Most Australians will enjoy a drink of alcohol over the festive season, and there is nothing wrong with that. Alcohol helps people relax and enjoy social occasions. Small amounts of alcohol even protect middle aged and older people from heart disease.
However, too much alcohol can put you at risk. Regular heavy drinking can cause cancer, cirrhosis (liver damage), high blood pressure, heart disorders, strokes, stomach ulcers and difficulties getting an erection. A heavy session can lead to fights, accidents and unsafe or unwanted sex.
How much is too much?
Recent draft guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia's peak health body, have set out safe drinking limits. Alcohol is measured in 'standard drinks'. One standard drink is a glass of full strength beer (285 ml), one and a half glasses of light beer (425 ml), a glass of wine (100 ml), a nip of spirits (30 ml) or liqueur, port or sherry (60 ml).
- Men should drink no more than 28 standard drinks per week.
- Women should drink no more than 14 standard drinks per week.
- Pregnant women (and those trying to fall pregnant) should have no more than one standard drink a day and should consider not drinking at all.
- In any one day, men should have no more than 6 standard drinks, and women 4.
- All drinkers should have one or two alcohol-free days per week.
How to drink less
Try these tips to cut down:
- Set a limit before you drink
- Don't drink alcohol to quench thirst. Use non-alcoholic drinks
- Eat before or while drinking
- Try low-alcohol drinks
- Drink slowly. Take sips not gulps
- Have alcohol-free drinks between drinks o Avoid drinking with heavy drinkers
- Avoid 'shouts'
- Stay busy while you drink
- Avoid salty snacks which make you thirsty
Speak to your doctor if you think you may be drinking too much.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.