The Effects of Alcohol Consumption in the Workplace

It may begin with a glass of wine or beer after work to unwind. After a while, it may be several glasses of wine or beer, or something stronger, and then it may turn into three-martini lunches and little nips on your breaks. This is not uncommon, and it can happen to anyone. Alcohol is the most abused substance in the US. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over half of all US adults drink alcohol, and approximately 10 percent of these adults are considered to be heavy drinkers. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse can lead to a number of issues in the workplace, and it can seriously affect one’s job. Today we are going to talk about the effects of alcohol consumption in the workplace.

What Alcohol does to You

Experts from “Phoenix” addiction treatment center say that many people don’t realize it, but alcohol is a depressant drug. It slows the reaction time between the brain and the body, and it can affect one’s judgement, concentration, coordination, problem solving skills, etc. Eventually, if one develops an alcohol addiction, it can negatively affect their jobs and careers. There are two problems with alcohol addiction: short-term and long-term. The long-term effects involve a variety of health issues, and these can be lifelong health problems. Let’s take a look at the short-term effects of alcohol abuse.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The problem with the short-term effects of alcohol abuse is that they don’t just affect the person with the addiction. Alcoholism can affect everyone in the workplace negatively, as well as customers and clients, and it also affects personal relationships with friends, family members, and people within the community. Each drink a person takes brings them one step closer to behaving inappropriately or having/causing an accident or injury. The more one drinks, the more likely they are to exhibit the following types of behavior:

  • Anti-Social Behavior – Often, people try to hide their drinking, so they avoid being around others who might notice. Alcohol tends to cause many people to become more and more anti-social the more they drink, and it causes relationships, both at work and at home, to suffer.
  • Aggressive Behavior – Many people tend to become more belligerent when they are drinking, and this leads to fighting, and in some cases, violence. This can lead to serious problems in the workplace, and make things very uncomfortable for everyone.
  • Injuries – Because one is not as coordinated when they are drinking, more accidents tend to happen. Drinking in the workplace is a major cause of many preventable accidents, including falls, burns, and even road crashes. There is always the chance of arguments turning into assaults, which can lead to some pretty serious injuries.
  • Sexual Encounters – We tend to have fewer inhibitions when we drink, which can often get us into trouble. This can lead to either unwanted or unprotected sexual encounters, which can cause some pretty serious issues in the workplace, from being uncomfortable being with co-workers to filing sexual harassment/assault claims.
  • Hangovers – When one drinks heavily, they tend to be hung over a lot, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate on their jobs. Hangovers result in headaches, nausea, the shakes, vomiting, etc., which don’t make it easy to work. Heavy drinking eventually affects attendance and performance on the job, as well as co-worker relationships.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and its effects, it may be time to start looking at the various resources that are available to help. Most companies offer Employee Assisted Programs that will help people get the help they need before alcohol ruins their lives.

By Jane Hurst
Jane Hurst