Having a ‘few too many’ a bit too often?

The University’s Northfields Clinic is encouraging residents concerned about their alcohol consumption but not wishing to stop drinking altogether to join its Healthier Drinking Group.

Studies reveal that 10-15% of Australians are drinking at harmful levels, with figures constantly on the rise. Although many men and women are able to keep their drinking within healthy limits, many Australians find this difficult. The Healthy Drinking program aims to assist individuals who feel their alcohol intake may be excessive in reducing their drinking to safer levels.

The program will focus on increasing participant awareness of the dangers of unhealthy drinking, healthier alternatives and coping strategies.

Northfields Clinic Provisional Psychologist Luke Downie said the program was designed in response to the overwhelming number of Illawarra residents experiencing significant issues related to their alcohol intake.

“Although many men and women are able to keep their drinking within healthy limits, many Australians find this difficult,” he said.

“The consequences of excessive drinking include bad hangovers, missed work, social blunders, arguments and fights, family problems, money problems, drink driving and more serious legal charges. On top of this, alcohol has cumulative effects on all of the body’s organs, and may lead to serious pain and disability in later life.”

Downie said he believed drinking habits were learned behaviours individuals copy from friends, family and their societies.

“The good news is that those facing difficulty in controlling their drinking can re-learn healthier habits if provided with enough assistance,” he said.

“30 years of research has proven that healthier drinking programs are successful in producing positive outcomes in relation to reduced alcohol consumption. Our Healthier Drinking Program is a great way for individuals to improve their alcohol intake levels as well as their general health and wellbeing.”

Note: Individuals can self-refer to this program by simply contacting the Northfields Clinic on 4221 3747. Sessions are held during the early evening. Cost for the five-week week program is $60 or $45 concession. All participants must attend a pre-group assessment and have a GP health check before the program. The next group begins on 6.00pm Tuesday 17th May (Northfields Clinic). Pre-group assessments begin 2nd May.

Media – for further information contact Luke Downie on 0412 628 531 or on the Northfields Clinic on (02) 4221 3747.