Alcoholism & the Workplace

Unfortunately, alcoholism is a common and costly disease in the United States. NIDA estimates the total cost of alcohol use disorders is about $224 billion. If you are concerned that a coworker may be battling an alcohol addiction, look at the following information below to learn more.

Alcoholism & Related Diseases

General Alcohol Abuse Information

  • Workers with alcohol-related problems are almost three times as likely to have injury-related absences as those without.
  • One-fifth of workers and managers reported that one of their co-worker’s drinking behaviors (on or off the job) put their own safety or work productivity.
  • According to a study from a hospital emergency department, about 35 percent of patients with occupational injuries involved at-risk drinking behavior.
  • Alcohol disorders are both mental and physical medical issues.

Signs and Symptoms

Criteria used by the American Psychiatric Association:

  • An inability to control alcohol use
  • Numerous attempts to cut down or quit drinking are unsuccessful
  • The continued use of alcohol by the person despite negative consequences to health, relationships, work, etc.
  • Spending significant time either drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Using alcohol in potentially hazardous situations
  • Demonstrating the symptoms of physical dependence to alcohol

How to Approach the Situation

If you notice that your coworker is dealing with alcohol-related issues or they appear to be, notify your manager in private. There should be a drug and alcohol policy in place and your manager will be trained on how to approach the situation.

A manager will take the employee aside and talk to them. They could be displaying alcoholic symptoms but they could be adjusting to a medication or have another health problem. The manager will explain the drug and alcohol policy, treatment options, and how long their position will be held for. Overall, they will want to stress how worried those around the individual are and the importance of getting healthy more than anything.

For workplace drug and alcohol testing that meets all DOT testing requirements, contact your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!

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