Dr Koob, who is director of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, tells The New Daily that a week of binging (over Christmas for example) can be enough to cause serious harm, which a month off can reverse.
“A moderate drinker who drinks heavily for just a week can develop fatty liver, the earliest and reversible stage of alcoholic liver disease,” Dr Koob says.
Acceptable drinking is no more than two standard drinks a day, Australian guidelines say. Risk is low if you stick to this limit, which is approximately two beers, 1.5 glasses of wine or two nips of spirits. But as Professor Maree Teesson, a senior researcher at the National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre, has told The New Daily previously: “Two is so far from what our normal experiences are.”
Turning Point clinical director Dr Matthew Frei says the first week can be the hardest.
“In the first week or two you are feeling a bit shaky and wondering what you’re doing,” Dr Frei says. “By the second week, you actually start to notice some recovery.
“Third week, your health is really getting better.
“Fourth week, it’s all coming together and you’re starting to objectively look at what you are like alcohol-free and asking yourself if that’s what you want to be.”
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