Medical journal predicts huge increase in alcohol-related deaths… A documentary aired on prime time television has raised the issue of the excessive level of alcohol consumption among middle-class working professionals in the UK.
The Panorama programme investigated the growing levels of what the show described as “hidden alcoholics” in Britain – well-educated well-off professionals who manage to sustain their careers despite their heavy dependence on alcohol.
Panorama revealed findings from a leading medical journal The Lancet which speculates that more than 200,000 people could die as a result of alcohol abuse in the next 20 years. The report also states that 70,000 of those deaths will be caused directly by liver disease with other deaths estimated to be down to accidents, violence or alcohol-related illnesses. The rise in alcohol consumption among working professionals is thought to be becoming almost an epidemic and in these stressful times when job security is uncertain it is perhaps unsurprising that some are turning to the bottle for relief. However employers should certainly be aware of the possibility of these issues which can be difficult to detect. It is recommended to have clear and accessible communication channels with staff and to encourage stress awareness initiatives and have drug and alcohol policies in place aimed at educating staff and intervening where necessary.
[email protected] is a Liverpool-based workplace health consultancy that deals with a wide range of issues including alcohol dependency. Keith Gorman, the programme manager stressed the importance of raising awareness of these issues in the workplace, saying:
“Drinking to relieve stress is certainly nothing new. We know that exessive drinking and its after effects – namely hangovers – costs industry billions in lost productivity every year.
“But there is also a hidden problem, of those who often manage to hide their alcohol dependency and maintain a steady work life. This does not mean that the problem is not there, and the effects of alcohol abuse will eventually manifest themselves both at home and in the office.
“By raising alcohol awareness in the workplace, we help employees recognise and regulate their alcohol intake.”