Alcohol consumption can have adverse social and economic effects on the individual drinker, the drinker’s immediate environment and society as a whole. Indeed, individuals other than the drinker can be affected, for example, by traffic accidents or violence. It has an impact on society as a whole in terms of resources required for criminal justice, health care and other social institutions.
How can work performance be affected by alcohol consumption?
Alcohol consumption can affect work performance in several ways:
- Absences – There is ample evidence that people with alcohol dependence and drinking problems are on sick leave more frequently than other employees, with a significant cost to employees, employers, and social security systems. In Costa Rica, an estimated 30% of absenteeism may be due to alcohol. In Australia, a survey showed that workers with drinking problems are nearly 3 times more likely than others to have injury-related absences from work.
- Work accidents – In Great Britain, up to 25% of workplace accidents and around 60% of fatal accidents at work may be linked to alcohol. In India about 40% of work accidents have been attributed to alcohol use.
- Productivity – Heavy drinking at work may reduce productivity. In Latvia, 10% of productivity losses are attributed to alcohol. Performance at work may be affected both by the volume and pattern of drinking. Co-workers perceive that heavy drinkers have lower performance, problems in personal relationships and lack of self-direction, though drinkers themselves do not necessarily perceive effects on their work performance
- Unemployment- Heavy drinking or alcohol abuse may lead to unemployment and unemployment may lead to increased drinking.
How can the family be affected by alcohol consumption?
Drinking can impair how a person performs as a parent, a partner as well as how (s)he contributes to the functioning of the household. It can have lasting effects on their partner and children, for instance through home accidents and violence.
Children can suffer Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), when mothers drink during pregnancy. After birth, parental drinking can lead to child abuse and numerous other impacts on the child’s social, psychological and economic environment.
The impact of drinking on family life can include substantial mental health problems for other family members, such as anxiety, fear and depression.
Drinking outside the home can mean less time spent at home. The financial costs of alcohol purchase and medical treatment, as well as lost wages can leave other family members destitute. When men drink it often primarily affects their mothers or partners who may need to contribute more to the income of the household and who run an increased risk of violence or HIV infection.
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