If you have landed on this webpage, perhaps it is because you have been wondering if you need to cut down on your drinking.
Daily life for many is hectic. For example, some people get up then get their children ready for school and themselves ready for work. They then get everyone in the car – constantly clock watching – to drop the children off and to not be late for work. By the time they finally sit at their desk, they feel like they have already done a day’s work.
Drinking at the End of the Day?
Fast forward to the end of the day. After a full day’s work, picking up the kids, making tea, bathing the kids,showering and finally collapsing on the sofa with a drink.
Alcohol use is becoming more prevalent within our society. It has almost become the norm for a portion of the population to sit and drink a glass or two of wine to relax from their day. Before they know it they have consumed a full bottle. They may drink to help them sleep, relax from their day and ‘chill out.’ There has even become a label for mothers who drink to cope with their lives: ‘Chardonnay Mothers’.
Within the workplace and under occupational health and safety legislation, all employees have a responsibility to make sure they look after their own and their co-workers’ safety. The effects of drugs, and the symptoms of coming down and withdrawal, can affect a person’s ability to work safely and effectively. For example, drinking alcohol at night does not automatically mean that driving the next day is safe.
How Much is Too Much?
The Australian guidelines state that 2 standard drinks is the healthy daily guideline – a ‘standard’ drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (eg beer, wine, spirits).
One standard drink equates to:
- 285 mL of full strength beer (4.8% alc. vol)
- 375mL of mid strength beer (3.5% alc. vol)
- 425 mL of low strength beer (2.7% alc. vol)
- 100 mL of wine (red – 13% alc. vol, and white – 11.5% alc. vol)
- 100 mL of champagne (12% alc. vol)
- 30 mL of spirits (40% alc. vol)
275 mL bottle of ready-to-drink beverage (5% alcohol content).
The Guidelines also state that:
- 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.
What is a Functioning Alcoholic?
Despite this, drinking alcohol is on the increase, as is the use of the term ‘functioning alcoholic.’ A functioning alcoholic is an individual who drinks alcohol (more than advised) daily and continues to hold down jobs, getting up for work every morning and going about their daily lives.
Alcohol consumption can start as one glass of wine in an evening, to the full bottle, and progress from there. The impact on the individual can result in short term issues with mental health, reliance on a substance and ultimately an addiction. Alcohol abuse can result in long term issues such as higher risk of cancer, liver problems and in severe cases Korsakoff’s dementia.
It is important to acknowledge that as adults, who are of sound mind and a certain age, it is their choice if and what alcohol they consume. As long as people are educated about the risks and feel there is no underlying issues for their drinking – it is their choice. Statistically, people who do drink alcohol DO NOT have a problem.
If you feel you are NOT in this group and your alcohol use is not ‘healthy’ and you need support, talking therapies can help to identify the source of why you are drinking alcohol to excess.
Therapy can look at the reasons why – identifying the stressors in your life that need attention – and help you to deal with them. However, this talking therapy is useful only for those people who feel they need to make changes, and acknowledge they have an issue with alcohol.
Author: Liz Taylor, BA (Hons).
Liz Taylor is a social worker with over ten years’ experience in helping people with personality disorders and other mental health issues. Liz’s counselling strategies are drawn from the Relapse Prevention Model, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). She is passionate about enabling her clients to function and feel a sense of control in their lives, and to achieve the goals and outcomes that they wish.