Celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month In The Workplace
Alcohol is a beverage known to help people socialize and break the ice in uncomfortable social situations. Drawn to its feel-good factor, many people consume alcohol frequently. This causes some to develop an unhealthy dependency on it, leading to alcoholism eventually.
Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a very common substance abuse disorder. It is one of the primary reasons of death related to substance abuse on a global scale. With this, the stigma associated with alcohol consumption developed. For this very cause, several health organizations observe Alcohol Awareness Month in the month of April.
Nowadays, even corporate companies take all the dimensions of employee wellness seriously. And given the life-threatening dangers of alcoholism, many employers have started to commemorate Alcohol Awareness Month in the workplace. It is, infact, the need of the hour. According to a report, alcohol intake may lead to decreased productivity.
This article will enlighten you about celebrating alcohol awareness month at the workplace, its history, and a bit about alcoholism.
History Of Alcohol Awareness Month
The archives reveal that the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, led by Marty Mann, is the brains behind the National Alcohol Awareness Month event.
Marty Mann is known to be one of the foremost members of Alcoholics Anonymous. She is also the first woman on record to successfully go through the 12 steps of the alcoholics' recovery program. And the first-ever alcohol awareness month was observed in 1987.
What is the ideology behind observing alcohol awareness month? This event shed light on the negative health issues of binge or heavy drinking, underage drinking, and how alcohol addiction can affect one’s livelihood and support those in dire need.
Binge drinking means when men consume more than 5 drinks in a single day and women consume more than 4 drinks in a single day.
Since then, the organization has been arranging the following events:
- Alcohol free weekend to help individuals stay away from alcoholic drinks
- Customized alcohol awareness campaigns
- Extend support to the ones who are in need
Alcoholism Statistics In The US And Globally
In 2019, National Survey on Drug Use and Health ran a survey and found that 14.5 million people ranging from the age 12 years and above in the United States struggle with alcohol abuse disorder. Out of these, 414,000 belong to the age group of 12 to 17 years, citing the prevalence of underage drinking. And if you are wondering about the death toll, CDC states that about 140,000 people in the United States die from alcohol abuse.
When it comes to a global note, the average alcohol consumption rate is about 6.18 liters per person in a single year. Moreover, approximately 5 million people lose their lives to alcohol addiction yearly. This figure amounts to 5.3 percent of the total death rate globally.
When Does Alcohol Consumption Become Troubling?
Alcohol carries psychoactive properties, making it one of the most popular drinks in the world. Most people get introduced to it due to curiosity or peer pressure. Due to its addictive nature, many develop a habit of binge drinking or, worse - alcohol addiction.
So, how much or when is alcohol consumption too much? The answer here varies as per gender.
- For females, 4 or more drinks in a day, or 8 or drinks in total in a week and;
- For males, 5 or more drinks in a day, or 15 or more drinks in a week.
Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
For many, it becomes too late to realize that they have an alcohol addiction. If you also indulge in alcohol consumption from time to time, here are some common signs of alcohol abuse that you should be aware of.
- The inability to cut back on alcohol consumption as and when required
- Get intense cravings for alcohol
- Consume alcohol risking one’s safety
- Go to work or attend any social event in a drunken state
- Extreme aggression or depressive behavior as a result of drinking
- Difficulty remembering any situation of being drunk or, in short, experiencing blackouts
- Continue to drink regularly even after being diagnosed with alcohol addiction
Side Effects Of Alcoholism
The intake of alcohol temporarily can make you feel good. But continuing to drink and increasing the amount will only cause physical and mental health issues; some may be temporary, while some may be permanent.
Here is a list of commonly seen side effects of excessive drinking:
- Poor heart health: Too much alcohol consumption is linked to increased chances of high blood pressure, leading to stroke, heart attack, or cardiac arrest.
- Poor digestive system: Drinking excessive alcohol is known to develop gastritis, gastrointestinal ulcer, or esophageal ulcer.
- Poor neurological function: Drinking alcohol too frequently has a negative impact on the neurons, leading to poor motor coordination, memory loss, distorted thought process, etc.
- Poor sexual health: According to research, alcohol abuse can affect a man’s libido, causing sexual dysfunction. Along with this, health experts emphasize drinking excessively impacts sperm quality negatively. Regular intake of alcohol affects the menstrual cycle, creating further complications.
