BY DR ORLA BARRY, MANLY VILLAGE MEDICAL
As we emerge on the other side of holidays, maybe a little bleary eyed or with belts loosened, I’m sure many of us are turning our minds to New Year’s resolutions. For some that may mean more exercise or less food but for others it will mean trying to cut back on drinking.
The Australian Alcohol guidelines currently recommend that healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. This doesn’t mean 10 glasses of wine or four cans of beer, it refers to 10 grams of pure alcohol in whatever volume it takes. Most full strength beers and most standard pours of wine will contain more than one standard drink. Most people unknowingly exceed the recommended amount weekly or monthly depending on their lifestyle.
Exceeding this amount doesn’t mean you are an alcoholic in the same way that eating more than your daily recommended calories doesn’t mean you have an eating disorder. What matters more is your pattern of behaviour and what drives you to consume alcohol. Reliance on alcohol can be influenced by many factors and develop for many reasons but can have serious health consequences. These include liver disease, increased risk of certain cancers, dementia and increased injury risk. Alcohol is the most easily accessed harmful drug in Australia.
If you are concerned that your alcohol use is excessive or are worried about its effects on your health please see your GP to discuss your concerns. There are easily accessed tests and services that can assist in your alcohol journey and more options than just rehabilitation which your GP can help with.