Looking Through the Bottom of a Rose Tinted Glass…

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Alcohol…killing our youth

 Our first job of the shift…called to an early twenties male on the other side of the city. Reported as being sick but with a psychie note attached to the data terminal message.

We arrived at the address and was asked in by a rather nervous young man. He goes on to tell us that earliar in the day he had run out of his house wearing only a dressing gown and knocked on many doors trying to get help. He says to us that he keeps seeing hooded people but with no faces, and that voices all around are telling him that he will die and that he keeps getting attacked on both legs by these apparitions and that it hurts.

We ask all the obvious questions ref drug use/abuse, alcohol or mental illness in the past. It transpires that he has not had a drink of alcohol for nearly four days. He is not sleeping or eating. He looks shit scared. He looks awful. He is going cold turkey suffering from alcohol withdrawal.

We calm him down and let his relatives know that we are taking him to the A/E so that at least he is not on his own. All his family are away so we contacted his gran. He needs help.

I know we all hate alcohol related jobs but usually its when its in the acute phase ie. ratarsed and belligerent. This is different. This is a young man suffering from chronic alcoholism…in his early twenties.

He has dreams and ambitions and wants to join the army. But first he must win the biggest battle against his adiction. He appears to be a decent lad from a nice family and I feel for him as we take him into A/E and other people, including an ambulance crew, look down on him because its “drink related”.

We are going to see a lot more people in the near future with chronic alcoholism who are in the prime of their youth. All due to the binge drinking culture we have now in this country! I hope he gets the proper care and attention he needs and gets to realise his dreams and ambitions.

4 Responses to Looking Through the Bottom of a Rose Tinted Glass…

  1. nicenurse says:

    You’re absolutely right. A look round the mess room highlights how close many sail towards the rocky shore with their own drinking habits; yet they are often the first to be highly critical of those who have not stayed the course and found themselves as the shipwreck that is alcoholism. A look at the risk factors for alcohol/drug abuse including stress at work, poor working shift patterns, stressors on family life etc.. we are all only one step away.

    (apologies for the naultical theme, lord only knows where that came from!)

  2. Kingmagic says:

    To nicenurse
    I work with some of the roughest, toughest hardest drinkers in the business. And when I go out I have a good skinful. But I know when I,ve had enough and will call it a night. The problem we have nowadays is that the binge drinking culture has become inherant and accepted by the powers that be. So all these people in their teens, twenties and thirties go out to get shitfaced (medical expression!) and dont see the long term health consequences.
    And no-one sets out to become an alcoholic….as you say a lot of staff are nearly that! Without realising it!

  3. tikkiro says:

    Having lost a wonderful husband to alcoholism (which he had before I met him as his 2nd wife), and having watched what he went through in his last year of life I truly think this Government has some weird desire to destroy the country starting with the youth. I know everyone thinks alcoholics deserve everything because it’s their own fault, or they could stop drinking if they’re really wanted to, but I firmly believe that there comes a point when that is no longer the case. The brain holds receptors for any chemical and HAS to have all of its locks fitted with the chemical key or it goes nuts – and I came to recognise (sadly after the event) that the brain can be the seat of our survival, or just as speedily the seat of our destruction – it’s just how we’re made. When Stephen died at 43 I thought he was very young but even then in 1998, the ward staff told us that he was old in their experience – they were seeing plenty of under 21s dying of the disease, and I just wondered what age they had to have started at to die quite that young. As Kingmagic said – nobody sets out to become an alcoholic – sadly we all have that errant attitude that such things only happen to others, and because of the huge social aspect to the behaviour for many, it truly does creep up on them unawares. However, I also feel that those most likely to go down this route are people for whom alcohol really is a ‘crutch’ – who use it to blot out problems or make things seem easier. Those who drink purely for social purposes seem to be less affected. Perhaps something to keep in mind. Me – I’ve been teetotal all my life because I watched what it did to my parents who weren’t even alcoholics, but who drank enough to make my life miserable in my teens, and thankfully I managed to maintain that all the way through my life – ironically one of the things my hubby loved about me :). Oh and perhaps I should say that he was a serving policeman for many of his years and drove better ‘drunk’ than many do sober!! Shocking eh?

  4. Kingmagic says:

    I,m very sorry for your loss tikkiro. As you say many people who drink socially seem, or appear to be, unaffected by their drinking. When alcohol is used as a crutch then I think it is masking other underlying problems. A bit like the chicken and the egg syndrome.
    Alcohol not only affects those who drink it but everyone else around. Our opinion on alcoholics in this country is poor….there should be more help.
    People with this disease get a bad press because of all the clowns who get drunk and cause hassle and carnage around our towns and cities and are not held to account.

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