During COVID-19 lockdowns (plural, depending on what state you live in), you may have found yourself drinking more. At least one in eight Australians have been drinking every day since the pandemic began, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
One in 10 people also reported consuming more than 10 standard drinks per week - the recommended limit for a healthy adult, according to Australian Government Department of Health.
"There's no safe level of drinking," medical doctor and the CEO of VIC Health Dr Sandro Demaio explains to Mamamia, before adding: "people roll their eyes when you say that".
But for the majority of Australians who drink, there are ways to drink responsibly - another term that might trigger an eye roll, but nevertheless remains a crucial cornerstone for our health.
So how do you know if you have a problem with drinking?
Dr Demaio explains…
Is there a difference between an alcohol problem and an alcohol addiction?
One is a medical diagnosis, whilst the other is an unhealthy habit.
Dr Demaio says an alcohol addiction or dependency implies that you are emotionally and/or physically dependent on alcohol. This may include drinking in the morning, feeling unable to cut down your drinking, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
More common, Dr Demaio says, is unhealthy patterns of drinking which can be divided into two groups. The first is binge drinking - consuming large amounts of alcohol in short time frames, often leading to intoxication and most common among young people. The second is chronic or long-term alcohol exposure, which means drinking large amounts of alcohol on most days for an extended period of time, most common in people in their 40s and above.
Watch: How to talk to someone who has anxiety. Post continues below.
What are the warning signs?
Dr Demaio identifies several warning signs, including...