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For the most part, Australians have a positive relationship with alcohol. The majority of us drink moderately, and enjoy having a drink to relax and enjoy a meal with family and friends. However, there are those who have a more negative relationship with alcohol – consuming too much and too often.
Whilst we are aware of the risks associated with heavy alcohol use, we are largely unaware of the risks associated with moderate alcohol use. In-fact, there is an assumption that moderate use is actually good for our health. How many times have you heard that a glass of red wine is good for your heart? Yet the research behind these findings is weak at best, therefore the benefits of drinking alcohol in relation to our health have been massively exaggerated, especially when there is strong research to suggest that moderate alcohol use is not risk-free. In other words, no amount of alcohol is really safe, which is why the World Health Organisation has declared alcohol as a class 1 carcinogen.
What are the health risks?
Alcohol affects every body differently, depending upon your genetics, your diet, your gender, and your habits. Some of the risks associated with alcohol consumption include;
*Depression & Anxiety: Alcohol changes the balance of chemicals that help your brain to think, feel, create and make decisions. Alcohol can cause symptoms of depression and/or anxiety or make an existing problem worse.
*Poor Sleep: Ever had a couple of drinks only to find yourself lying awake in the early hours of the morning? If so then this is a rebound effect. While alcohol is a sedative, and its initial effect is to sedate, when this wears off, there is a rebound stimulant effect.
*Weight Gain: A standard drink has around 80 calories. Research shows that most people who drink a glass of wine at home often pour double that amount into a single glass. That adds up if you’re having a glass most days of the week and is a large contributor to the obesity epidemic (our nation’s biggest issue).
*Long-term health problems: Alcohol can cause liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, hepatitis, brain damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer. In-fact the list of cancers caused by alcohol is growing, and includes anything which alcohol touches – cancer of the mouth, upper throat, larynx, oesophagus, breast, liver, stomach, colon and rectum. Alcohol is also a likely cause for skin, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
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