So what’s driving this sudden surge? The popularity of general wellness tells part of the story. Globally, the health and wellness industry is worth a staggering US$4.5 trillion, with healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss making up around $702 billion of that figure.
Chris suggests that the sheer amount of information about drinking has something to do with it too. “Our society is becoming more open to a diverse range of perspectives and opinions, which is reflected in the technology we use. You can find different groups of people with different views so easily. We’re becoming a more tolerant and less stigmatising society, with more people interested in getting help.”
And with more people than ever prioritising their wellbeing, awareness of the physical and mental consequences of excessive alcohol consumption is growing. The health benefits of abstaining are clear. Long-term alcohol use may increase your risk of developing heart disease and hypertension. It can also induce fatty liver disease and – in severe cases – cirrhosis. Reports from the World Health Organisation show that the harmful use of alcohol results in over three million deaths – more than five per cent of all deaths – worldwide each year.
Beyond the physical impact, alcohol can have a dramatic effect on cognitive function – even when consumed at moderate levels. Many people reach for a beer or glass of wine to wind down at the end of a workday ‘to take the edge off’, but the belief that alcohol is a stress reliever deserves a closer look. While one or two drinks may make you feel more relaxed (because alcohol is a sedative), long-term use can disrupt brain function and lead to increased stress and anxiety.