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An Issue of Alcohol Abuse in Ireland

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The topic that I chose to explore is ‘Alcohol Abuse in Ireland’. This is a topic that interests me as alcohol plays such a major role in Irish culture and society. It is often drank to celebrate all sorts of occasions, be it marriage, the life of a loved one who has passed away, a sporting accomplishment, or even just making it through the week. When used responsibly, alcohol can turn social gatherings into pleasant and enjoyable experiences. Perhaps alcohol may enhance one’s ability to socialise in a more relaxed, care-free manner, but what the advertisements for alcohol do not show us are the harmful effects and devastation that it may bring to people and their families.

Attending the ‘Health Across the Lifespan’ session on alcohol abuse, Barbara and Mick, former alcoholics, opened my eyes to the unquestioned normality of binge drinking in Ireland and the social pressure that is commonly put on others to start drinking from a young age.

Unfortunately, many young teenagers begin to drink alcohol in order to ‘fit in’ without fully thinking about it. As these teenagers grow older, the drinks often become stronger and some become dependent on it when socialising. People may turn to alcohol in order to escape their fears or worries and this is where the problem emanates- the need to avoid being sober.

Barbara and Mick explained to us how difficult it is for one to notice themselves that they have a drinking problem and informed us that it almost always takes someone else to notice the problem for them. In Irish society, where alcohol plays such a pivotal role, this proves to be extremely challenging as ,unfortunately, ‘binge drinking’ is so normal that it would be difficult to differentiate between that and alcoholism when looking out for somebody else.

One aspect of the topic of alcoholism that interests me so much is the attitude that many Irish people have when it comes to drinking. Mick, when speaking, informed us of when he was younger that alcohol- especially whisky, due to influence by the T.V stars of the Wild West, portrayed that you were a ‘man’ if you drink whiskey. Similarly, in Irish culture, alcohol is often abused by some in order to show others how much that they can drink and ‘stay standing’. I think that this is extremely dangerous for the Irish population as it encourages people to put themselves at risk by consuming a dangerous level of alcohol just to make a ‘statement’ to others.

Perhaps the current status that alcohol in Ireland has today does not convey the dangers and issues that may arise with it and more effort needs to be put in to raising awareness by the people and the government in order to stop the common perception that drink is good.

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