‘Hidden alcoholics’ a problem in the workplace

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The drinking habits of professionals have once again been thrust into the spotlight in a prime time documentary.

Panorama saw Alastair Campbell investigate the rise of ‘hidden alcoholics’ in Britain — middle-class professionals who manage to function despite their dependence on alcohol.

The show followed on from findings revealed by leading medical journal The Lancet, which has predicted over the next 20 years, more than 200,000 people could die from alcohol abuse. Some 70,000 of these preventable deaths will stem from liver disease, with others stemming from accidents, violence and other alcohol-related illnesses.

Liverpool-based training and support consultancy [email protected] helps businesses deal with a vast range of workplace health problems, including alcohol dependancy.

Programme manager Keith Gorman said: “Drinking to relieve stress is certainly nothing new. We know that exessive drinking and its after effects ‘ namely hangovers “ costs industry billions in lost productivity every year.

“But there is also a hidden problem, of those who often manage to hide their alcohol dependency and maintain a steady work life. This does not mean that the problem is not there, and the effects of alcohol abuse will eventually manifest themselves both at home and in the office.

“By raising alcohol awareness in the workplace, we help employees recognise and regulate their alcohol intake.”

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Alcohol is a nasty pernicious drug and the damage it does to the people and economy of this country is completely underestimated. The figures it cost the NHS alone are staggering.
    It is responsible, in my estimation, for 75% of the violence and the breakdown of marriages and relationships and I say this as one who was a purveyor of alcohol for twelve years as club owner, publican and bar owner in Europe and the West Indies.
    Used irresponsibly it can, adversely affect your physical and mental abilities, impair your judgement, leave you dehydrated and wretched and severely damage your liver and kidneys. Alcohol taken responsibly on the other hand can be a convivial and pleasant experience, regrettably there is a fine line between sensible drinking and binging and that nobody but the individual can control.
    It has to be said that in the pantheon of drugs available for recreation, (where it not for the stupid hysteria and muddled thinking by the “establishment” and the vast tax revenues), alcohol would not be considered by any sane or rational human being the drug of choice.

    Alcohol taken responsibly on the other hand can be a convivial and pleassnt experience, regrettably there is a fine line between sensible drinking and binging and that nobody but the individual can control.

    In the pantheon of drugs available for recreation alcohol comes way down the list.

  2. UKASSA – (United Kingdom Addiction Services Support Agency) helps companies to reduce the associated risks and costs caused by substance misuse problems within the workforce. We offer a comprehensive framework for dealing with the treatment and rehabilitation of employees suffering from addictive disorders – whilst providing a cost effective solution to reduce the impact that this problem has on businesses.

    A report from the National Treatment Agency claims that the cost to industry from illegal drug use is £800 million each year. The Government’s “Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England” (Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit) says that “alcohol misuse among employees costs up to £6.4 billion in lost productivity through increased absenteeism, unemployment and premature death”.

    UKASSA provides a full service offering for drug and alcohol related concerns to a number of large private sector organisations along with universities and private schools across the UK.
    We offer bespoke services in the following areas:

    – Organisational risk assessment, policy design and implementation
    – Drug and Alcohol testing
    – Retesting, screening and monitoring
    – Education and training services

    – Intervention
    – Treatment referral
    – Aftercare planning and support

    We help organisations to put in place a comprehensive framework for dealing with drug and alcohol issues and related concerns in the workplace.
    Our services help organisations to:

    • Comply with the latest legislation regarding drug and alcohol policy in the workplace.
    • Be an ethically and socially responsible organisation that treats addiction problems as a medical concern.
    • Reduce the risk of workplace accidents, and the risk of legal liability as the result of employee accidents.
    • Maximise workforce efficiency and productivity, reduce absenteeism and provide a return on investment.

    We are founded on the principle that a healthy workforce helps to increase productivity. We come from a treatment and rehabilitation perspective – and as such we are an ethically driven social care organisation that puts people first.

    For further information please call our UK helpline on 0844 800 9109

  3. Clients with alcohol dependency is a growing area that we at CABA regularly support.

    Stress in the workplace can lead to anxiety which people often combat with drink. In our experience this can lead to loss of employment, relationship breakdowns, depression and debt.

    We continue to help Chartered Accountants with addiction and are thankfully only a phone call away for ICAEW members and their families who need advice and guidance.

    It is a growing problem and people with alcohol dependency need positive support to be able to overcome their addiction. ICAEW Chartered Accountants who are affected can call us on 01788 556366.

  4. I was thinking about this disease after I spoke to an old friend last weekend who now lives in Italy. She divorced her husband fifteen years ago. He was a highly successful and wealthy man who left the country for tax reasons. For a number of years prior to his departure he was a chronic alcoholic. His breakfast was a large brandy and port before he moved onto gin.

    I tried to help him but without success because like all addicts it took him a long time to admit he had a problem. Until an individual is prepared to face up to their addiction there can be no recovery. I was eventually able to convince him that he should go into The Priory, it took him two attempts but he has been dry for twenty years. Sadly it did not save their marriage.

    Over the years I have known and assisted several alcoholics/drug addicts and what I do know is they are most artful and cunning at hiding their dependency and deceiving those around them. I have witnessed men and women, functioning alcoholics who have held down important and highly responsible jobs for years without being challenged. The further up the hierarchy the less likely it is to happen. You cannot coerce them and you cannot force a cure. If they do not want to stop they will not, however persuasive you maybe. Alcohol is legal so banging them up in prison is out and as for the druggie probably the worst option as it’s one of the easiest places to acquire the ‘gear’.

    Oh yes one other thing, I’ve never met a fat alcoholic.

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