Part 9: Anecdotes, simple health education talks
An example of health education talk about alcoholism which is presented as a dialogue between James and doctor Smith
James: About which disease shall we talk today ?
Dr. Smith: About a disease which could be easily avoided, it is a disease created by men for their own pleasure,
James: For pleasure ?
Dr. Smith: Yes, this pleasure costs a lot of money.
James: HOW does one catch this disease ?
Dr. Smith: it is very easy by drinking alcohol.
James: Oh, I see, you are going to talk about alcoholism.
Dr. Smith: Yes, that's it.
James: Which drinks give alcoholism ? Does beer give it ?
Dr. Smith: All drinks containing alcohol can cause this disease, beer just like the others. Let's look at the figures: whisky, rum and cognac contain 45% alcohol. aperitifs contain 15 to 20% alcohol. Red wine contain about 10% alcohol. Beer or palm wine contain about 4%. If you consider these figures, you can easily understand that what counts is the Quantity of alcohol a drink contains For example, four or five glasses of beer contain as much alcohol as one glass of whisky and soda.
James: If I follow you, one is mistaken in thinking that beer is less dangerous than whisky or wine.
Dr. Smith: Yes, that's right
James: HOW does one become an alcoholic ?
Dr. Smith: YOU can become an alcoholic by simply drinking a certain amount of alcohol every day or several times a week.
James: How much ?
Dr. Smith: it is hard to say. Some people do not tolerate alcohol as well as others
James Could you give some examples ?
Dr. Smith: Here they are: imagine a worker who drinks three or four bottles of beer spread out over a week. The risk of his becoming an alcoholic is slight Now, consider a worker who drinks several bottles of beer every day. In this case, he runs a yeat risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Dr. Smith: All those preparations are as dangerous as the other alcohols; they can contain 15 to 40% alcohol.
James: What are the signs of alcoholism ?
Dr. Smith: There are two kinds of alcoholism, acute alcoholism...
James: That is drunkenness.
Dr. Smith: indeed, that is drunkenness. There is also a second form: chronic alcoholism, where the drinker is drunk less often, Let's start with acute alcoholism: drunkenness; you've probably already seen drunkards,
James: Oh, yes, we sometimes see them coming out of bars, they don't walk straight any more, they zigzag and fall heavily to the ground. They shout, sing out of the tune, talk crudely. They get angry easily, break everything in the house and may beat their wives and children.
Dr. Smith That is exactly the truth. After all this excitement, they sleep heavily for a long time. This is acute alcoholism. Let's talk about the alcoholism which has become a habit: chronic alcoholism, This is the illness of people who drink alcohol every day, many times a day.
James: Which mental disorders ?
Dr. Smith: They cannot sleep and have terrible nightmares. Memory becomes poor Minds become confused They become rough and nasty They get angry for no reason and are likely to attack those who live around them.
James: YOU said that some of the organs of the body were damaged by alcohol.
Dr. Smith Yes, the liver and nerves. Their livers are very ill, they no longer let the body's water pass through so the water stays in the tummy and the legs, which swell.
James: What about the nerves ?
Dr. Smith You can see that the nerves are affected because the ill persons tremble, lose their strength and cannot work any more. If they keep on drinking alcohol they may die.
James Alcoholism is indeed a serious disease. Can it be cured ?
Dr. Smith Yes, it can if it is treated early enough. The alcoholic must stop drinking and take medicine to cure his liver and nerves.
James Doesn't alcoholism have harmful effects on the children born to alcoholics ?
Dr. Smith Yes, indeed, you are right to ask that. Doctors know that alcoholics babies are ill. They are small, thinner and sometimes not very intelligent They are not as resistant to illness because their parents don't take care of them.
James: If someone is drunk once or twice a week, is he in danger of becoming an alcoholic ?
Dr. Smith Not as much as someone who drinks every day, but if he keeps up the habit he, too, will become an alcoholic.
James When we talk about other diseases, I always ask you how to prevent them but in this case, I can answer myself. In order to avoid alcoholism one must limit oneself to drinking only a small amount of alcohol.
Dr. Smith It is the only thing to do. Someone who drinks just one or two glasses of beer a day and one aperitif or one whisky a week does not run any risk,
James What about locally made alcohol ?
James One last question,
Dr. Smith. Shouldn't alcohol be completely banned for children ?
Dr. Smith Quite right Children and women are very sensitive to alcohol.
For those who enjoy reading, we suggest a beautiful novel about alcoholics, written by a well-Known French author (the story takes place in Europe):
Emile Zola: The Grogshop
The story is about a worker who is honest and courageous at first, but who sinks into alcoholism under the influence of bad fellows, dragging wife and children with him in his downfall and misfortune.
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