Australians have always had something of a love affair with alcohol.
Our sportsmen, and even our politicians, have been known to boast about drinking while most social occasions are linked to consuming beer, wine or spirits. This is especially true of business functions or entertaining, where drinking is often an accepted part of networking.
For those in high-pressure careers, alcohol can also serve as a crutch that helps promote confidence, or is used with the idea of reducing stress.
The irony is that an addiction to alcohol can both undermine ability and performance and, in the long-term, create problems that cause real anxiety including serious health issues.
Nearly 600 people a year die and more than 144,000 people are hospitalised from alcohol use, according to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.
Add a pandemic into the mix, and many Australians have increased their consumption to unhealthy degrees.
Data from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia shows that alcohol spending increased between four and 23 percent between May to November 2020.
No level of consumption is considering totally safe. However, the National Health and Medical Research Council has issued guidelines that aim to minimise harm in healthy adults.
For women, moderate alcohol use is one drink a day; for men, it is up to two drinks a day.
At the same time, it is suggested that no-one has more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks in any sitting if they want to reduce the risk of injury and alcohol-related disease, including cancer.
So how much is a standard drink? It’s as little as 10 grams of alcohol which translates to a can or stubbie of mid-strength beer, 100ml of wine, or a 30ml nip of spirits.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or anyone under 18, no amount of alcohol is recommended.
When alcohol becomes a problem
It can be really difficult to quit drinking and, sometimes, to realise that it is even a problem.
This may be true even if alcohol is already affecting your health, your relationships, or your career.
Sometimes the best gage of whether alcohol is creating chaos in your life is asking other people.
However, you may have a problem if:
+ You’ve tried to reduce or stop drinking, but haven’t been able to
+ You are sick often from drinking
+ You have allowed drinking to interfere with your work or family commitments
+ You have engaged in unsafe behaviour after drinking. This could range from driving while drunk to having unsafe sex
While you may be able to cut back on drinking in the early stages of dependency, you may need medical help to stop if you have withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea and even hallucinations.
Between 2018 and 2019, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in 36 percent of closed alcohol and other drug treatment episodes, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Help is available
Raindrum’s private, residential treatment programs include treatment for addictions and are designed to facilitate genuine behavioural change. Combining a range of physical, therapeutic and experiential therapies, they can offer the answer to regaining control of your drinking and your life.
There are also a host of support services that offer assistance to suit any lifestyle or budget.