Dec 2011

Don't let alcohol spoil a good time

Written by Thalia Anderson, Department of Health

Know your Minister of Health

Most of us drink alcohol for enjoyment, but for some, alcohol can become a serious problem. Alcohol is a drug, it can be addictive and is the cause of illnesses, injuries, violence, crime, abuse and motor vehicle accidents.

The festive season is a time to relax and de-stress, but sadly, it’s also a time when people tend to abuse alcohol. It is a well-known fact that within five minutes of consuming alcohol it enters the blood stream via the stomach. The effects can last for several hours. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and after intake makes people less socially inhibited and generally more relaxed.

However, alcohol makes you less aware of what is going on around you. It affects your judgement and you are more likely to have fights, arguments, money problems, family abuse or unsafe sex. Alcohol can be the cause of slips and falls, drowning and deadly road crashes. You are more likely to take chances and do things you wouldn’t normally think of doing. 


After consuming alcohol, most people will become clumsy and uncoordinated and may start slurring their speech. Many tend to become emotional, known in South Africa as ‘dronkverdriet’ (drunken sadness). Drinking more alcohol could result in double vision, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting. Further drinking could lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Some people become aggressive and violent if they drink too much, or others fall into depression. It has been stated that many people who commit suicide have had drinking problems.

Getting drunk can lead to severe hangovers, stomach pains, vomiting blood, and sometimes coma and death. Alcohol may make you feel good for a while, but the dangers of abusing alcohol far outweigh those few hours of feeling gay and happy.


With the festive season upon us and socialising and partying going on all around, it is important to make choices about your consumption of alcoholic beverages.

  • Never drink and drive.
  • Never encourage children to drink.
  • Never drink when pregnant.
  • Never “binge” drink.

Don’t become a victim of alcohol and destroy your wealth and happiness.

For further information, contact the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Directorate of the Department of Health: 012 395 8000 or call Alcoholics Anonymous: 086 435 722.
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