Drinking alcohol has always been a seemingly indispensable aspect of life among Australians. For most Aussies, alcohol consumption will always be present whether they are at parties and other social gatherings or just plain relaxing at home or on vacation. Australians are touted to have a heavy drinking culture, but in fairness, most Aussies drink alcohol at levels where they don’t really suffer adverse effects. That, however, couldn’t be said of a significant number of Australians.
There are many Australians who drink heavily to the point where they expose themselves to the many dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Ill-health, elevated risk for accidents, and psychological and emotional fallout within families are just some of the more adverse consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. A recent survey says 15 Australians die each day due to alcohol-related illnesses. However, following Australian guidelines to lessen health risks of alcohol consumption could help reduce that number.
Help Australians make informed decisions
Released in 2009 by the Australian government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, these guidelines aim to help members of the Australian community make informed decisions about alcohol consumption. These universal guidelines generally apply to children and young people, healthy adults aged 18 years and above, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
To lessen health risks associated with drinking alcohol, Australians may refer to the following guidelines:
Guideline 1 : Reducing alcohol-related harm over a lifetime
Alcohol is inherently a dangerous substance, but its dangers are closely linked to the amount of alcohol an individual consumes over a lifetime. The more an individual drinks, the bigger the lifetime risk of harm gets. To lessen the lifetime risk of alcohol-related illnesses or injury, the guidelines advise men and women of good health to drink not more than two standard drinks on any day.
Guideline 2: Reducing the risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking
Many injuries—and deaths as well—can be attributed to accidents caused by alcohol consumption. Even with just a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury rises with each drink you down. This is especially true in the workplace, where an alcohol user can get hurt and lose his job as well if the employer has a workplace alcohol policy in place. The risk of injury can be cut down if healthy men and women only drink four standard drinks at the most, and nothing more.
Guideline 3: Children and young people under 18 years of age should not consume alcohol
Totally abstaining from alcohol is the healthiest option for children and people under the age of 18, according to the Australian guidelines. They are, after all, at the greatest risk of harm if they consume the drink, especially those who are under 15 years of age. People who are under the age of 15 are more likely to engage in risky or even antisocial behaviour, therefore increasing the risks of getting involved in an accident that would cause injury or even death. The guidelines also emphasise that brain development may be adversely affected by alcohol consumption. Children this age who drink are more likely to encounter alcohol-related problems in adulthood.
Guideline 4: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should abstain, as well
As with children and young people under the age of 18, the Australian guidelines maintain that not drinking alcohol at all is the safest option for women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding. When a pregnant or breastfeeding woman drinks, she is putting her child in harm’s way.
Following these guidelines to the letter may be a bit of a challenge to many Australians who binge drink. However, if a person is determined to avoid the health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol, heeding these guidelines would be definitely worth the effort.