Excessive alcohol consumption remains a major concern in Australia. According to the official National Health Survey for 2020-21, one in four Australians aged 18 and over exceeded the national alcohol guidelines. These numbers peaked during the pandemic when almost 12% of Aussies started to consume alcohol daily.
And while these worrying numbers are expected to decrease as the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, Australia remains one of the countries with the highest alcohol consumption per capita in developed countries. Alcohol abuse among Australians often leads to alcohol addiction. Indeed, during the 2021-22 period, Aussies seeking alcohol addiction treatment rose from 37% in 2021 to 42% in 2022, indicating that more and more Australians have begun to acknowledge their addiction requires professional help.
Many Australians seek help with drug or alcohol addiction outside Australia, especially in Thailand. Why is alcohol addiction such a significant issue in Australia? And how to determine when to seek help. We’ll cover that and more in the following article.
Alcohol Drinking Trends in Australia
Before we discuss Aussie alcohol abuse problems in more detail, let’s take a closer look at some of the key alcohol consumption trends in Australia:
- 67.9% of adult Australians (aged 18+) consumed alcohol in an average four-week period in 2021-2022;
- One in four Australians aged 18 and over exceeded the recommended alcohol consumption limit in 2020-21;
- More men exceeded official guidelines than women – 33.6% to 18.5%;
- In 2019-20, alcohol-related injuries resulted in over 30,000 hospitalisations in Australia;
- Around 77% of Australians aged 14 or older consume a full serving of alcohol at least once a year (2020);
- 45% of adults approve of alcohol consumption, with only 21% disapproving of alcohol drinking;
- There were over 1,500 alcohol-induced deaths in Australia reported in 2021;
- Alcohol is the leading drug Australians sought treatment for in 2021-22, with 42% of treatment episodes being related to alcohol addiction.
Understanding Australian Drinking Culture
To understand where these worrying trends come from, we need to first talk more about the Australian drinking culture. Indeed, alcohol is firmly embedded in the Australian culture, playing a significant role in Aussie’s lives.
Drinking is an important part of social events and celebrations, such as family meals, parties, sports events, friendly outings, etc. Indeed, alcohol has become such an integral part of Aussie socialisation that non-drinkers often feel left out.
And while most people consume alcohol at low-risk levels, many Australians drink at levels that put them at increased risk, with one in every six Australians drinking at levels putting them at risk of alcohol-related injury.
Due to these factors and the prevalence of drinking in Australia, identifying when innocent drinking ends and alcohol abuse starts can be problematic. To help Australians be aware of what healthy alcohol consumption levels are, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released alcohol consumption guidelines in 2020.
Australian Alcohol Consumption Guidelines
According to the new 2020 NHMRC Australian Alcohol Consumption Guidelines, a ‘healthy’ alcohol consumption limit for healthy adults is no more than 10 standard drinks a week and four standard drinks daily. That applies to both men and women.
Of course, this limit doesn’t completely negate the risk of alcohol consumption. However, according to the NHMRC, adults who comply with these consumption limits have less than a one in 100 chance of dying from alcohol-related conditions.
Unfortunately, as mentioned, one in four adult Australians (25.8% to be exact) exceeded these guideline limits in 2020-21. This means they consumed over 10 drinks a week or more than five drinks on any day at least monthly during the 12-month period (12 occasions per year).
What is a standard drink? As stated by the NHMRC, a standard drink refers to any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of its size and type.
If you start to notice your or your close one’s alcohol consumption is higher than these guidelines, it might be a sign of excessive drinking. In such a case, it may be the right time to seek professional help.
When to Seek Help?
Identifying alcohol addiction can be difficult, especially in Australia, where it plays such a pivotal role in social lives. However, if you’re starting to recognise your drinking has increased recently, it might be an indication that you have an alcohol addiction. In such a case, the best idea is to seek professional help.
Essentially, if you’re starting to believe you may be addicted to alcohol, pay attention to the following symptoms:
- You’ve started drinking more at increased quantity and frequency, often exceeding the recommended consumption guidelines;
- Your alcohol tolerance levels have increased;
- You don’t experience common hangover symptoms;
- You’ve started drinking at inappropriate times, for instance, during work hours, in the morning, etc.;
- You regularly crave alcohol;
- You try to downplay or hide your drinking;
- You’ve started neglecting your work and other responsibilities due to drinking;
- You’re no longer interested in social activities without alcohol;
- You neglect your family and friends because of alcohol;
- You experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, insomnia, rapid heart rate, irritation, mood swings, anxiety, tremors, and strong alcohol cravings.
It’s essential to notice and address these symptoms immediately, as alcohol addiction only worsens with time. Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to severe brain changes, affecting one’s memory, mood, and cognition.
Additionally, heavy long-term drinking can have a severe impact on one’s health, with the most common alcohol-related health complications including:
- increased risk of cancer,
- diabetes complications,
- potency problems,
- cardiovascular problems,
- gastrointestinal health issues,
- liver damage,
- decreased immunity.
That is why getting alcohol abuse under control as soon as possible is so vital. And frankly, the most effective way to do that is by seeking professional help. That’s something more and more Australians are starting to realise as the number of alcohol addicts seeking treatment continues to rise.
