Alcohol. It’s part of our culture – we use it to celebrate and socialise. It’s considered sexy and sophisticated, and the quintessential element of the “coming of age”.

 

But we must remember that alcohol is a drug. And although it is the most widely used recreational drug in Australia, this doesn’t make it safe. In fact, drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time

 

– can have serious consequences for your health.

What does it do?

Drinking alcohol slows down your reflexes; impedes your judgment; and impacts your balance and coordination. It’s also a depressant, slowing down your central nervous system and inhibiting many of your brain’s functions.

 

But these are just the immediate effects.

 

Over time, alcohol can damage your body’s organs, weaken the immune system, affect your mental health and contribute to cancers.

 

Excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing some cancers, including cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, throat, stomach, liver, and breasts.

So how much is too much?

 

Did you know? Around 40% of Australian adults drink alcohol on a weekly basis and 10 % drink every day.

 

How often do you drink?

 

If you consume more than four standard drinks on any single occasion, then you are at risk of serious health problems.

 

In fact, the national guidelines to reduce the health risks from alcohol consumption recommend a maximum of two standard alcoholic drinks a day for adults.

 

FYI – a standard drink equals

 

  • 285 ml (one pot/middy) full-strength beer (4.8% alcohol)

 

  • 375 ml (one stubby) of mid-strength beer (3.5% alcohol)

 

  • 100 ml (one small glass) of wine (13.5% alcohol)

 

  • 30 ml (one nip) of spirits (40% alcohol)

 

How many ‘standard’ drinks do you typically consume? Be honest. Could you cut back?

 

So the decision is yours - make a choice to drink responsibly this silly season and change the health of your future self!

 

For more information on safe drinking, visit www.drinkwise.org.au

 


DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.