Never give a drop of alcohol to your child

It was a routine weekly meeting where reports for the week are given. It was shocking to hear that a young child had come in coma and died due to alcohol intoxication. Similarly, I have come across some young boys, barely in their teens, who had developed liver disease due to alcohol and died.

It was a routine weekly meeting where reports for the week are given. It was shocking to hear that a young child had come in coma and died due to alcohol intoxication. Similarly, I have come across some young boys, barely in their teens, who had developed liver disease due to alcohol and died.

These young boys were given alcohol by their parents to taste initially just because they were themselves drinking. Once they start taking alcohol even in small amounts, the body cells get habituated to it, causing physical and mental dependence. This is  a state where there is strong urge to drink alcohol and without it one would feel sick.

These parents were ignorant about the toxic effects of alcohol. No parent will knowingly give something harmful to their children. These innocent people are ignorant about the harmful effects of alcohol on the physical and mental health of the individual, more so, in young children.

Alcohol causes behaviour and neurological abnormalities and also damage to many parts of body including liver, heart, pancreas, etc.

Children develop early and more severe adverse effects due to alcohol because of lesser muscle mass as compared to adults. The liver of a child is also not mature enough to detoxify large quantity of alcohol. Thus by the time one is a teenager, there may be irreversible liver disease. As it is the age of growth, hormonal disruption due to alcohol leads to testicular atrophy, sexual impotence and breast enlargement in boys. Similarly young girls can have menstrual disturbances and sterility when they grow up.

Adults should know the harmful effects of alcohol and try to quit drinking. Thus youngsters emulating them will also give it up before it is too late. In no way alcohol should be given to children, even if it is a festive occasion. If a child has formed a habit of drinking, efforts should be made to help them get rid of this habit.

Social counsellors, doctors and psychologists can work together as a team to help a child and motivate them to quit this habit. Drugs are available to help overcome withdrawal symptoms. It is vital to give due attention to the nutrition of a child who is addicted to alcohol, because regular consumption leads to malnutrition. The child should be kept busy in creative activities so that his mind is not diverted to drinking again. 

Dr Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News