Drinking heavily, craving alcohol, inability to limit the number of drinks one has, a dependence on alcohol and the need to drink more and more to get a ‘‘buzz” — these are the classic symptoms of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease. It lasts a lifetime and follows a predictable course. It is incurable, and it can be fatal. But it can be treated.
The negative effects of too much alcohol on a person’s health are widely known. Liver disease, circulatory problems, accidents, and for women who abuse alcohol while pregnant, a host of health problems for their unborn child can occur. The social problems associated with alcoholism and alcohol abuse are generally well known, too. Violence, poverty, homelessness, crime and neglect head the list.
Alcoholism has no regard for gender, race, nationality, social status, education, or wealth. An estimated one out of every 13 adult Americans may be an alcoholic.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious health and social issues. They are also matters that have a profound effect on the workplace. Research suggests that alcohol misuse decreases workplace productivity and increases injuries and absenteeism.
Furthermore, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sheds some interesting light on perceptions about alcohol abuse in the work environment.
The study found that many business people believe:
- That alcohol related work performance problems are caused by a few problem drinkers. The finding is that the majority of the problems are caused by non-dependent workers.
- That drinking while on the job is the core issue. The finding is that drinking the night before or immediately before work are just as problematic.
- That drinking problems are generally confined to unskilled and hourly workers. The finding is that managers and supervisors are actually more likely to drink during the work day.
- That current company policies toward drinking are effective and the company has little influence on employee drinking away from the workplace. The findings suggest that company policies are often not well-implemented and that the company’s culture can influence drinking away from work.
The Maryland Affiliate, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Maryland Chapter, provides education, information, and help in the fight against alcoholism by focusing on prevention, intervention, research and treatment.
source: The Gazette
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