Wesley Hospital Kogarah Professor John Saunders is encouraging Australians who are concerned about their drinking levels, to put a pause on their alcohol consumption this month.
The medical expert in alcohol addiction is the director of the drug and alcohol program, and is and a member of the World Health Organisation's Expert Advisory Panel on substance abuse.
He has more than 40 years' experience in the treatment of addictive disorders, including alcohol dependence and substance abuse.
He says the Dry July campaign is a reminder to be aware of high-risk drinking, which is defined as consuming more than two standard drinks per day on a regular basis.
"A high proportion of Australians consume alcohol on a daily basis," he said. "Having a month off alcohol is a great way to reassess your relationship with alcohol consumption and also has great health benefits, such as improving clarity of mind, helping you lose weight, improving sleep, and improving your liver function."
Professor Saunders says of particular concern is middle-aged women developing alcohol dependence and serious complications of their drinking.
He said the increase reflects the recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey that shows high-risk drinking is rising among 40-to-69-year-olds, with females in their 50s the group most likely to exceed the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol intake.
"While the proportion of young people drinking has decreased over the last 10 years, it has increased among other age groups, most notably middle-aged women," he said.
"Women who drink experience alcohol-related health problems sooner than men, making it important for them to reduce their alcohol intake. If you're a woman and you notice that your well-being is affected during or after drinking, such as experiencing anxiety or depression, it is highly recommended to try to stay dry this July."
Cronulla has been named as one of the top 20 fundraising locations this year, having already raised over $19,000 for the 2019 Dry July Foundation fundraiser.
A total of 110 residents have signed up so far to take on the challenge.