Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can have a positive impact on your health. Limiting your alcohol intake can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your sleep and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Even in small amounts, drinking alcohol can be harmful to your health. To reduce your risk of long-term harm, you can restrict your alcohol to no more than two standard drinks per day.
Mental and physical health
Drinking alcohol can affect your mental and physical health. Although drinking may feel relaxing, it can lead to anxiety and disrupted sleep, which can make it harder for you to deal with stress. Drinking can cause depression, poor memory and even brain damage.
Alcohol and young people
Children and young
people under the age of 18 should not consume alcohol and are the largest group
at risk of physical and mental harm from drinking. For more guidance about
young people and alcohol visit Your Room.
Pregnant or breastfeeding
For people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, alcohol can harm the developing foetus and baby. Not drinking is the safest option. If you would like support during and after your pregnancy, you can visit Get Healthy in Pregnancy, a free health coaching service for all pregnant women in NSW aged 16 and over.
Alcohol and COVID-19
Research shows that many people have increased their alcohol intake while COVID-19 is impacting the community. Staying home more and seeing people less can lead to feelings of loneliness, boredom and sadness. Although this can make you want to drink more, alcohol can make these feelings worse. If you're struggling with mental health, you can contact Mental Health Line.
Instead of drinking alcohol to manage these feelings, try connecting with friends and family over the phone or online, going for a walk outside, reading or doing something creative. Physical activity has been shown to have positive effects on mental health – check out our tips for staying mentally healthy.
For more tips to look after your health during times of change visit Staying healthy at home. Or if you need more support managing your alcohol intake during the coronavirus pandemic visit Beyond Blue.
Getting help to drink less
Think about the impact alcohol may be having on your daily life. Is drinking alcohol affecting your work, hobbies or social interactions? If drinking alcohol feels more important than other parts of your life, you may be drinking at a risky level.
If you are drinking large amounts of alcohol frequently, are experiencing headaches, anxiety and vomiting after drinking, or if the people around you are commenting on your drinking behaviour, it may be time to seek help.
The Drinks Meter App is free to download and provides anonymous, personalised advice on your drinking. The app can help you set goals and keep track to reduce your alcohol use and improve your health.
You can also call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 250 015 to speak to someone at any time. For access to a free coaching service to help you reduce how much you drink, contact the Get Healthy Service available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. Enrol online or simply call 1300 806 258.