The potential effects of five different life factors on the development of an individual

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Alcohol is a drug that makes an individual feel relaxed; many adults drink alcohol responsibly but some exceed the recommended amount which can be dangerous and cause long term effects which interferes with an individual’s development. The recommended amount for women is two to three units of alcohol a day and the maximum amount is 14 units a week; for men the recommended amount is three to four units of alcohol a day and the maximum is 21 units a week.

Most individuals are only aware of the short term effects of alcohol. The effect it has on an individual can be different all depending on how much alcohol was drank, the surroundings/environment the individual is in and most importantly every individual is different so the effects alcohol has on one individual may differ from another individual even if they drank the same amount. The main effect is on the brain.

A low amount of alcohol make an individual feel relaxed and makes them more talkative and energetic. High amounts of alcohol causes an individual to not be as accurate when it comes to decision-making which is why it is bad to drive when you have been drinking alcohol. Slurred speech, being unstable when standing or walking, loss of co-ordination and falling asleep are also effects that happen when the brains development is being disrupted and restricted from functioning properly caused by drinking too much alcohol.

Long term effects of alcohol causes difficulties and sometimes even irreversible damage to the body; over a long period of time constant abuse of alcohol will disrupt and restrict the development of an individual’s body by not allowing the cells in the body to regenerate new cells. The main parts of the body that alcohol causes damage to are the liver and the nervous system. Excessive drinking over a long period of time causes an irreversible scarring to the liver which is called ‘cirrhosis’, this can lead to liver failure, liver cancer or even death.

Damage to the brain can interfere with intellectual development, and increase the risk of anxiety or dementia. If an individual becomes addicted to alcohol it can affect their development because their thinking would be distorted and they would develop a strong desire to drink which may result in an individual organising their lifestyle around drinking and the brain loses the power to supervise and restrict how often and how much an individual is drinking.

Genetic (Cystic Fibrosis)

Cystic Fibrosis is a very common life threatening disease; it is caused because of a flawed gene that controls the movement of salt and water that goes in and out of a cell. This disease effects development because the gene is incurable and as an individual develops as a result, causes unpleasant symptoms. It also effects development because the gene is passed down from parent to child therefore if both parents have this disease there is a one in four chance that the child will receive the disease due to the faulty gene which effects normal development.

This disease causes the body to produce excess mucus which affects the lungs and disrupts parts of the digestive system. This disorder causes bothersome coughs, frequent chest infections, prolonged diarrhoea and poor weight gain. Cystic Fibrosis affects the pancreas, which makes it difficult to digest food; as a result leads to poor growth, physical weakness and delayed puberty.

If an individual with Cystic Fibrosis increases their amount of exercise it can count as treatment; it will improve their physical development and increase strength, also it is an advantage to increase exercise because it prevents deterioration of the lungs.

Biological (Infections during pregnancy)

During the pregnancy stage some infections are more common than usual because the immune system is weak, and infections can cause a particular risk either to the pregnant female or her unborn baby. Infections during pregnancy such as rubella may interfere with the development of the baby; it can cause serious defects to the foetus for example, affects the development of senses (sight and hearing) during the first four months of pregnancy, or even cause the baby to be born with brain or heart defects.

Urine infection is common in pregnancy. If it is not treated some infections can develop into a serious kidney infection. If a pregnant female has a kidney infection when she is pregnant, she can feel very unwell and the development of the baby inside the womb may be shortened causing problems such as early labour and/or a small baby.

Sexually Transmitted Infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can pass to the baby during delivery causing eye infections. Chlamydia is more common, affecting around 5% of pregnancies. It can also lead to chest infections in the baby. Both of these infections are treatable during pregnancy. The lining of the womb for the mother can get infected after delivery this is more prone to happen because the development of the womb is changing, it’s trying to return to its natural state after birth.

