Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

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Alcoholism and Binge Drinking in Australia is on the increase with more younger aged drinkers, having sustained and longer binges.

Alcoholism and binge drinking – or risky drinking – is not defined by a number of drinks, but refers to the regularity of heavy drinking and drinking deliberately to get drunk. The reasons for using alcohol and high-risk drinking are many, but one of the most talked about is that of Australia’s drinking culture.

Binge drinking can cause a range of serious problems, including health, psychological and social issues. The physical risks of heavy or binge drinking are severe and many:

  • Dangerous loss of coordination
  • Dangerous lack of judgment
  • Brain damage, including memory loss
  • Injury to oneself or another
  • Dizziness, vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Liver failure and death

If you feel that your drinking habits have grown out of control and are beginning to negatively affect your life, speaking to a psychologist can help you to get you back on track. A psychologist can help you to understand the reasons for your drinking habits, identify triggers for heavy drinking, and arm you with strategies for limiting or controlling your drinking.

Binge drinking in the young people of Australia is on the increase with younger aged drinkers, as are more sustained and longer binges.

Binge drinking is not defined by a number of drinks, but refers to the regularity of heavy drinking and drinking deliberately to get drunk.

The science tells us that letting children consume alcohol at a younger age can increase the likelihood of bingeing or dependence. If children can avoid alcohol use until later in life, especially until the brain is fully formed, it can have positive affects on their brain’s resilience and decrease their likelihood to crave alcohol or binge drink. Withholding from alcohol use until later in life can improve function in critical parts of the brain needed for learning, memory, thinking, planning, and emotional stability.

The reasons for using alcohol and binge drinking are many, but one of the most talked about is that of Australia’s drinking culture.

What can you do as a parent?

It is vital to open an honest dialogue with your children and keep them on-side. Laying the law down might not work and often can have the opposite effect, causing rebellion. For parents to set an example with their own behaviour is vital. If your teens see you drinking heavily or being drunk, it sends the message that you condone that sort of behaviour.

Having excellent communication with your teens is also imperative, as is listening to them and engaging with their plans. Setting a plan with your partner or any coparent for consistent messaging will also strengthen this influence and avoid mixed messages. It is a good idea to form alliances with other parents to understand the opinions of everyone involved in influencing your children.

Not many people know it is illegal to serve alcohol to children under 18 unless permission has been given by their parents, so having a good relationship with the parents of the friends of your children can be very helpful.

If you think your children or adolescents are binge drinking or have a problem with alcohol, the best thing to do is to speak with a psychologist. They will be able to help you recognise the behaviours involved and help you embark on a course of action or counsel your child to change their behaviour.

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