Drink responsibly and everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the staff at Toogood Road Family Medical Centre
The consumption of alcohol is widespread within Australia and associated with many social and cultural activities. When consumed, alcohol produces a number of central nervous system depressant effects.
Alcohol concentration varies considerably with the type of drink. In Australia, beer contains 0.9–6% alcohol, wine contains 12–14%, fortified wines such as sherry and port contain around 18–20%, and spirits such as scotch, rum, bourbon and vodka contain 40–50% (NSW Ministry of Health 2017).
A standard drink contains 10g of alcohol. Many drinks have more than 1 standard drink in them. Check the label on your bottle or container to see how many standards drinks are in it.
In 2019, 1 in 4 (25%) people aged 14 and over exceeded the single occasion risk guidelines by consuming more than 4 standard drinks in one sitting, at least monthly.
Alcohol is absorbed rapidly in the bloodstream and affects the brain within about 5 minutes, though this may vary from person to person depending on body mass and general state of health (NSW Ministry of Health 2017). The Table below displays the short term and long term effects of alcohol consumption.
Table ALCOHOL1: Effects of alcohol consumption
A sense of relaxation
Loss of alertness or coordination, and slower reaction times
Impaired memory and judgement
Nausea, shakiness and vomiting
Blurred or double vision
Disturbed sleep patterns
Disturbed sexual functioning
Oral, throat and breast cancers
Brain damage and dementia
Some forms of heart disease and stroke
Source: NSW Ministry of Health (2017).
Guidelines to reduce your risk
To reduce your risk when you drink alcohol, follow the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks. These guidelines are based on scientific research and evidence and have been recently reviewed by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The proposed new guidelines state:
If you’re a healthy adult:
To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm. For some people, not drinking at all is the safest option.
Children, young people and pregnant women should not consume alcohol.
Call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline for free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs. 1800 250 015
How can you reduce or quit alcohol?
It's a good idea to see your doctor first if you want to quit or stop drinking alcohol. They can help you to manage any withdrawal symptoms you may have. It's also helpful to have an action plan and a support network to help you achieve your goals.