Why Seek Professional Help?
If you believe you or your friend or family member might be an alcohol addict, you need to act immediately. And while many Australians still opt for going through a detox themselves, more decide to seek professional help from rehabilitation centres. And there are several valid reasons for that.
First of all, alcohol detox is very demanding, both mentally and physically. And the more alcohol-dependent you are, the more challenging detoxing becomes. In many instances, unsupervised detox can even be life-threatening. However, when going through detox with professional help, a person significantly decreases the associated risks while increasing the chances of recovery.
Secondly, with alcohol being so commonly available in Australia, it’s easy to start drinking again, especially after the detox phase when recovering addicts experience the strongest cravings. By seeking professional help and going through the first steps of rehabilitation in the rehab centre, recovering addicts can receive the support they need while also ensuring they won’t start drinking again.
Why Australians Choose The Dawn Rehab?
More and more Aussies opt to seek professional alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Many of them decide to choose rehab centres outside Australia, as they offer a more peaceful environment. One of the most desired addiction rehabilitation destinations among Australians has become Thailand. And when seeking addiction treatment there, The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand is one of the most popular treatment venues among Australians.
Why do Australians choose our Thai Rehab Centre? One of the most significant reasons is the location. Based on a tranquil riverside in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, The Dawn Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre offers the perfect and peaceful environment, free of triggers and stressors that may put recovering addicts on a relapse.
But location isn’t everything. Besides peaceful surroundings, we offer our patients professional help provided by an internationally-trained and highly-experienced clinical team. Indeed, The Dawn is the only Asian treatment centre with international accreditation, proving our expertise and trustworthiness.
And the most important thing is that all our amenities are available for almost half the price of high-quality rehabs in Australia. That means our Australian patients can stay in our rehab centre for longer while taking advantage of our fitness centre, swimming pool, yoga and meditation studio, and professional help and counselling from our staff.
Learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment or contact us directly for a confidential and non-obligatory consultation. Take control over your life again, and see why The Dawn Rehab is Australia’s top destination for addiction treatment and mental wellness retreat.
Alcohol consumption in Australia remains a concern, as over three-quarters of Australians admit to drinking at least one drink a year. That alone may not be as concerning, but with one in four adult Australians aged 18 and over exceeding the official Australian alcohol consumption guidelines, it’s clear that Aussies struggle with excessive drinking.
The positive thing is that these numbers, while still high, have been decreasing over the past few years. Also, more and more Australians seem to admit they may have a drinking problem, with alcohol being the leading drug Australians sought treatment for in 2022 (42% of all cases). And if you’ve noticed any potential alcohol addiction behaviours and symptoms in yourself or a person close to you, now is the time to act.
Contact The Dawn Rehab today and regain control of your life. As Australia’s top rehabilitation destination, our Dawn Rehab and Mental Wellness Centre in Thailand will provide you or your loved one with professional help and a peaceful environment, which is vital in an effective battle with addiction.
Call us today and join other fellow Aussies in the journey to sobriety.
Q: Why is alcohol abuse such a common problem in Australia?
A: Drinking has been an integral part of the Australian lifestyle for a long time. It’s natural for Aussies to engage in drinking when socializing, whether it’s a family barbecue, a night out with friends, or a sports event. Another problem with Australian drinking is that it’s often associated with excessive drinking. In 2020-21 more than a quarter of Aussies aged 18 and over exceeded the recommended alcohol consumption guidelines, with one in every six Australians drinking at levels putting them at direct risk.
Q: What are the official Australian alcohol consumption guidelines?
A: In 2020, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) published the revised Australian Alcohol Consumption Guidelines. Their goal is to help Aussies reduce health risks associated with drinking by advising them about ‘healthy’ alcohol consumption limits. These guidelines state that a healthy adult shouldn’t drink more than ten standard drinks a week and four standard drinks a day, with a standard drink being 10 grams of alcohol.
Q: What are the signs of alcohol addiction?
A: It’s often difficult to assess whether you or a person close to you may be addicted to alcohol, especially in Australia, where alcohol plays such a profound role in many people’s lifestyles. Symptoms of potential alcohol addiction include excessive and unusual drinking habits; neglecting family, work, and other responsibilities due to drinking; feeling continuous alcohol cravings; experiencing withdrawal symptoms when non-drinking; increased alcohol tolerance and lack of common hangover symptoms.
Q: Where can Australians seek help with alcohol addiction?
A: There are a number of ways for Australians to seek help with their alcohol treatment. If you aren’t sure where to begin, you can call the Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS). It’s a free and confidential counselling helpline for Australian residents. You can also visit the official Alcohol and Drug Foundation website for more information about your addiction. The Australian Alcoholics Anonymous website is also full of helpful information for recovering addicts and alcoholics who seek counselling. Once you’re ready to begin your treatment, though, be sure to seek professional help.
Q: Why is it a good idea for Australians to seek addiction treatment outside Australia?
A: When in need of addiction treatment, it’s never a good option to go through the process yourself. By going to a remote and tranquil rehab centre, addicts gain access to a professional clinical team and multiple amenities to help them treat their addiction and recover. And that’s precisely what The Dawn Rehab Centre in Thailand offers.