Christmas and New Year are great times to share one or two drinks with friends, but the AMA is urging people to avoid binge drinking if they want to stay clear of the emergency department this holiday season.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said many Australians associated heavy drinking with the festive season, but that people could still have a good time without putting their health at risk. "Excess alcohol consumption is responsible for billions of dollars worth of illness and tragedy in Australia each year," Dr Capolingua said.
"Alcohol abuse is the cause of many chronic health problems including cardiovascular disease, obesity, liver disease, and brain damage, and can lead to serious health risks such as acute alcohol poisoning.
"In addition to what it's doing to your body, excessive drinking can be the cause of all kinds of accidents, and no one wants to spend any time in a hospital emergency department." Dr Capolingua said there were a number of simple steps people could follow to ensure they have a fun night and a safe night. "If you are going to be drinking during the holiday season, drink responsibly, don't exceed the recommended number of standard drinks, and arrange for a lift from a taxi or designated driver."
The National Health and Medical Research Council currently recommends an average of four standard drinks per day for men and two per day for women, and everyone should have one or two alcohol free days each week.
Dr Capolingua said it was important for people to check what a standard drink is so they can properly moderate their drinking. 100 mls is the standard drink for wine and 30mls for a spirit. "Most people measure their drinking by how many glasses they've had, how long they have been drinking for, or how drunk they feel," Dr Capolingua said.
"A standard drink is smaller than many people think, and this creates the danger that people might think they are more sober than they are. "Pre-mixed cans or bottles can be misleading because they can contain varying amounts of alcohol, and you should always check the label to know how much alcohol you're consuming."