Australian Drinking Trends
There are few places in the world in which alcohol is not consumed, often daily, by individuals. In regards to Australian drinking trends, researchers have found that of the heaviest drinkers, ten percent drink over half the alcohol consumed in the area. This is an average of six standard drinks a day or 42 average drinks a week. This means that these individuals are drinking well above the low risk guidelines and putting their personal health and the health of others in danger. Research shows that most heavy drinkers are middle aged men, usually living in rural or regional type areas, though there are exceptions to every rule. Australian drinking trends show that heavy drivers are much more likely to drink cheap beer and cask wine over other drinks and possibly for financial reasons. However, employment status and neighborhood disadvantage do not seem to affect this choice a great deal.
Though there is no specific answer to why this is true, the rise in packaged liquor sales suggests these are choice drinks for heavy drinkers. Especially when found in chain stores that can sell it cheaper than other places. This alludes to the fact that most heavy drinkers drink at home or in a friend’s home, with pubs and clubs running a close second. The problem with Australian drinking behaviors, aside from health concerns is the likelihood that the drinker will drive while under the influence, be a public nuisance, or verbally abuse someone as these behaviors show an increase.
Signs of Alcohol Use and Abuse
Alcoholism is a serious medical disease, though the addiction aspect is termed alcohol use disorder or alcohol abuse in clinical terms. The signs and symptoms of alcoholism can vary from person to person, as can the amount. For some people a few drinks on the weekend may cause the same problems as for those who drink daily. To recognize some of the familiar physical signs look for:
- Incoherent or slurred speech
- Delayed reflexes, poor balance, or even clumsiness
- Face redness, especially while drinking or immediately after
- Black outs
- Stomach issues that include pain, nausea, or vomiting
If any of these signs are present, watch for alcohol poisoning in which the person may not be able to breathe well or stops completely. Though not always fatal, alcohol poisoning can quickly lead to death.
Terms Associated With Alcohol Use and Abuse
There are many terms associated with alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol abuse refers to a progressive increase in the amount and frequency of alcohol that is consumed. This tends to lead to more and progressive medical issues. When someone is abusing alcohol, they tend to drink as a main activity, often retreating from family, friends, hobbies, and even work and other responsibilities. These individuals may also try to hide their level and amounts of drinking, especially from family and friends. Signs to watch out for abuse include:
- A growing loss of control over how much alcohol is consumed
- Insomnia, often followed by periods of extended sleep
- Increased emotions, often anger, that is inappropriate or in inappropriate settings
- Inattention to obligations, including family, friends, hobbies, and work
- Dangerous behaviors, such as those that lead to financial, health, or legal issues for self or others
Perhaps the drinking behaviors have escalated beyond abuse levels, which could mean the person is in the alcohol dependence category. Alcohol dependence can also be a part of abuse, but is most often associated with those who call themselves alcoholics. This is a physical dependence on alcohol. It is most often characterized by an inability to stop drinking, even if the desire is there and despite consequences of continued drinking behaviors. These are individuals who, once they start drinking, cannot control how much is consumed, even if it is dangerous. In this case, alcohol becomes the focus of life and a serious medical illness is present.
Those who are alcohol dependent will need medical treatment to stop drinking as it can be dangerous to the person’s health to simply stop cold turkey. Signs of dependence include those listed above, but also include:
- Hangovers that are significant enough that an increased amount of time is needed to recover
- Withdrawal when alcohol is not available
- A strong tolerance to alcohol that increases over time
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking
- Acknowledgement of medical issues related to alcohol (liver disease, heart issues)
- Reduced or total lack of attention to life’s responsibilities
If you have concerns that you or a loved one falls into these categories, then seek help. If you are uncertain whether withdrawal is occurring then read on as the signs and symptoms are included.
When someone becomes physically addicted to alcohol and then cannot get anything to drink, withdrawal symptoms may occur. In some cases, withdrawal can do great damage to the body systems and any signs of withdrawal should be checked out by a medical professional. Look for signs like:
- Convulsions, shaking of the hands, or even full body tremors
- Sweating extreme amounts, even when it is cold in the area
- Stomach issues such as nausea and vomiting
- In some cases, extreme agitation and anxiety
When someone goes through withdrawal and begins detoxing, a great health risk is present. This is a higher risk than with most other drugs. In fact, a sudden stopping of drinking when a physical addiction is present can create a condition called delirium tremens that can lead to death. This is why medical intervention is so important.
Finding the Right Help
If you or a loved one has developed a tolerance to alcohol or have become physically dependent, then seek help. DARA offers inpatient facilities in several locations with some of the best being in Australia. Locations include places such as Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland. This luxury resort style rehab facility works with each individual for several weeks to prepare them for long term recovery. This is accomplished through work with the mind, body, and spirit to help the whole person heal. Call anytime, day or night to set up your stay and get life back on track.
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