Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Wellbeing

Alcohol and your health

20 March, 2020

Many Australians have a beer or glass of wine to relax after work or on the weekend, but some of us are drinking too much and it can be harmful for our health. In fact, according to Hello Sunday Morning Organisation, 4 out of 5 Australians believe they have a problematic relationship with alcohol.

How much should we be drinking?


To reduce your risk of alcohol related disease or injury, you should follow the below guidelines set by the National Health and Medical Research Council:

  • drink no more than 10 standard drinks in a week
  • drink no more than four standard drinks on any one day
  • aim for two alcohol free days in a week

Children and young people

If you’re under 18 years, and especially if you’re under 15, the safest option is to not drink at all. Before the age of 15, children’s brains, hearts and livers are still developing and so they can’t process alcohol as quickly as adults.

What is a standard drink?

The best way to keep track of how much you’re drinking is to track your standard drinks. A standard drink is equal to 10g of alcohol, but many drinks contain more than one standard drink.

The Department of Health Standard Drinks Guide outlines how many standard drinks are in different serves of alcohol:

White wine

  • 1.4 standard drinks in an average restaurant serve of white wine (150ml)
  • 6.8 standard drinks in an average bottle of white wine (750ml)

Red wine

  • 1.6 standard drinks in an average restaurant serve of red wine (150ml)
  • 8 standard drinks in an average bottle of red wine (750ml)


  • 1.4 standard drinks in an average restaurant serve of champagne (150ml)
  • 7.1 standard drinks in an average bottle of champagne (750ml)

Beer and Cider

  • 1.1 standard drinks in an average middy of full-strength beer (285ml)
  • 1.6 standard drinks in an average schooner of full-strength beer (425ml)


  • 1 standard drink in a nip of spirits (30ml)
  • 22 standard drinks in an average bottle of spirit (700ml)

Effects of alcohol on your body

When we have a drink, our brains produce dopamine which makes us feel great and GABA which relaxes us. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why so many of us drink to relax and why we turn to it if we’re feeling down. While these might seem like positive effects, drinking too much can result in some the following negative effects:

  • decrease in sex drive and fertility
  • lack of coordination
  • slurred speech
  • heart damage
  • liver damage
  • stomach ulcers
  • pancreatitis
  • diarrhoea
  • impaired mental health

For more information, read the effects of alcohol on your body at the Department of Health.  

How do you know if you have a drinking problem?

It’s not always easy to tell if you or someone close to you has a drinking problem. Generally, if someone continually turns to alcohol to cope with problems in their life or with difficult emotions, they may have a problem.

It’s a good idea to be on the lookout for the following warning signs of alcohol addiction:

  • needing alcohol to function in everyday life
  • needing more and more alcohol to get drunk
  • drinking while alone
  • lying about how much you’re drinking
  • forgetting what you said or did while drunk
  • wanting a drink first thing in the morning
  • nausea, sweating, shaking or anxiety if you stop drinking

How to reduce the harms from alcohol

It might be helpful to try some of the following tips to reduce some of the negative impacts of drinking:

  • eat food before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol
  • avoid mixing alcohol with prescription or recreational drugs
  • drink water or other non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic drinks
  • order smaller serves of drinks
  • don’t allow others to top up your glass or drink in rounds as you may end up drinking more than you realise

Health benefits of reducing or quitting drinking

If you reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether, you might notice the following improvements to your health:

  • more positive moods
  • increase in the quality of your sleep
  • increase in energy levels
  • better relationships
  • increase in your work performance
  • decrease in gut symptoms

How to reduce or quit drinking

Seeing your doctor

If you’re thinking about reducing or quitting alcohol, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. They can help manage any withdrawal symptoms you may experience and work out a withdrawal plan. For more information, you can read how to reduce or quit alcohol at the Department of Health.

Hello Sunday Morning

You can also learn more about how to stop drinking at Hello Sunday Morning. Hello Sunday Morning is an online movement for alcohol behaviour change. You can try their Daybreak App which is an online program that helps you change your relationship with alcohol. You can access a support community and one-on-one health coaches. Daybreak is free in Australia.

Where to get more support

If you feel like you’re starting to develop a drinking problem, it’s important to know that there are support services and helplines available.

If you or someone close to you has a drinking problem, you may like to suggest contacting:

For immediate help in a crisis:

For general mental health support:

More information


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 healthcare professional.

1911_CBHS Skyscraper Banner-07

Suggested Articles

  • Slice of Eggs on Cakes

    Healthy snacking at home with CBHS nutritionist Chantal

    CBHS nutritionist Chantal Collins has eight tips for creating everyday healthy snacking habits that won’t undo your health and wellness goals.
    • Nutrition
    6 July 2020
  • Member Stories Jake and  Carol

    “You don’t wait when it’s to do with your children”

    When Carol and her son Jake both began experiencing the same cardiac issue, a second opinion with a world-leading doctor helped them find answers.
    • Membership
    22 June 2020
  • Member Stories Danielle

    When your world changes in one week, we’re here

    COVID-19 restrictions have forced many employers to let staff go. Danielle was one of the Australians left with no income, and wondering how to pay the bills.
    • Membership
    22 June 2020
  • A happy couple

    The battle of the sexes: Are Aussie men or women healthier?

    This Men’s Health Week, we look at how healthy our Australian men are, and what their main concerns are. Also, how do men stack up against women in terms of health?
    • Wellbeing
    19 June 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F