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Let's talk about alcohol...

This may not be a fan favourite topic but we need to look at the the implications alcohol has on brain health and overall wellbeing

Most understand that large chronic consumption is associated with negative health outcomes, however, little is understand or discussed about the implications of regular light to moderate consumption.

Research shows that alcohol acts as a neurotoxin and even light to moderate consumption on a regular basis (e.g. 1-2 standard drinks a day or 7-14 standard drinks per week) has negative impacts on our brain health:

- Lowers a person’s physiological and psychological bandwidth for stress.

- Can reduce and restructure both grey and white brain matter in such a way that it increases vulnerability and perhaps rate of cognitive decline/disease

- Significantly reduces sleep quality.

- Exacerbates depression and anxiety

This is not to create panic or an expectation that all should refrain from consuming any alcohol at all. We may, however, need to reflect on the patterning and normalisation of regular alcohol consumption in our lives. Alcohol is deeply engrained in our culture. If we truly want to support the mental health of our communities, we need to look at alcohol as significant contributing factor.

Some suggestions to change your relationship with alcohol:

- Take some time off - break the REGULAR patterning.

- Be a good mate - offer non-alcoholic drinks at social functions in addition to your alcoholic beverages of choice. If someone is not drinking please do not pressure them to drink. If a mate is struggling with mental health - avoid offering to take them out for ‘drinks’.

- Consume when you are feeling most resilient and well - not using it as a coping tool for stress.

- Normalise alcohol-free behaviour

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28735-5

DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10319

DOI: 10.3389/fcvm.2021.681627

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