More than 1 million Aussies drink to "feel normal"

Sydney, Sept 14 (ANI): A survey has found that while 4 million Australians drink out of habit, about 1.4 million of them drink just to "feel normal".

The survey also showed that 2.4 million people along with one-third of 18- to 24-year-olds drink just to get drunk.

Salvation Army state drug and alcohol services co-ordinator, Kathryn Wright, said the findings were alarming and showed a culture saturated by alcohol.

She said of the 1.4 million who say they drink just to feel normal, "whether that's socially normal or biologically normal, either way it's very concerning".

"The very act of getting drunk has health implications every time someone does it," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.

The survey found the main reason for drinking was social: 61 percent said they often drank to be sociable, to celebrate or because the people they were with were drinking.

"It's so ingrained in our culture that drinking is the way that you celebrate, it's the way that you commiserate, it's the way that you socialise, that it sort of crosses a boundary that drunkenness in some instances is very socially acceptable," Wright said.

The Roy Morgan survey was conducted as part of the Salvation Army's annual research into alcohol awareness, which has taken place since 2002.

Since then, alcohol consumption overall has declined gradually, mostly among men.

But the report showed almost 10 percent of men drink every day, and 36 percent consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol in a single session in the previous month.

The director of addiction medicine at St Vincent's Hospital, Dr Jon Currie, said National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines recommended two standard drinks, or less, per day for adults of both genders, with no more than four standard drinks in any one session.

"Above that, the risks start to rise fairly dramatically," he stated. (ANI)

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