6 signs it’s time to cut down your drinking
Drinking alcohol, for many Australians, is a regular part of life. Broadly people think that drinking is safe, especially because it’s legal and very easy to buy. However, it can do a great deal of damage to people, as well as their families and communities.
But how do you know if your drinking has got out of hand, and what can you do if this is the case?
Signs to look for
1. Is your drinking impacting your health, fitness or wellbeing?
Having a hangover is a well-known side effect of drinking and while relatively normal can be concerning depending on the severity and symptoms. More broadly if you often feel unwell, sluggish, unhappy or are experiencing erratic emotions, it may be a sign that your drinking is having a negative impact and it may be time to reevaluate.
If you are feeling unwell, or shaky and find that drinking alcohol helps you feel better, this can be a sign of dependence to alcohol and is something you should speak to a health professional about.
2. Had drinking taken over other aspects of your life?
Have you chosen to drink instead of taking part in other activities? Perhaps you have missed work or an important event due to your drinking. If you are prioritising drinking or found that the effects of your drinking mean that you are missing things it can be a sign that it’s time to make a change.
3. Have you been increasing your drinking over time?
Do you find that you drink more than you used to, to get the same effect? Perhaps you don’t even realise it until later, when you realise how much you drank or how much you spent. This can be a sign that you are building a tolerance to alcohol and that it may be time to make a change.
4. Do you feel guilt or remorse after drinking?
Perhaps you are drinking more than you mean too, or things are happening when you drink that you regret. This loss of control and the stress that it’s causing may mean that it’s time to re-evaluate.
5. Have you, or someone close to you been hurt because of your drinking?
Whether it’s physical or emotional harm that has been caused, it is a critical time to have a look at your drinking, the effect its having and whether it’s time to make some changes.
6. Has someone expressed concern about your drinking?
This could be a relative, friend or even health care worker. If other people are noticing signs that your drinking may be a cause for concern, it might be time to take a closer look at what's going on.
Is drinking harm wide spread?
One in six Australians drink alcohol at harmful levels, putting them at risk of alcohol-related disease or injury, and one in five will develop an alcohol use disorder during their lifetime. Alcohol is also the most common substance that people need support with when contacting our service.
Are people drinking more because of the pandemic?
People often turn to alcohol or other drugs to help cope with stress, financial pressures, loss and trauma. Increases in drinking are consistently reported after natural disasters, acts of terrorism and economic crises. Early studies indicate that people are drinking more since the pandemic began and we have seen an increase in people seeking support from our service.
If you have found yourself drinking more during the pandemic you are not alone and we are here to help support you.