Theabuse of substances, especially alcohol is one of the majorchallenges in the health sector globally. It is estimated that about20 % of men and 10 % of women out of the total population of theUnited States are addicted to alcohol abuse (Dry-Edwards, 2014).Alcohol addiction is a major challenge to employers who find theiremployees trapped in this type of dependence because it affects theirentire life, including their behavior in the workplace. This paperwill address psychological factors that influence people to abusealcohol, its effects in the workplace, employee assistance programs,and the relationship between mental health and alcohol abuse.
Thereare several psychological factors that subject individuals to therisk of alcohol use and abuse. Winkel (2010) identified that manypeople drink when they are depressed while too much of drinking leadsto the feeling of guilt and further depression. This means thatalcohol abuse and social depression are positively correlated. Inaddition, people high levels of stress and anxiety often drinkalcohol to reduce their worries. Moreover, people who areexperiencing conflict in their relationships and those with low selfesteem are at higher risk of abusing alcohol than the generalpopulation (Winkel, 2010).
Theabuse of alcohol leads to several negative effects in the workplace.A research conducted by the National Council on Alcoholism and DrugDependence Incorporation (2014) revealed that employees who abusealcohol have a 2.7 times the probability of suffering fromwork-related absences, 35 % suffer from occupational injury, 11 %encountered workplace fatalities, and 20 % had their productivityreduced significantly. These effects result from the fact that theabuse of alcohol reduces people’s judgmental capacity and increasesthe chances for them to do mishaps while at work (John Wiley &Sons Incorporation, 2011).
Theemployee assistance programs (EAP) are the most common strategiesused by employers to address the problems of alcohol abuse amongtheir employees. The primary goal of EAP programs is to maintainemployees’ productivity at workplace by helping them manage theiralcoholism. This is achieved by training employees on life skills inorder to equip them with cognitive, coping and social skills (JohnWiley & Sons Incorporation, 2011). In addition, EAP programs canbe used to help workers overcome the challenge of social influence ontheir drinking habits by training them on how to make personaldecisions.
Therelationship between the abuse of alcohol and mental health is basedon the facts that alcohol alters the brain chemistry and subjectindividuals to the risk of stressful conditions that culminate intheir mental illnesses. Alcohol is one of the depressants thatdisrupt the balance of the process of chemical in the brain, whichleads to adverse effects on mental capacity (Drinkaware, 2014). Inaddition, the abuse of alcohol elevates social depression andanxiety, which increases the probability of suffering from mentalillness among the drinking people compared to the population ofnon-drinkers.
Inconclusion, the abuse of alcohol is a serious problem for both menand women. Some of the psychological factors that subject individualsto the risk of abusing alcohol include depression, anxiety, and lowself-esteem. Abuse of alcohol reduces employees’ productivity andwork-related injuries. Employee assistance program can equip workerswith coping skills and help them overcome the challenge of peerinfluence that increases their probability of abusing alcohol. Theabuse of alcohol leads to adverse effects on mental health because itdisrupts the balance of chemical and the brain processes.
Drinkaware(2014). Alcohol and mental health. Drinkaware.Retrieved April 4, 2014, fromhttp://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-mental-health
Dry-Edwards,R. (2014, January 21). Alcoholism and alcohol abuse (Alcohol usedisorder). MedicineNet,Incorporation.Retrieved April 4, 2014, fromhttp://www.medicinenet.com/alcohol_abuse_and_alcoholism/article.htm
JohnWiley & Sons Incorporation (2011). Substanceuse and abuse.Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Incorporation.
NationalCouncil on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Incorporation (2014).Alcoholand the workplace. NewYork: NCADDI.
Winkel,B. (2010, April 5). Why people start drinking. TreatmentSolutions.Retrieved April 4, 2014, fromhttp://www.treatmentsolutions.com/why-people-start-drinking/