Alcohol Abuse in Africa: The Case of Ghana

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Alcohol Abuse in Africa: The Case of Ghana
Alcohol is a commonly abused substance in most continents and Africa is no exception. Unlike the United States which has alcohol as the second most commonly used drug, in Africa it is the foremost abused substance. This could be attributed to the fact that most cultural or traditional ceremonies utilize alcohol in one way or another. In Ghana – West Africa – for example, during the naming ceremony of a newborn, the baby is given a drop of alcohol and then a drop of water with the belief that the child will recognize the difference when he grows up. It is common to find alcoholic beverages being served at functions such as birth, death, marriage and promotion on one’s job (Dordoye, 2009). Ghana recognizes three main religions which are Christianity, Islam, and West African Traditional Religion (WATR). The WATR was in place in Ghana before the advent of Christianity and Islam. Alcohol plays a very important role in WATR and because it is the oldest religion, it intertwines with some of the rituals of the other religions. In some Christian beliefs such as Catholicism, the use of alcohol in moderation is permissible but any form of use is prohibited in Islam. Even though alcohol drinking is acceptable in most parts of Ghana, the abuse of the substance is not encouraged.
Ghanaians have always used the moral model where they try to pray an addict out of addiction and also tend to attach a stigma to persons who abuse alcohol. They are seen as weak people who cannot control their alcohol drinking habits. As a result, individuals do not seek treatment until it becomes a mental health issue (White, 2012). In using the biopsychosocial model, I will be able to look at alcoholism in Ghana f...

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