Heavy drinking and health module
Heavy drinking and health module
Preferred Name: Rudy
Rudy lives by himself in Sydney. He describes his ethnic background as ‘Australian’. Both of his parents were born in Australia.
Rudy’s drinking has changed over time. At the time of the interview, he was drinking less and mostly limited his drinking to ‘social gatherings’. Rudy was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when he was 18, and had a nervous breakdown. He drank and took other drugs then to feel better and more confident. When he was drinking heavily, he experienced migraines and impaired liver function. He currently drinks less, sees a psychologist and exercises to look after his health.
Rudy was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when he was 18, and had a nervous breakdown. He says that he used drugs and drank heavily to make himself feel ‘better’ and ‘more confident’. He drank when he was ‘partying’ but also drank alone. Sometimes he would ‘get into arguments’ and ‘act a bit different’, and he says that he lost partners and jobs because of his drinking.
When he was drinking heavily, he experienced physical pains so went to see his GP. He was told by his doctor that he had liver damage and his ‘liver wasn’t as good as it should be’. He also started having migraines when he drank. For a while he stopped drinking altogether. To do this, he exercised regularly and avoided people he used to work with who were ‘heavy drinkers’.
Rudy has seen the same psychologist ‘on and off’ for nine years. He would prefer to see a psychiatrist but says they are harder to access, have longer waiting times and are more expensive. He thinks it would be good if you could see a psychiatrist ‘for free’ and wishes the ‘government could help with that’.
For Rudy, ‘good health is drinking responsibly and just having a stable life’. Now that he’s not drinking heavily, he says that his ‘health is […] good’ and he enjoys exercising regularly.
Rudy [late 20s, Australia, occupation withheld, drinking less] explains how his drinking patterns changed over his lifetime.
[I started drinking] with school friends, just outside of school and parties and things like that […] Just a social thing [when] it started. [My drinking] has gotten worse and sometimes got better over time […] As I got to 18 and all that, I got a bit worse, but as I got into my 20’s, it got a bit better but then I went through a little stage where it went bad again, but then better again […] Like I was drinking more. I would have stages where I would drink a lot and then not drink at all, then drink a lot and then not drink at all, yeah […] Partying and stuff like that, yeah, but then sometimes I would just drink alone […] Maybe sometimes, like if I was depressed or something or going through something, I would drink, yeah […] Nowadays if I drink, it’s just to … if it’s a social gathering or something like that, yeah.
Rudy [late 20s, Australian, employed, occupation withheld, drinking less] says that when he was told his liver function was not as good as it should be, he stopped drinking for a short time.
Yeah, my health now is good. I just remember at one stage when I was drinking a lot, I had a test on my liver and my liver wasn’t as well as it should’ve been. It wasn’t bad or anything, but [it] wasn’t as well as it should’ve been. But now […] because I’m not drinking to that extent, it’s good now, yeah […] I was just not feeling myself and I was having pains on my right side […] I had blood tests and it said that my liver wasn’t as good as it should be and maybe I should stop drinking or cut down, so I stopped it all together for a while.