Watch for warnings of alcoholism

Most of us know someone at work whom we believe drinks a bit too much.

It can be the co-worker who puts away a couple of six-packs of beer after work, or the colleague who imbibes too much wine at various gatherings or even the boss who smells like alcohol after lunch, despite the breath mints.

It's not that we think they're alcoholics, but we are aware that there could be a problem. And that's where a little education can go a long way to making sure these little problems don't become full-scale disasters that ruin professional and personal lives, says one expert.

Eric Goplerud, a Ph.D. and the director of Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems at the George Washington University Medical Center (, says that while workers' alcohol problems cost employers millions of dollars each year and contribute to skyrocketing health insurance costs, the problem often is not effectively dealt with in the workplace.

"I think one of the reasons that more employers have not addressed this issue is because it's perceived as a private issue in the life of an employee," he says. "We're hoping that people will see there are several things they can do that are relatively easy."

The goal, he says, is getting more employees to talk to those who drink too much, in a program called AIM - aim, inform and motivate.

"You go to someone and you say, 'You know, you seem to be drinking more - how much are you drinking?' Then, you inform them that what they're drinking seems like an awful lot. Finally, you motivate them to get help, by expressing your concern and saying: 'Have you thought about changing?' "

Goplerud also explains that just as an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to more serious issues such as diabetes, drinking too much can really impact someone's health and possibly lead to alcoholism.

source: Cincinnati Enquirer