How much alcohol is it safe to drink? What happens if you drink too much?

Drinking in Australia

One in five Australian adults drink an unsafe level of alcohol. This video from Channel 10 explains more about this significant problem:

Alcohol: How Much Is Too Much?

Australian guidelines recommend:

  1. Drink no more than two standard drinks on any day – even if you drink every day, your risk of alcohol-related disease or death will remain less than 1% if you drink no more than two drinks on any day. The more alcohol-free days you have, the lower your risk.
  2. Drink no more than four standard drinks on any occasion – even if you stop at four drinks, that is enough to double your relative risk of injury for 6 hours. With each further drink, your risk rises further.
  3. Young people should delay their drinking initiation as long as possible.
  4. For pregnant and breast-feeding women, not drinking at all is the safest option.

What is a Standard Drink?

Click here to view the NHMRC Standard Drink Chart

What harm does drinking cause?

Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of:

  • Injury, assault, accidental death and suicide;
  • Liver disease;
  • Brain disease;
  • Stroke;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Pancreatitis;
  • Fertility problems;
  • Heart disease; and
  • Many cancers.

Time For Change?

When you consider the health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, do we accept our drinking culture too easily? This video from DrinkWise discusses the challenge of changing our drinking culture.

Cutting Down On Alcohol

One in five Australians will have difficulty with alcohol abuse or dependence at some stage, so if you think you may be drinking too much then you are not alone. If you are considering cutting back and would like to learn more about your options, please check out these handy resources:

If you need help cutting back, please consider speaking with your doctor or get in touch with Al Anon or the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (both listed on the Get Support page).

Further Information