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Rethinking your drinking: the benefits of taking a month off

23 September, 2016

According to Money Smart, Australians spend $14.1 billion a year on alcohol. Alcohol is held responsible for a considerable amount of death, disease and injury, and alcohol-related harm is not limited just to drinkers, but extends to families, bystanders and the broader community as well.

The good news is that most Australians who drink alcohol do so at levels that have few adverse effects. Even so, the average Australian will greatly benefit from taking a break from the country’s most popular recreational drug. 

Drinking too much, be it on a single occasion or over a long period of time, can take a serious toll on your health. Alcohol interferes with your brain’s communication pathways, altering mood, behaviour, clear thinking and coordination. It can cause stretching and drooping of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), an irregular heartbeat, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can lead to a variety of liver problems and liver inflammations, pancreatitis, certain cancers, and weaken your immune system.

Suddenly that after-work beer doesn’t sound so tempting, right?

What is Ocsober?

For many Australians drinking is not just a fun activity to take part in during the weekend - it’s an ingrained habit, and is often seen as part of the national culture. So much so, often many people are pressured into drinking, labelled as ‘soft’ or told to ‘harden up’ if they choose to not take part. 

Ocsober is simple. It requires you to sign up, go booze-free for 31 days, and help raise funds for Life Education, which is a charity that focuses on health and drug education in schools - most famous for it’ legendary mascot, Healthy Harold the giraffe.

For 35 years Life Education and its specialist educators have been travelling all around Australia and educating our younger generations about the dangers of taking drugs and drinking alcohol, teaching them how to make positive decisions in their life. 

Ocsober is about much more than giving up alcohol for a month. It’s the chance to help our younger generations become educated about drugs and alcohol, and to hopefully inspire them to live healthier and happier lives.

How Ocsober benefits you

By taking part in Ocsober you open yourself up to a whole range of benefits, such as: 

Improved health
Many participants of Ocsober (and other sobriety campaigns such as Dry July) report feeling healthier both in body and mind during their abstinence, with perks including weight loss, a greater sense of achievement, clearer skin, better sleep, higher productivity and increased energy levels. 

Reduced risk of injury
Alcohol impairs your balance and cognitive abilities, putting you at greater risk of hurting yourself. Tripping over your feet is one thing, but alcohol in Australia has been linked tomore serious accidents including fire injuries, drowning and industrial accidents - not to mention drink driving. 

Fewer cravings
When leaving a bar at midnight after having a few too many, the lure of the kebab or pizza shop can be too strong to ignore. You may have been out to a lovely restaurant for dinner, but suddenly all you can think of is fatty, high calorie foods. Plus, as everyone knows, hangovers generally see you reaching for foods full of saturated fat and carbs.

More cash
The average Australian household spends $32.20 per week on alcohol, and if two of you register for Ocsober, you’ll have an extra $257.60 in your pocket. Keep your efforts up all year, and that’s more than $3,000 saved! 

No hangovers
One of the most obvious ways of a sober month will benefit you is the fact you won’t wake with a hangover. Far too often days are wasted curled in bed nursing a throbbing head and churning stomach, when you could be out enjoying the day instead!

Keeping a healthy and sensible approach to drinking can significantly reduce the occurrence of alcohol-related accidents, as well as diseases and illnesses in the long-term. Taking part in the Ocsober challenge is a great way to kick-start your healthy approach to alcohol, all while helping out a charity that could definitely benefit from your help.

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All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.

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