Alcohol can affect your body in many ways, depending on factors like your age, family history, body type and how much you drink. Learn more about the Australian alcohol guidelines, how alcohol can affect your health and tips for drinking less.
To reduce the risk of harm, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) revised the Australian Alcohol Guidelines in 2020.
If you drink alcohol, the guidelines recommend:
If you have a medical condition or take medicine, talk to your doctor about the risks of drinking alcohol.
Visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website to learn more about alcohol, tips for minimising alcohol harm and where to get help.
Any amount of alcohol can have a negative effect on your health. High-risk drinking, including binge drinking (drinking five or more standard drinks in one sitting), can put your health at serious risk – even if you only do it once or twice per week.
High-risk drinking can have short-term and long-term effects on your health. Short-term effects can include poor sleep, headaches, dehydration and changes in mood. Long-term effects can include alcohol dependence, depression, weight gain and increased risk of some cancers (e.g. breast cancer).
Research shows that the consumption of alcohol in women aged 45¬ to 64 years has increased since 2001. This is concerning, as about 75% of breast cancer cases happen in women aged 50 years and over.
One study found that one in five middle-aged women are drinking at ‘binge drinking levels’, which puts them at a much higher risk of harm.
Here are some tips to help you drink less:
You can also:
If you or someone you know needs alcohol support, talk to your doctor. They will give you information and may recommend counselling, treatment and support programs.
Visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website for more information or visit the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care website to find support services.
You can also call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
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