Most of us enjoy alcohol socially, however when we are stressed we may increase our alcohol intake which can lead to dependence and impact on our health and wellbeing.

If you are concerned about your alcohol use and would like some support you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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The effects of drinking

In 2013 those who identified as using high levels of alcohol reported they were also feeling high levels of psychological distress, which can be an indicator that alcohol misuse often occurs as a means to alleviate our emotional and psychological distress (AIHW 2013).

Even very small amounts of alcohol can affect our concentration, judgment and performance. This may be important where a high degree of skill is needed, or if the safety of others is involved.

For more information go to the Australian Drug Foundation alcohol fact sheet.

It is advised that adult men and women should not exceed two standard drinks of alcohol per day, as this reduces the risk of alcohol related harm to our health. Drinking four standard drinks of alcohol on a single occasion more than doubles the risk of an injury in the six hours afterwards, and this risk rises even more rapidly when more than four alcoholic drinks are consumed on a single occasion (NHMRC 2009).

Who is having a drink

In Australia, approximately 80% of adults have drunk alcohol in the past 12 months. It is estimated that 15-20% have consumed alcohol at levels that are considered to be hazardous to their health and approximately 5% may be deemed as dependent on alcohol (Haber et al 2015, p 297).

Alcohol continues to be the primary substance of concern for nurses, midwives and students, as indicated in a study in 2012, where 13.9% of the 4419 participants reported they engaged in harmful daily alcohol use (Schluter et al, 2012). In America, it is estimated that 10-15% of nurses will abuse alcohol at some point during their nursing careers (Servodidio, 2011).

Standard drinks

Can/Stubbie low-strength beer: 0.8 standard drinks

Can/Stubbie mid-strength beer: 1 standard drink

Can/Stubbie full-strength beer: 1.4 standard drinks

100 ml of wine (13.5% alcohol): 1 standard drink

30 ml of spirits: 1 standard drink

Can of spirits (approximately 5% alcohol): 1.6-2.4 standard drinks

One cocktail: Can have up to 6 standard drinks

Measure your alcohol use

Are you concerned about your alcohol usage? Asking yourself the following questions may help you decide if you want to get some support.

  • Has alcohol become the priority in your life?
  • Do you feel alcohol has taken control of your life?
  • Have you found it difficult to stop using alcohol once you have started drinking?
  • Are you feeling guilty or concerned about your alcohol use?
  • Are you requiring more alcohol to achieve the desired effect?
  • Are others in your life expressing concern regarding your alcohol use?
  • Is your participation in social and recreational activities reduced or stopped?
  • Is alcohol your preferred activity or focus?  
  • Have you failed to follow up, or find it more difficult to co-ordinate your normal roles and responsibilities? 
  • Are there signs of alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you are not able to consume alcohol? Withdrawal signs may include unexplained tremors, increased sweating, headaches, anxiety, diarrhoea or vomiting, and issues sleeping.
  • Has your mood and motivation changed?

If you answer yes to any of the above you may want to consider getting some assistance. If you would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.

What can I do next?

Why not read some of our articles on staying healthy:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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