*Socio-economic (Income)

The elderly are one of the biggest groups to live in poverty. This may be because of retirement and no jobs available for the elderly because they are stereotyped as useless; therefore having no income may be a problem especially for those who do not have a pension. Another reason may be due to the cost of health care; because the elderly suffer from many different types of medical illnesses this may leave a dent in their fiancé for example paying for extra vitamins or Chinese herbs and medicines. The elderly that are unable to care for themselves have to pay for care homes.

Poverty may have a large effect on a person’s health. Not having enough money to provide products to maintain basic hygiene is a problem associated with poverty; this makes a person prone to all kinds of illnesses and infections which cause problems with their health. This may affect their lifestyle in a sense that they would be picked on in society. Housing is a large problem when it comes to poverty; payments such as bills or rent may cause stress and anxieties which is not good for a person’s health this may also affect their lifestyle because a person may become withdrawn and find these problems hard to deal with or overcome without help. Leisure time would be almost impossible for people who live in poverty. Having no money would mean being unable to pay for certain activities. The stress of living in poverty may make it unnecessary to seek leisure as gaining an income would be more important.

Environmental (Discrimination)

Marginalisation -Treating a person or group as insignificant; according to Stretch B and Whitehouse M (2007) marginalisation can be described as pushing certain individuals or groups of people to the edges of society and excluding them from the way of life and status enjoyed by others. Marginalisation stops people from enjoying the benefits of society which would make them feel isolated. People who are marginalised receive unfair and unjust treatment.

This type of discrimination is triggered by fear and ignorance of the characteristics of an individual or group e.g. sexual orientation or health status. One of the service users at the sugar and spice day care centre Mrs. Patel has been discriminated against by another service user Mr. Osei. He has been calling her derogatory names and labelling her because of her ethnicity. This has made Mrs. Patel feel insignificant and isolated. Mr. Osei has initially made Mrs. Patel feel outcaste and she does not feel included in the sugar and spice day care centre, therefore she cannot enjoy her time at the centre.

Low Self-esteem and self-identity – Discrimination against a person’s characteristics e.g. age, race, skin colour or gender can cause them to develop low self-esteem and low self-identity. People who suffer from low self-esteem or self-identity tend to feel unhappy with their self and have little or no confidence and feel worthless. Bullying is a main trigger that causes low self-esteem because it affects a person emotionally.

People with low self-esteem and self-identity feel isolated and tend not to socialise with people or get involved in activities. As a result of the name calling and labelling Mrs. Patel is very hurt, she seems more withdrawn and now has low self-esteem. She has lost her confidence because she is being discriminated; she feels isolated and doesn’t know who to speak to about it. Mrs. Patel feel paranoid about what people think and say about her.

Restricted opportunities – Restricted opportunities are when not all individuals are given the same opportunities as everyone else. Discrimination against race, age, sex, culture religion or class is the main reasons why people are not given the same opportunities. Individuals, health organisations or the government may discriminate others in this way which limits the things people are able or aloud to do for example with employment; some types of jobs are usually male dominated which makes it hard for females to get a place. If clients at the sugar and spice day care centre are discriminated against in this way they may not want to use the health care services provided, some may feel insignificant or worthless because they are unable to do things that everyone else is allowed to do. This can also affect a person’s health because they may withdraw and feel that they are unable to use the health care services to the fullest.

Negative behaviours such as aggression and criminality – Negative behaviours such as aggression and criminality can be triggered by discrimination. Poverty is one factor that surrounds discrimination which can affect a person’s behaviour in a negative way. When facing difficulties in life people may take their anger out on other individuals and also police, teachers and other health care professionals. Negative behaviour towards the staff at the sugar and spice day care centre may make the staff feel in less control over the organisation that they run. Criminality within the day care centre would give the centre a bad reputation and would result in fewer clients because they may be scared that they may have to deal with aggression and abuse.

Disempowerment – Making a person or group less powerful or confident; individuals or groups that experience this type of discrimination may fight against it to maintain equal rights. People who don’t fight against it may become depressed and devalued which may lead to health issues. If staff at the sugar and spice day care centre uses this type of discrimination against the service users they may stop using the health care service. The client will feel insignificant and will lose their confidence, this will also make them withdraw and not want to use the health care service provided for them.

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