Mad Men in Real Life: How Common is Alcohol in the Workplace?

For those of you who have not seen the AMC period drama, Mad Men, it is a television show that centers on the dog eat dog world of advertising set in New York City in the 1960s. While the show was running, viewers would tune in and follow the life of Don Draper, who is a highly successful ad executive who struggles with alcoholism.

And he’s not the only one.

The series showcases the free-flowing of alcohol in an office setting. A constant theme that runs through each season is the prevalence and consequence of unbridled drinking in the workplace.

Many viewers may pass off the portrayal of alcohol use and alcoholism in the workplace as sensationalist or perhaps an accurate portrayal of times in the past. In reality, the show is an example of art imitating real life. Alcohol use and alcoholism in the workplace is a problem that plagues many people in many different occupations.

How Does Alcohol Use Affect The Workplace?

According to information provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD):

“Out of millions who hold full time employment in the United States, close to 15 million are heavy drinkers of alcohol, exacting a high cost on work organizations, as employees who drink a lot are often absent from work, suffer from a lot of health problems, and are at a greater risk of harming themselves and others.”

Drug and alcohol abuse cost employers nearly $81 billion annually and these losses can be attributed to absenteeism, injuries and increased accident rates, lost productivity, and fatal accidents in the workplace. Additionally, alcohol and drug use in the workplace also costs employers valuable capital because of theft, low worker morale, high turnover rates, and increased costs of training new employees.

Furthermore, the NCADD listed the following statistics regarding alcohol use in the workplace:

  • Workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have injury-related absences.
  • A hospital emergency department study showed that 35 percent of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers.
  • Breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16 percent of emergency room patients injured at work.
  • Analysis of workplace fatalities showed that at least 11 percent of the victims had been drinking.
  • Large federal surveys show that 24 percent of workers report drinking during the workday least once in the past year.
  • One-fifth of workers and managers across a wide range of industries and company sizes report that a co-worker’s on- or off-the-job drinking jeopardized their own productivity and safety.

In What Occupations is Alcohol Use Most Common?

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect anyone and any given profession. However, there are certain occupations where alcohol use is most common in the workplace.


Alcohol abuse and alcoholism in the bartending industry is widespread. According to an article published in The Business Insider, bartenders are just over twice as likely to die from alcoholism than the national average. The reasons are clear: Bartenders are surrounded by alcohol for long periods of time on a daily basis and it is a culture in which drinking (and binge drinking) is accepted.

Food Service Industry

Alcohol use in the food service industry can be commonplace, especially for those who work in chain restaurants, supper clubs, and restaurants. It is estimated that 15 percent of all food service workers engage in heavy drinking (defined as five or more drinks consumed in a single session or event). There are studies that suggest those with alcohol dependence issues may “self-select” into the bar or restaurant industry due to the availability of alcohol and the work culture that promote drinking. Work-related alcohol norms include perceptions of others’ approval of drinking or being hungover at work and perceptions of the extent to which significant others engage in these behaviors.


It is estimated that construction workers and laborers are 1.72 times more likely to die from alcohol misuse and alcoholism when compared to other professions. Additionally, it is estimated that construction laborers abuse alcohol and other drugs at twice the national average. However, an increasing number of construction companies are implementing drug-free workplace policies. Because of this, the rate of alcohol and drug use is expected to decrease.


Mining–and especially coal mining–is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. While the annual pay is good–between $80,000 to $100,00 yearly–injuries, health complications, and accidents which lead to death are commonplace. Constantly experiencing these traumas in the workplace may lead people employed in the mining profession to drink more excessively in order to cope.

How to Handle Alcohol in the Workplace

  • Are you struggling with alcohol dependence in the workplace?
  • Is your job performance suffering?
  • Is a co-worker abusing alcohol?

The consequences of alcohol use in the workplace are significant: lost productivity, increased health care costs, workplace injuries, and violence. Fortunately, there are ways those who are struggling with alcohol dependence can get the help they need. Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which provide a highly effective way to deal with this issue. These programs are in place to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their job performance, health, and well-being. An EAP can help those struggling with alcohol abuse referrals to treatment, workplace substance abuse education programs, and confidential screening among other services.

Many employers are adopting health and wellness programs that emphasize that alcohol and drug use is not condoned in the workplace. These programs help remove the stigma against seeking help and telling employees they can seek treatment confidentially without jeopardizing their jobs. By encouraging and supporting treatment, employers can dramatically assist in reducing the impact of alcohol use in the workplace, while reducing their costs.

Are You Struggling With Addiction? Call Palm Beach Institute

Alcoholism affects all facets of your life and without experienced and professional help you can lose everything that you worked so hard to achieve and maintain. The Palm Beach Institute (PBI) is one of the premier drug and alcohol rehab facilities in Florida, and, for more than 40 years, we have helped thousands break the cycle of addiction and help them reclaim their lives. With effective drug treatment programs, medical detox services, family programs, and top-quality aftercare programs, PBI provides a full continuum of care that addresses the mind, body, and spirit of each client.

Call PBI toll-free today at 855-534-3574 and learn how our treatment programs can give you the recovery you desire.

Can Alcohol be a Gateway Drug?

If you asked someone what they thought of as “gateway drugs,” in today’s current opioid epidemic, they would probably say something along the lines of prescription painkillers as a gateway drug to stronger, illicit substances like heroin. And, there actually have been studies illustrating a clear link between the two.

The second drug that would perhaps seem the most apparent offender is marijuana, especially as decriminalization and legalization become more commonplace. However, there is an even more widespread gateway drug, one that has escaped notice due to how normalized it is.

And that’s alcohol.

