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Alcohol can be an enjoyable component of social occasions and time spent with family and friends if consumed responsibly.  However, it is now commonly recognised that excessive drinking has the potential to negatively impact health and wellbeing, and family relationships.

According to the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, for healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.  For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol related injury arising from that occasion.  About 1 in 4 people who regularly exceed alcohol guidelines already has an alcohol use disorder, and the remaining people exceeding these limits are at greater risk of developing alcohol-related problems.

Alcohol misuse can significantly increase the stress within a family, whether the person drinking is a parent, child or extended family member. Common family problems related to alcohol abuse include increased arguments about drinking or things related to drinking, such as not taking care of responsibilities in the home and neglecting family relationships, and increased family violence.  It is also well established that alcohol abuse can lead to serious financial problems, due to the actual money spent on alcohol, lost productivity at work and decreased inhibitions when spending money.

Recent critiques of alcohol consumption in Australia have emphasised the harms of an ‘excessive drinking culture’ that is embedded in Australian society.  The focus of Relationships Australia’s October 2018 online survey was to examine the alcohol use of visitors to our website and report on harms that survey respondents may have experienced in their own lives.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites