It is often said that habit is second nature. Bad habits exerts influence on our health and longevity. The formation and development of bad habits destroys both the individual’s physical and psychological health and happiness.
In Nigeria these days, many young people and to an extent, the older ones cherish a number of bad habits.
In this article, we shall be talking about five (5) common bad health habits and how they are cutting short the lives of Nigerians.
1. Drug abuse and addiction.
Drugs are chemicals that affect the body and brain. Different drugs can have different effects. Some effects of drugs include health consequences that are long-lasting and permanent. They can even continue after a person has stopped taking the substance he or she is addicted to.
Drug abuse and addiction, which can also be grouped as substance or drug use disorder, is a condition characterized by a self-destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems and distress, which may include tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance.
Statistics shows that drug use disorder is unfortunately quite common, affecting more than 8% of people in the Nigeria at some point in their lives.
People can abuse virtually any substance whose ingestion can result in a euphoric (“high”) feeling.
Side effects of drug abuse and addiction may include:
- A weakened immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection.
- Heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks and collapsed veins and blood vessel infections from injected drugs.
- Nausea and abdominal pain, which can also lead to changes in appetite and weight loss.
- Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure.
- Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage.
- Lung disease.
- Problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult.
- Global effects of drugs on the body, such as breast development in men and increases in body temperature, which can lead to other health problems.
Alcoholism is when one can no longer control their use of alcohol, compulsively abuse alcohol, despite its negative ramifications, and/or experience emotional distress when they are not drinking.
Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol. This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships and overall health.
Over time, the serious side effects of consistent alcohol abuse can worsen and produce damaging complications.
Here are some of the long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:
- Brain defects Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome ( a neurobiological disease)
- Liver disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Vision damage
- Bone loss.
3. Sexual promiscuity
Sexual promiscuity is the practice of having sex frequently with different partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners. The term can carry a moral judgment if the social ideal for sexual activity is monogamous relationships.
A common example of behavior viewed as promiscuous by many cultures is the one-night stand, and its frequency is used by researchers as a marker for promiscuity.
Can promiscuity threaten your longevity? The short answer is “YES“.
Having a large number of sexual partners has been linked to poor sexual health and decreased longevity. Why?
The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions like prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and oral cancer.
Gluttony is defined as the over-indulgence or lack of self-restraint in food, drink, or wealth items, especially as status tokens.
The English word comes from the Latin and means “to gulp.” Gluttony worships food to feed our own self-love. Merriam-Webster defines gluttony as “habitual greed or excess in eating…greedy or excessive indulgence”.
While gluttony may seem to be a more trivial transgression than the others grouped in the “Bad habits list” there is a reason this sin makes the list. With the alarming rate of modern obesity we see today, perhaps many have forgotten or forsaken the warnings against gluttony and its deadly consequences.
So, what happens to your body when you overeat?
- Overeating causes the stomach to expand beyond its normal size to adjust to the large amount of food. The expanded stomach pushes against other organs, making you uncomfortable. This discomfort can take the form of feeling tired, sluggish or drowsy. Your clothes also may feel tight, too.
- Eating too much food requires your organs to work harder. They secrete extra hormones and enzymes to break the food down. To break down food, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid. If you overeat, this acid may back up into the esophagus resulting in heartburn.
- Consuming too much food that is high in fat, like pizza and cheeseburgers, may make you more susceptible to heartburn. Your stomach may also produce gas, leaving you with an uncomfortable full feeling. Your metabolism may speed up as it tries to burn off those extra calories.
- You may experience a temporary feeling of being hot, sweaty or even dizzy.
5. Lack of temperance.
Temperance is defined as moderation or voluntary self-restraint. It is typically described in terms of what an individual voluntarily refrains from doing. This includes restraint from retaliation in the form of non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance in the form of humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as extravagant luxury or splurging now in the form of prudence, and restraint from excessive anger or craving for something in the form of calmness and self-control.
When all the aforementioned restraints is lacking then we have anger. Some of the short and long-term health problems that have been linked to lack of temperance include; headache, digestion problems, such as abdominal pain, insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems, such as eczema and heart attack.
These bad habits have cut short the lives of many Nigerians. And for many others who are managing to live with these habits, their lives have been robbed of happiness and meanings. In fact some of these people can best be refered to as “living corpse.”
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