Thursday night in the City is chock-a-block. Standing room only in every pub. Sometimes not even that. For many, Friday is a write-off and so is Saturday if the workload at A&E departments all over the country is anything to go by. While on a visit to a Neuro-surgical Intensive Care Unit in Scotland, the recurring theme was ‘fell off a bar stool’, ‘fell off a bar stool’ and ‘fell off a bar stool’.
Today I anaesthetised for a hand surgeon and of the 6 patients on my list, 2 young men landed up there because they punched a wall, a mirror or a glass window in a state of extreme drunkenness.
There is widespread social approval of excessive alcohol consumption for nearly all social strata and all age groups in our society. Alcohol is a depressant. It is often used as an unhealthy coping mechanism by the young and old alike. The more one drinks, the more one needs to drink for the same effect – tolerance. When young people drink heavily, it has a serious negative effect on the development of their young adolescent brains. If everyone drank responsibly, the NHS would save billions of pounds.
Jung said that these behaviours – smoking, drinking, avoiding, not being able to achieve an intimacy with others, point to “a fatal resistance to life in this world”.
Here is a set of ideas penned down by an anonymous author:
We drank for joy and became miserable.
We drank to be sociable and became argumentative.
We drank to feel sophisticated and became obnoxious.
We drank for friendship but made enemies.
We drank to help us sleep but woke up exhausted.
We drank to feel strong and it made us weaker.
We drank for exhilaration but ended up depressed.
We drank to help us calm down and ended up with the shakes.
We drank to gain confidence and became afraid.
We drank to make conversation flow more easily and the words came out slurred.
We drank to lessen our problems and saw them multiply.
We drank to feel heavenly and felt like hell.