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Could new alcohol limit guidelines reform “normal” drinking?

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Intentions to cut down on calories, alcohol and negative thinking are often abandoned within weeks of the new year, but will reduced alcohol limit guidelines help at least one of these stick? 

At this time of year as normality kicks back in, there’s a few debates that always seem to surface.

Can wrapping paper be recycled? What’s the correct way to store baubles? Do we need a month of detox to reverse the damage of a month of gluttony?

”Do we need a month of detox to reverse the damage of a month of gluttony?”

Dry January is always popular in the NT office – much to the annoyance of anyone with a January birthday, so when new guidelines on reducing alcohol intake were announced last week many of us felt ahead of the game. But will that feeling last beyond January?

The guidance gives a weekly limit, rather than daily, in an attempt to challenge the culture of drinking daily as the norm. I wonder how effective this will be.

Drinking alcohol to excess is deeply embedded into the British culture. You hear people jokingly calling themselves “absolute alcoholics” and a hangover is a badge of pride. Can government guidelines stop alcohol from being, let’s face it, cool?

”Can government guidelines stop alcohol from being, let’s face it, cool?”

The guidelines leave no doubt that drinking alcohol in any amount can lead to ill health. For health professionals this is unlikely to be a surprise, but for others this could be a wake-up call.

I’m not talking about people who have no intention of cutting down. Trying to persuade someone to change their behaviour when they have no intention of doing so is as effective as putting the last of the Quality Street in the top cupboard “out of reach”. Nice idea, but you’re fooling no one.

I’m referring to those who drink daily without realising how much harm it could do.

The well-timed guidelines could be just what these people need to turn a daily habit into an every-other-day habit. They give health professionals well-advertised evidence to refer to when offering public health advice and could perhaps make those conversations a bit more comfortable.

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