Saturday, October 22, 2016

Drinking Habits of Young Koreans

The Seoul Diocesan Bulletin had an article on the drinking habits of some of our young people. The writer is the head of a center for the treatment of alcoholics attached to a Catholic Hospital. He mentions a visit to the clinic by a high school girl. She meets with friends about 3 times a week and drinks about  3 bottles of 'soju' ( Korean vodka). Recently she had a fist fight with her friends and has inflicted harm to herself and decided to come in for help.

Young people, drinking is no longer something out of the ordinary, 75% of our young people have taken alcoholic drinks and 25% have imbibed more than twice  a month.  Many may want to ask if they drink how much do they drink? They are just imitating the adults and have little to drink. Strange as it may sound, he says, they drink more than the grown-ups and goes on to explain why.

When the young people drink it may be 3 or 4 bottles, they feel better, but there are no other accompanying symptoms. The brains of the young people are still growing and the frontal lobe does not mature until the early twenties. The frontal lobe is the last to develop which is where the  faculty of judgment resides. Drinking during this period we have serious problems.

They are not able to control their drinking. Usually, when the alcohol is in the blood there is drowsiness, headache, nausea, preventing one from drinking more. With the young, this built-in gauge with its break is not present. Consequently, when intoxicated they are more impulsive with dangerous results. In one year's time, there are about 4,000 incidents of intoxicated youths, violence, and suicides. Their personalities are also opened to change.

When the young people are exposed to drinking at a young age the chances that they will become alcoholics is 5 times that of the other young people. Society overlooks this. Popular television dramas have the young drinking in romantic scenes. We have young people drinking in advertisements. Drinking is  made attractive to the young with very little of the negative results of drinking.

Our Christian teaching tells us often and clearly that when we lose the ability to discipline ourselves and become attracted to instant gratification we are preparing oneself for despair. Addiction and alcohol are present possibilities. Once a person becomes addicted the process to overcome the problem is difficult. Preventing the problem is much easier.

According to the OECD, of the 30 countries reporting Korea was listed as 22nd in its consumption of alcohol. He mentions that the developed countries do not look upon drinking revelry as a good. He ends the article with a wish that the young people take to heart the words of Pope Francis to make a mess  in making a better, more honest and decent world. Put simply, to get rid of much of the harmful aspects of our culture will be a challenge and a need to confront what we have made.

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