From barbecues to after-school balls, drinking is ingrained in Kiwi culture – and lots of us are known to over-indulge.
More than eight per cent of Kiwis, or about 375,000 people, drink a “large amount of alcohol” at least once a week, the Ministry of Health says.
Now, new research has been released showing younger women are emerging as New Zealand’s worst problem drinkers.
If you’re worried about your drinking, it might be worth considering whether to cut back or even give up entirely.
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Here are five signs that you might have a drinking problem.
If you’re regularly drinking more than health guidelines suggest, it may be time to cut back.
According to Alcohol Healthwatch, women should drink no more than two standard drinks per day and no more than 10 per week.
For men, it’s three standard drinks per day, and 15 per week.
One shot of spirits, one regular beer can and one 100ml wine glass equal one standard drink.
WHAT DID I DO LAST NIGHT?
Waking up after drinking and being unable to remember what you did the night before is a definite sign you’re drinking too much.
High blood alcohol levels can cause alcohol-related amnesia, otherwise known as ‘blacking out’.
Some drinkers can wake up with unexplained injuries, or engage in hazardous activities, like unprotected sex or driving a car, while in black-out.
DEPENDENCE ON DRINK
Are you finding that one drink is no longer enough, and you need two or three to get the same buzz?
An increased tolerance for alcohol is one sign that you’re over-imbibing.
If you feel you can’t relax without a drink, or you find it hard to stop drinking after you have started, it may be another sign you have a problem.
GETTING THE GUILTS
Feeling guilty or remorseful about how much you drink, or how you act while drinking, is a sign you may need to seek help.
Conversely, you may get angry or irritated when someone talks about your drinking.
Many problem drinkers try and justify how much they drink with statements like “I had a tough day” or “he/she drives me to drink”.
Hiding alcohol, or lying to others about how much you drink, is a clear warning sign you should seek help.
Health professionals are aware problem drinkers often under-report how much they drink.
The Health Promotion Agency has released a booklet, Is your drinking OK?, which helps people make a closer drinking self-assessment.
Alcohol Drug Helpline
Community Alcohol and Drug Services