- Miscarriage: Doctors always advise against alcohol consumption while trying to conceive and even during pregnancy. Because this beverage is known to cause birth defects and even miscarriages.
- Other health issues: Apart from the above, alcohol is seen to have a negative side effect on the liver, pancreas, kidneys, eyes, and even the immune system. Alcohol is also considered to accelerate the risk of developing cancer.
Impact Of Alcoholism On Work-life
Individuals who indulge in binge drinking or heavy drinking habits often tend to have poor work performance. Why? Too much alcohol in the body can cause brain fog, induce lethargy and even change one’s mood negatively.
As a result, the person loses interest in keeping up with work ethic and suffers from low energy levels. Other than these, here are some of the commonly observed effects of alcohol abuse on work-life:
- Less or no motivation to work efficiently
- Lack of interest in showing up at work on time
- Erratic mood, creating unprofessional behavior
- Aggressive encounters with peers and seniors
- Increased absenteeism at work
Heavy drinking is when men consume more than 15 drinks a week and women consume more than 8 drinks a week.
Alcohol Awareness Month In The Workplace
As you can see, alcohol addiction can lead to a poor work life. This will again affect the individual’s ability to contribute towards the company’s profit. Hence, educating people in the workplace is of utmost importance. If you are an employer looking for ways to promote employee health or wellness, observe alcohol awareness month and enlighten your employees.
How To Observe Alcohol Awareness Month At Work?
1. Arrange an awareness talk
Organize an awareness event where a health expert will cite the ins and outs of alcohol consumption. Now, it is natural for everyone to feel uncomfortable sitting through a talk event where health issues will be discussed. So, request the speaker to share the knowledge in an engaging manner and make the audience understand the value of drinking responsibly.
2. Partner with an employee wellness company
An employee wellness company is an organization that provides services to uplift every dimension of the wellness of corporate employees. Vantage Fit is one example that provides wellness services to help employees live healthier lifestyles. Join hands with one such employee wellness company to instill the value of good health among your employees.
3. Create a safe space for employees
The tricky part about extending help to a person with substance abuse disorder is - such individuals do not usually open up or admit to having a problem with alcohol addiction. The stigma associated with alcohol is very real.
To provide the required support to such people, you must create a safe environment in the office. They should be able to share their troubles with alcohol without feeling judged.
In this case, train your managers to be compassionate and impartial. In doing so, employees can confide in their manager regarding health issues due to binge drinking or heavy drinking. If required, collaborate with an employee wellness company to train your managers.
4. Encourage alcohol free weekend office events
Organize alcohol free weekend events to encourage alcohol abstinence and socializing without taking any psychoactive substance. If necessary, you can contact a certified alcohol support group to arrange such an event successfully.
Controlling Alcohol Consumption
Controlling alcohol intake may come with challenges. You can overcome these challenges if you are willing to limit or give up your drinking habits. The U.S Dietary guidelines state the healthy intake of alcohol for adults is -
- 1 drink in a day for females
- 2 drinks or less in a day for males
Make your mind and stick to this limitation on your next social event where alcohol will be served. Moreover, switch to low-alcohol or alcohol alternative beverages. This, again, may not give you an alcohol-like experience. But keep the health goals in mind and fight your urge to drink. Last but not least, join and attend your support group sessions religiously.
The Final Word
There is too much downside to alcohol consumption. Staying ignorant about the health issues related to binge drinking or heavy drinking may someday land you in the emergency room.
Hence to safeguard public health from the risks of this popular beverage, alcohol awareness month came into existence. If you have the tendency to drink too many alcoholic drinks, don’t sit back. Instead, avail of the services that alcohol support groups offer. Moreover, you may also seek help from a professional if you have been experiencing any symptoms of alcoholism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is April alcohol awareness month?
Yes, April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. It is a public health event that is celebrated every year globally.
Which ribbon color is used for alcoholism?
The color red is to signify alcohol awareness month.
What are some support groups that help individuals struggling with alcohol addiction?
There are several support groups that are officially recognized to help people with alcohol addiction, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
How can you support a loved one who is struggling with alcohol abuse?
The first step to support a loved one who is battling with alcohol abuse is to learn everything and anything related to alcoholism. Secondly, you must be careful about presenting your words during this stage. Being emphatic and understanding is the best way to deal with your loved one fighting back against alcoholism.
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