Alcohol & Your Health
Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of injury, chronic disease and early death.1 In Australia, one person dies every 90 minutes from an alcohol-caused disease or injury.23
Alcohol consumption has been linked to a number of short and long-term adverse health outcomes, including:
- Cancer in at least seven sites of the body.4
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke.56
- Liver cirrhosis and disease.7
- Mental health problems.8
- Alcohol use disorders.8
- Intentional and unintentional injury.9
- Traffic incidents.9
- Family and interpersonal violence.10
- Harm to babies, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.11
Alcohol has been ranked the drug that causes the most overall harm in Australia when considering both the harm to those who use alcohol and harm to others.12
To help reduce the risk of harm from alcohol, low-risk drinking guidelines have been developed by health experts to help you make informed decisions about your alcohol use. Click here to find out more.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018a). Alcohol overview. Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/alcohol/overview
National Drug Research Institute. (2018). Media release: Alcohol causes nearly 6,000 Australian deaths in one year, a third from cancer. Retrieved from: http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/news-events/ndri-news/media-release-alcohol-causes-nearly-6,000-australi
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, ACT.
Pandeya, N., Wilson, L., Webb, P., Neale, R., Bain, C., & Whiteman, D. (2015). Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39(5), 408-413.
Buckman, F., Eddie, D., Vaschillo, E., Vaschillo, B., Garcia, A., & Bates, M. E. (2015). Immediate and complex cardiovascular adaptation to an acute alcohol dose. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(12), 2334-2344.
Piano, M. (2017). Alcohol’s effect on the cardiovascular system. Alcohol Research, 38(2), 219-241.
Duggan, A., & Duggan, J. (2011). Alcoholic liver disease: Assessment and management. Australian Family Physician, 40(8), 591-593.
World Health Organization. (2018b). Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Geneva: WHO.
Griswold, M., et al. (2018). Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories,1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet, 392, 1015-35.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018b). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. Cat no. FDV 2. Canberra: AIHW
Fitzpatrick, J., Elliot, E., Latimer, J., Carter, M., Oscar, J., Ferreira, M., … & Hand, M. (2012). The Liliwan Project: study protocol for a population-based active case ascertainment study of the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. BMJ Open, 2, 1-11.
Bonomo, Y., Norman, A., Biondo, S., Bruno, R., Daglish, M., Dawe, S., Egerton-Warburton, D., Karro, J., … & Castle, D. (2019). The Australian drug harms ranking study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 33(7), 759-768.
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2020). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, ACT. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/news-centre/no-more-10-week-and-4-day
Page last updated: 23 December 2020