood of an entire family
  • Criminal activity – long-term alcohol abuse can be linked to criminal activity. For example, someone who has lost or sold everything they have because of their dependency may resort to theft in order to fund their habits

Step Away – Rehabilitation Centre South Africa

Before South Africans celebrate the lifting of the alcohol ban, it’s important that we take into consideration the effects alcohol abuse has on our society.

The unfortunate reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the true effects of alcohol abuse are hard to fathom.

If you or a family member is struggling with alcohol and substance abuse, please contact us. Our treatment programmes are designed to pave the way to a life of sobriety and we are ready to assist you.

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