The modern workplace is busier than ever. Many people choose to unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail at the end of the day. While some can drink without a problem, millions of people struggle with alcohol abuse at home and in the workplace.
Alcohol abuse includes a range of drinking behaviors. Some people drink in ways that cause problems at home, work, or school. Alcohol abuse often places people in dangerous situations and can lead to significant legal and social consequences.
When a person is in the midst of an addiction, it can difficult to see a way out. Companies can intervene in employee alcohol abuse by showing support and encouraging an inpatient rehab center. Vertava Health treatment facilities have special tracks for professionals who struggle with alcohol abuse.
Factors That Influence Alcohol Abuse In The Workplace
More than 16 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. Drinking among U.S. workers can pose a threat to public safety, and impact a person’s job performance. Alcohol abuse in the workplace can also result in expensive medical and social problems that affect employers and their staff.
Certain situations contribute to rates of alcohol abuse among professionals, including long hours and demanding workloads. Oftentimes, a company’s culture unconsciously contributes to rates of employee alcohol abuse. This happens when companies send subtle messages about alcohol without even realizing it.
If a company holds events centered around alcohol, employees may get the idea that binge drinking is seen as acceptable. When supervisors joke about overindulging or nursing a hangover, it can impact employee attitudes and behaviors related to alcohol.
While occasional moderate drinking is not considered harmful, many people can easily lose control of their alcohol intake.
Drinking rates also vary among occupations. Certain jobs are associated with high levels of alcohol abuse, including:
- healthcare workers
- hospitality industry employees
- construction workers
- members of the armed forces
- emergency workers
- police and fire personnel
Rates of alcohol use at work can also be influenced by a situation called “workplace alienation.” When a person’s workload is overly stressful, boring, or isolating, it can affect behaviors related to alcohol.
Jobs that do not provide adequate supervision, especially on an evening or overnight shifts, have also been linked to increased alcohol use at work. Employee drinking can also be affected by workplaces that permit sexual harassment and verbal aggression.
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Identifying Alcohol Abuse At Work
While everyone experiences addiction differently, there are some telltale signs associated with alcohol abuse in the workplace. It’s important to be aware of these signs, in order to help people who may be struggling with drinking at work.
One of the most common signs of alcohol abuse is absenteeism or missing work. Employees who struggle with alcohol abuse miss 34 percent more days than other workers. Additional signs that an employee may be abusing alcohol at work include:
- glassy or bloodshot eyes
- smelling of alcohol
- mood swings
- performance issues
- frequent tardiness
- sluggishness, especially in the morning
- inability to focus
- frequent trips to the bathroom
- making excuses about incomplete or subpar work
- defensive attitude about alcohol or job performance
- slurred words
- inappropriate or erratic behavior
How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect The Workplace?
People with alcohol use disorders have higher instances of missing work. Some employees may frequently “call-out,” while others simply have unexplained absences. Workers who suffer from alcohol abuse may also arrive late and leave early, due to their excessive drinking.
Each of these time-related issues can have a negative effect on company culture, effectiveness, and morale. Alcohol abuse can impact the workplace in additional ways, including:
Increased Risk Of Injury
When a person drinks at work, they have a higher chance of becoming injured. Slip and fall incidents and operations that occur under the influence pose a severe threat to employee safety. Alcohol-related accidents in the workplace can lead to serious health hazards, including death.
Alcohol at work not only creates safety issues but can lead to financial problems as well. Alcohol costs the country approximately $27 billion in health care each year. These numbers include people who drink on the job and people who drink heavily outside of work. Employers often shoulder a portion of these staggering costs.
Studies also show that those with alcohol use disorders may have increased interpersonal issues with their coworkers. Each of these impacts can cause significant problems for a company’s reputation and bottom line, including decreased productivity and high rates of turnover.
Fortunately, companies who take a proactive stance against alcohol abuse can help current employees and also prevent these problems from reoccurring.
What Can Employers Do About Alcohol Abuse In The Workplace?
In addition to being concerned about overall company wellness, many employers also worry about the well-being of their employees. Many of these employers may not realize the personal and positive impact they can have on employees who struggle with alcohol abuse.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.” This means that employers may be able to effectively intervene when alcohol becomes a problem. When employers encourage a person to get help, it significantly increases treatment entry and rates of completion.
Recovery is possible, especially when a family member or employer encourages a person to attend treatment. The best way to treat an alcohol use disorder is with the help of an inpatient rehab center.
Finding A Rehab Center That Addresses Alcohol Abuse Among Professionals
Addressing alcohol abuse in the workplace can be a challenge. However, when employers are educated on the issue, they are better able to support their workers. This encouragement can greatly increase a person’s chance of getting the help they need.
At Vertava Health, we provide specialized treatment for professionals throughout the U.S. Our rehab centers combine traditional therapies like individual counseling with medication-assisted treatment, motivational interviewing, and group therapy. Some labor unions and benefits packages can even help with treatment costs.
Addiction treatment programs help patients build a sense of self-respect and personal responsibility. After treatment, these vital skills can be transferred back into personal and professional life.
For more information on alcohol abuse in the workplace, or to find an Vertava Health alcohol rehab center near you, contact one of our treatment specialists today.