Frequently asked questions about alcohol dependence
What are the guidelines for safe levels of drinking?
Children under the age of 18, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are advised not to drink alcohol at all. While no level of alcohol use is completely safe, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends the consumption of no more than two standard drinks per day. The more you drink, the more your lifetime risk of harm from drinking increases.
How much alcohol is in a standard drink?
There are 10 grams of pure alcohol (around 12.5ml) in a standard drink. This is equal to:
- 1 small glass of wine (100ml)
- 30ml spirits, either as a mixed drink or shot
- 375ml can of mid-strength beer (3.5%)
- 285ml glass of full-strength beer (4.8%).
Is binge drinking dangerous?
Drinking too much on a single occasion or over a number of days or weeks is known as binge drinking. Along with the physical effects of a hangover or even alcohol poisoning, binge drinking is dangerous in the short-term because of the risk posed by alcohol-fuelled assault, or death or injury in a car accident due to drink driving. The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends the consumption of no more than four standard drinks on any occasion, by both men and women, in order to reduce the risk of alcohol-related injury. In the long-term, binge drinking can lead to alcohol dependence.
What are the effects of alcohol dependence?
When alcohol is used excessively, a physical or psychological dependence can develop. The physical effects of alcohol dependence include ill health and the effects of withdrawal. The mental effects of alcohol dependence can include depression, anxiety and mental illness. Alcoholism is when the ongoing consequences to health, relationships and quality of life are ignored or not recognised, and the drinking of alcohol continues.
How does alcohol affect your health?
The early effects of alcohol use can include memory loss, changes to personal behaviour and poor nutrition. The cumulative effects of long-term alcohol consumption can include damage to the liver, pancreas, stomach, oesophagus or brain. Alcohol is carcinogenic, so cancers can form. Diabetes can be another harmful effect, along with obesity and malnutrition.
What is alcohol withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal is when someone who is alcohol dependent stops drinking. Withdrawal from alcohol needs to be medically supervised, as suddenly stopping drinking is dangerous. The treatment programs offered by Wesley Hospital Ashfield and Wesley Hospital Kogarah manage the severe symptoms of withdrawal and set in place a system of support to help ensure post-treatment success.
How do we treat alcohol dependence?
Wesley Hospital Ashfield and Wesley Hospital Kogarah’s highly regarded treatment programs involve rehabilitation for both in-patients and day patients. Following a thorough assessment, the medically managed detoxification process includes group therapy, individual therapy and the use of external support groups.