Northfields Clinic at the University of Wollongong is offering a Controlled Drinking Group to Illawarra residents who are concerned about their alcohol consumption but who do not want to stop drinking altogether.
Clinical Psychologist at Northfields Clinic, Mark Donovan, said that Christmas was often a time of excess, and excessive drinking can lead to a range of problems including bad hangovers, social blunders, money problems, relationship problems, violence, drink-driving and other criminal charges.
Northfields Clinic offers Illawarra residents who recognise these problems to get help through a Controlled Drinking Program before things get worse.
Mr Donovan said that controlled drinking was based on the view that individuals learn to drink in certain ways in response to their life experiences. “Since drinking patterns have been learnt, they can be re-learnt,” he said.
The most recent National Health Survey indicated that about 15% of men and 12% of women in Australia are drinking at risky/high risk levels. The number of Australians drinking at risky levels has increased by about 50% for men and nearly 100% for women over the past 10 years. Alcohol continues to be the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia, and the main cause of deaths on roads.
“Most men and women who want to curb their intake of alcohol can learn to moderate their drinking – and enjoy it – without stopping altogether,” Mr Donovan said.
He said the program was suitable for individuals who have a mild to moderate dependence on alcohol and are free from serious alcohol-related health problems and severe mental illness.
“The program focuses on increasing participants’ awareness of difficulties with their current drinking patterns, of new alternatives and coping strategies, and of ways of putting it all into practice,” he said.
Mr Donovan said that more than 30 years of research has shown that controlled drinking group programs produce positive results with a reduction in alcohol consumption and general improvement in well-being.
(Source: University of Wollongong: November 2008)