The effects of alcohol consumption on the psycho social well-being of Nigerian undergraduates




Background to the study

Alcohol consumption dates back to time immemorial in the history of man. In traditional Nigerian societies, alcohol consumption was gender and age based. It was mainly consumed by adult males in social engagements. Customs andtraditions regulated production and consumption of locally made alcoholic drinks. Though, young people in a fewcommunities were permittedto drink, this was usually in the presence of adults who monitored the quantity they consumed Emeka, (2013). Alcoholconsumption was not a daily affair and it was restricted for use in religious rituals, marriageceremonies, kingship enthronements, cultural festivals and child namingceremonies. Even on these occasions, excess consumption among adults was culturally controlled. Elders would drink first, served by the younger members of the tribe and because the wine was not produced  in commercial quantities,this often meant that little would be left for the latter group.This tre nd was altered in Nigeria following the Group Changing Patterns of Alcohol Consumptionin Nigeria with the influx of European slave traders and their ‗trade spirit‘ in the fifteenth century.

The fact that alcohol was not new to the indigenous people, theinfluence of the Western traders popularized the sale of liquor and facilitated alcohol abuse.

This trend was sustained during the colonial era and beyond, leading to the establishment of the first Brewery (N igerian Brewery limited presently known as Nigerian Breweries or NB Plc.) in 1946.This signified,a new trend, in alcohol consumption in the country. In more recent years, there have been some striking changes in the patterns ofconsumption, brought about by the development of the socio-political and economicstructures of the countryGotman, (2008). Consumption is no longer solely regulated by customof the people and it is no longer reserved for social gatherings or entertainments of guests alone. The

patterns of use, the users and reason(s) for consumption arechanging rapidly, especially among young drinkers.A sharp contrast from what hitherto existed is the alcohol contestamong Youths in bars, restaurants, drinking joints, hotels and nightclubs that are strategically located near various places in Nigeria.

This has serious implications because researches have revealed that parents and siblings are terribly affected by the drinking behaviour of young people. This perceived as a serious malady and its consequences are diverse and transcend beyond the alcoholic persons/ individuals to affect relatives, friends,neighbours and the society alike.

In Benue state, alcohol consumption is recognized as an important cultural aspect of all ceremonial occasions from the celebration of a child‘s birth, wedding and funerals.Apart from the festive season drinking during events, there is the usual recreational drinking that occurs during leisure time on weekends.This particular activity is however, having disastrous effects on the lives of the young, old, rich and poor, men and women as well as successful business men, skilled mechanics, laborers, home makers and Church members of all denominations. Sad as this may be, majority of the perpetrators are the Youths.The Youths who persistently abuse alcohol seem to be going through an array of problems. This has remained a source of worry to parents, schools, society and even the government because of the attendant behaviour that usually follow itGotman, (2008).

Governments and non- governmental organizations as well as religious leaders are making concerted efforts to reduce, if not eradicate alcohol misuse and its related consequences by providing useful and intensive information so that they can be aware of the effects in the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.However, despite the warning messages, immoderate consumption of alcoholic beverages still persist.

                Statement of the problem

There are high cases of alcohol consumption among youths in Nigerian society; this behavior as a result of youth unrest has assumed a dangerous dimension that every stake holder of the educational system and the nation at large are at a crux. This attitude is common among the youth considered to be leaders of the future. Alcohol consumption is a major problem that has characterized the enormous crises facing Nigeria. The  critical problem is that in spite of the various measures adapted to prevent Alcohol consumption on Nigerian youths, we continue to have increasing number of Alcohol abusers. This problem has characterized the enormous crises facing Nigeria undergraduate . It has been observed that schools are facing this unrest. The availability of Alcohol in shops, chemists, market stalls and alcohol barons, provides youth’s access to it. The habitual use of alcohol during occasions endangers the live of youths. Even when alcohol are socially accepted for instance, caffeine found in kola nut and coffee or perhaps alcohol and tobacco. It can still be abused when it is used more than the quantity generally accepted within the culture.

It has been also observed that there is a high rate of consumption of alcohol by the youth especially in undergraduate students. It has negative implications on youth education, alcohol consumption lead to Risky sexual behaviour among the youths that resulted to teen age pregnancy, it affects their performance in school due to personality disorder and impaired cognitive functioning that resulted to regular tiredness and sleeping in class. Among other behaviour students who had become involved with alcohol will tend to defy school rules, cheat and act in other negative ways in school, at the end may become dramatic irresponsible and overly defensive. Other problems will emerge to the attention of the teacher and other officials. Such attitude will motivate the abuser to behave in ways that may signal the beginning of mental disorder. If not properly check in time, may be affected like some of these youth who are seen in our societies roaming about naked, parading the streets aimlessly, while others are partially made to sleep in open places, causing social nuisance to the public. If alcohol consumption continues the abuser may end up not doing well and resulted to drop out of school, all these effect are caused due to the influenced of alcohol abuse. The study  provides information and strategies for preventing such menace because failure can lead to loss of such valuable human resources. Hence, it has become imperative that the effect of these alcohol in our youths is rampant which forms the basis of this study