Alcohol plays an important role in the fabric of our society. While most Australians have a positive relationship with alcohol, excessive consumption remains a problem for some.
It has been embedded in our culture since colonial times and influences how many of us socialise and relax. Most Australians have a healthy relationship with alcohol, with 63 percent of us usually consuming no more than the recommended two standard drinks on any given day.
However, for some individuals drinking is a problem. Many people drink more than the recommended amount, with 16 percent of Australians consuming five or more standard drinks a day.
Health risks associated with excessive drinking
Consumed in moderation, alcohol can form part of a healthy lifestyle. Conversely, excessive drinking can wreak havoc on your health.
In the long-term, anyone who drinks more than two standard drinks per day is at higher risk of:
- cancer of the bowel, breast, throat, mouth and liver
- liver disease
- cardiovascular disease
- mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
- fertility problems (and is harmful to unborn babies).
Short-term, excessive drinking can lead to violence, poor judgement and coordination, memory loss, vomiting, headaches and hangovers, alcohol poisoning, and road accidents.
Changing drinking behaviour
Many heavy drinkers acknowledge that there are health risks associated with their drinking and are looking for ways to change their intake. Each year, around 300,000 Australians access help to change their drinking patterns, but only about a third get the support they want.
However, there’s now greater online support to help those wanting to improve their drinking habits and this could be part of the solution.
Hello Sunday Morning
Hello Sunday Morning is a movement that has been helping Australians change their relationship with alcohol since 2010. The online Daybreak program — a private alcohol support program — is designed to help heavy drinkers cut back on alcohol and take steps to improve their health.
Developed by a clinical team, the program has no waiting lists and is accessible anywhere, anytime on a smartphone. The program can be tailored to personal goals around alcohol consumption, and includes one-on-one personal help with a trained health coach. Peer support from other users is also available through the program, to provide advice and keep people motivated towards their goals.
If you need to change your drinking behaviour, have a chat to your doctor.