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Habits that affect health
Some of the habits that people have not only damage their own health but in one way or another harm those around them. Many of these habits can be broken or avoided–but the first step is to understand why breaking these habits is so important.
If alcohol has brought much joy to man, it has also brought much suffering–especially to the women and children of men who drink. A little alcohol now and then may do no harm. But too often a little leads to a lot. In much of the world , heavy or excessive drinking is one of the underlying causes of major health problems–even for those who do not drink. Not only can drunkenness harm the health of those who drink (through diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver), but it also hurts the family and community in many ways. Through loss of judgement when drunk–and of self-respect when sober–it leads to much unhappiness, waste and violence, often affecting those who are loved most.
How many fathers have spent their last money on drink when their children were hungry? How many sicknesses result because a man spends the little bit of extra money he earns on drink rather than on improving his family’s living conditions? How many persons, hating themselves because they have hurt those they love, take another drink–to forget?
Once a man realizes that alcohol is harming the health and happiness of those around him, what can he do? First, he must admit that his drinking is a problem. He must be honey with himyand with others. Some individuals are able o simply decide to stop drinking. More often people need help and support–from family, friends, and others who understand how hard it may be to give up this habit. People who have been heavy drinkers and have stopped are often the best persons to help others do the same.
Drinking is not so much a problem of individuals as of a whole community. A community that recognises this can do much to encourage those who are willing to make changes. If you are concerned about the misuse of alcohol in your community, help organize a letting to discuss these problems and decide what actions to take. In many areas, Alcohol Anonymous (AA) groups exist, where recovering alcoholics help each other STOL drinking.
There are many reasons why smoking is dangerous to your own and your family’s health.
1. Smoking increases the risk of cancer of the lungs and lips. (The more you smoke, the greater the chance of dying of cancer.)
2. Smoking causes serious diseases of the lungs, including chronic bronchiyand emphysey (and is deadly for persons who already have these conditions or have asthma).
3. Smoking can help cause stomach ulcers or make them worse.
4. Children whose parents smoke have more casIma pneo and other respiratory illness than children whose parents do not smoke.
5. Smoking increases your chance of suffering or dying from heart disease or stroke.
6. Babies of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are similar and develop more slowly that babies whose mothers did not smoke.
7. Parents, teachers, health workers, and other who smoke set an unhealthy example for children and young people, increasing the likelihood that they too will begin smoking.
8. Also, smoking cost money. It looks like little is spent, but it adds up to a lot. In pooere countries, many of the poorest people spend more on tobacco than the country spends per person on it’s health program. If money spent on tobacco was spent on food instead, children and whole families could be healthier.
CARBONATED DRINKS (soft drinks, soda pop, coke, fizzy drinks, colas)
In some areas, these drinks have become very popular. Often a poor mother will buy carbonated drinks for a child who is poorly nourished, when the same money could be used to buy 2 eggs or other nutritious food.
Carbonated drinks have no nutritional value apart from sugar. And for the amount of sugar they contain, they are very expensive. Children who are given a lot of carbonated drinks and other sweet things often begin to get cavities and rotten teeth at an early age. Carbonated drinks are especially bad for persons with acid indigestion or a stomach ulcer.
Natural drinks you make from fruits are healthier and often much cheaper than carbonated drinks.
#Do not get your children used to drinking carbonated drinks.
DRUG ABUSE AND ADDICTIONADDICTION
The use of harmful, habit-forming drugs is a growing problem in the world today.
Although alcohol and tobacco are legal in most countries, both are habit-forming or addictive drugs. They contribute to the poor health and death of many millions of people each year. Alcohol abuse causes enormous health, family, and social problems throughout the world. Cigarette smoking has for many years been a major cause of death in rich countries, and is now becoming an even bigger cause of death I’m poor countries. As more people in the rich countries stop smoking, the tobacco companies have turned to the ‘Third World’ as their new and easiest market.
Health problems related to use of alcohol and tobacco are discussed earlier in this Page.
In addition to alcohol and tobacco, many peImagin different parts of the world are using ‘illegal’ drugs. These vary from place to place, and include marijuana (weed, pot, grass,basin semilla, mota, hashish, ganja), opium (heroin, morphine, smack), and cocaine (crack, snow, rock).
An increasing problem among poor children in cities is the sniffing of chemicals, especially glue, but sometimes paint thinner, shoe polish, gasoline, and cleaning fluid. Also, some people misuse medicines–especially certain strong painkillers, stimulants, and ‘appetite control’ drugs.
Drugs can be swallowed, injected, smoked, chewed, or sniffed. Different drugs create different effects on the body and mind. Cocaine or kolanuts may make a person feel energetic and happy, but some time later he will feel tired, irritable, and depression. Some drugs, like alcohol, opium, morphine, and heroin, may at first make a person feel calm and relaxed, but later they may cause him to lose his inhibitions, self-control, or even consciousness. Other drugs, such as marijuana, PCP, LSD, and peyote make a person imagine things that do not exist, or create dreamlike fantasies.
People usually start taking drugs to escape the hardship, forget the hunger, or calm the pain in their daily lives. But once they start, they often become ‘hooked’ or addicted. If they try to stop, they become miserable, sick, or violent. In order to get more drugs , they will often commit crimes, go hungry, or neglect their families. Thus drug use becomes a problem for whole families and communities.
Some drugs such as cocaine and heroin are very addictive; a person may try the drug only once and feel that he needs to keep taking it. Other drugs become addictive after longer periods of time Addiction is a dangerous trap that can lead to health problems or even death. But with determination, effort, and support, addictions can be overcome.
When a person first gives up a drug he is addicted to, he will usually feel miserable and act strangely. This is called ‘withdrawal’. The person may be extremely nervous, depressed, or angry. He may feel that he cannot live without the drug.
With some drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, withdrawal may be so severe that the person can become violent and injure himself or others. He or she may need the help of a special clinic. For other kinds of drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and chemical sniffing, medical care is usually not necessary, but the care and support of family and friends is very important.
Here are a few suggestions to help solve the problem of drug use and addiction:
1. Be as helpful and supportive as possible to someone trying to overcome drug use. Remember that their difficult moods are because of their addiction, not because of you.
2. Members of the community who have been addicted to drugs but have overcome the habit can form a ‘support group’ to help others trying to give up alcohol or drugs. Alcoholics Anonymous is one such organization. This group of recovering alcoholics has successfully helped people all over the world to deal with problems of addiction.
3. Families, schools, and health workers can tell children about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. Help children learn that there are other, healthier ways to ‘feel good’, to act ‘grown up’, or to rebel.
4. Work to correct some of the problems in your community that may lead people to use drugs: hunger, exploitative working conditions, lack of opportunities to lead a better life. Help disadvantaged persons organize and stand up for their rights.