What is your alcohol limit?

Responsible Service of AlcoholMajority of Australians, one time or another, have woken up on a Sunday morning after a night out with a hangover. But do we really know what alcohol is doing to our bodies, and how much alcohol can be consumed before it is considered to be harmful to our health and wellbeing?

At a licensed venue, it is the staff duty to know and be able to see the signs when a patron has consumed too much alcohol and that is considered harmful. A current Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate ensures that staff can quickly identify the signs of harmful levels of alcohol consumption and be able to understand responsible service standards.

Alcohol is the most commonly used and consumed drug. Yes a drug, most don’t even consider alcohol to be a drug and don’t realise that it can have serious and long-term effects if consumed in excess. In fact, alcohol is one of the highest causes of injury, violence, crime, family breakdown, road accidents, productivity loss and death in Australia. Yet most Australians don’t understand the consequences and/or the effects that alcohol can have on them.

Do you know how much alcohol you can consume before it is considered harmful? While there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has developed a set of guidelines that may assist you in making an informed decision about drinking and the risks that it has to your health.

The risk of alcohol can be calculated in different ways: Lifetime risk, relative risk, absolute risk and harm, both short and long term.

Lifetime risk: Lifetime risk is the risk from drinking over a person’s lifetime.

Relative Risk: The risk compared to a person that does not consume alcohol in comparison to another who does.

Absolute Risk: The actual risk from consuming alcohol.

Immediate Harm: Short-term harm associated with consuming alcohol include: hangovers, nausea, slurred speech, memory loss, shakiness, harm caused from injury, car accidents and unplanned pregnancy.

Long-term Harm: Side effects associated with long-term drinking include cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, death, cancer, heart or respiratory failure, liver disease, memory loss and sexual dysfunction. 

Excessive consumption of alcohol can have long and short-term effects that could impact your life. However, it can also affect the ones you love as other potential harm can include damage to relationships, problems at work and/or school. Therefore, if you plan to drink, consider the risks and whether it is worth it. Drink responsibly and within your limits. Stay in control.