For over ten thousand years, human beings have made and used alcohol in its many forms for a wide variety of purposes. Alcohol has been used as a medicine, as part of religious ceremonies, and for purely social reasons all through its long history. It appears on every continent and in every culture. It has been banned and exalted. It is considered both wonderful and evil; a source of inspiration or the death of creative thought. Even after thousands of years, the use of alcohol remains both commonplace and controversial at the same time.
Many factors influence whether drinking alcohol is beneficial or harmful. Your age, health status, frequency of use and quantity of alcohol consumed at any one time are all considerations. Some people choose to use alcohol only when socializing with family and friends; others may be exposed to alcohol as part of business practices. Some choose to partake in a few alcoholic beverages to feel relaxed, or heighten their enjoyment of an event or situation by acquiring a “buzz”. Alcohol may be used in celebration, or as a mood depressant in times of stress. (For additional info see www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/alcohol-guidelines)
Is it right or wrong to drink? Does your drinking constitute a problem or serious risk to your health? Are your drinking habits under your control, or are they controlling you? Sometimes it can be difficult to decide. Conflicting messages in the media and from your peers or family members can cause confusion and make you feel dismissive, or even defensive, about your own drinking practices.
Do you have questions about the way you use alcohol, and how it may be affecting your physical or mental health? Whether you have concerns or are simply curious, it is a good idea for anyone who uses alcohol for any reason to familiarize themselves with the basics.
The aim of the Rethinking Drinking website is to provide you with alcohol-related educational materials. By viewing real, research-based information, you can gain a greater understanding of your motivations for using alcohol and its effects on your body and mind. You will be better able to evaluate your own drinking habits.