According to reports, 88,000 people die from alcohol-related incidents each year in the U.S., which makes alcohol-related incidents the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the nation.

Alcohol misuse, alcohol poisoning, and the problems that result from abusing alcohol cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars each year, which includes law enforcement, emergency services, and alcoholism treatment. And yet, it remains a legal, commonplace, acceptable substance.

What Is a Gateway Drug?

A gateway drug is a term for the first substance that someone might use, abuse, and eventually, develop a dependency to before either building up a tolerance and seeking a more potent substance or becoming curious about other substances after initially using one.

Of course, substance abuse is never the result of just one thing or even two. Rather, there is a whole spectrum of contributors behind why one person might be more vulnerable to addiction than another, including trauma, family history, mental illness, and even some form of genetic predisposition.

That being said, the concept that a substance can serve as a gateway drug for someone who might not have otherwise developed an addiction to multiple substances remains a popular one. In the case of alcohol specifically, it should be no surprise how alcohol overwhelmingly leads the way as the initial substance a person will try before moving on to drugs when the facts are considered.

Alcohol: A Socially Acceptable Substance

Alcohol is more than just a legal substance; it’s an incredibly prevalent one. It’s almost easier to try to list places in the United States where alcohol isn’t available for purchase rather than the places it is.

But there is more to it than just the fact that alcohol is widely available and easily attained. It has been normalized in the mainstream of our country for decades. It is commonplace now to get drinks after work, at the movies, at sports games, at dinner, to celebrate, to mourn, and so much else.

Because drinking alcohol is so “normal” and socially acceptable, it serves as the starting point for many people who end up as drug addicts. Someone may start out just drinking socially, only to have alcohol become a bigger part of their routine until they find themselves counting down the hours until they can have their next drink, or looking to alcohol as a means of relief and refuge.

Even if the person doesn’t become dependent on alcohol, there is still the risk that they will transition from drinking to using drugs. This could happen while drunk, or it could be a natural extension of the habit of drinking to experience relief and enjoyment.

According to a 2015 study, it was found among the group of polysubstance abusers that the majority of them had used alcohol before trying either tobacco or marijuana and eventually moving on to other drugs as well.

Can Underage Drinking Lead to Drug Abuse?

Because of both the accessibility and public perception of alcohol, it’s no wonder that in the United States 60 percent of teens have consumed alcohol by age 18, and 33 percent even earlier than that at 15.

Children that begin using alcohol in their teen years and earlier are significantly more likely to not only develop a dependence on alcohol but also, in fact, have it become a gateway to using and abusing other substances. In a study specifically surveying high schoolers who were abusing multiple substances, it was found that more of them had used alcohol than any other substance and that even those using other substances had first started with alcohol.

The Palm Beach Institute Can Help You Get Your Life Back

Although it’s a legal substance, alcohol remains a major problem at both micro and macro levels. And while alcoholism on its own is a severe illness, the inherent danger of alcohol is compounded by the fact that so many of those who misuse it go on to use other substances.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, call the Palm Beach Institute at 855-960-5456 or contact us online. We’re available anytime, day or night, to answer your questions or walk you through the process of choosing the right rehab for your needs.

This is What Alcohol is Really Doing to Your Body

Drinking alcohol can affect the body in many ways. While we are very familiar with the outward manifestations of alcohol consumption, the short and long-term effects of alcohol use and abuse on the body and brain need to be acknowledged and addressed. Although these effects are not easily visible, the continued use and subsequent abuse of alcohol can have significant health risks over time. It is essential to understand both the short-term as well as the long-term effects of alcohol consumption.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption

When alcohol is consumed, approximately 20 percent of it is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream while the remainder is processed through the gastrointestinal tract. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it can be absorbed and diffused into every major organ because the cell membranes of all the major organs are highly sensitive to alcohol. The effects of alcohol depend on a person’s weight, age, and gender. Additionally, a person’s body composition, overall health, and history of drinking also play crucial roles in regards to alcohol’s overall effects on the body.

When people begin consuming alcohol, they may initially feel increased relaxation, self-confidence, happiness, and social, but these can progress into more negative behaviors. Alcohol consumption leads to slower reflexes, reduced coordination, impaired thinking, poor judgment, depression, impaired memory, and a decreased ability to control motor functions. Additionally, alcohol use has been linked to violent behavior and an increase in risk-taking like unprotected sex among young adults.

What Are the Increased Risk Factors?

Alcohol also increases the risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 25 percent of American women experience some form of sexual assault, including forced touching, kissing, and rape. Half of those cases involve alcohol. There are a number of possible factors that contribute to alcohol-involved sexual assault. Alcohol lowers inhibitions in individuals that may be considering sexual advances and may hinder the motor skills and cognitive ability of potential victims. This creates an environment increases your likelihood of experiencing unwanted sexual advances and assault.

Alcohol’s tendency to inhibit safe decision-making and motor skills also increases your risk of motor vehicle accidents, suicide, injury, domestic violence, and drowning. Alcoholism is often used to self-medicate for depression and other mental issues. However, since alcohol is a depressant, it may exacerbate poor moods and mental illness caused by chemical imbalance. Studies show that alcohol is a factor in a significant number of suicides and is affected by age, race, and the suicide method.

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol use can also cause alcohol dependency, which leads to compulsive use, better known as alcoholism. Since alcohol can cause significant health issues over time, it is important to understand those complications.

Alcohol can cause both physical and psychological dependence. As of 2013, it has been classified as the disease known as alcohol use disorder by the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Your body will build up a tolerance to ethanol (the chemical name for drinking alcohol) and you will need more to achieve the same effects.

Can Alcoholism Cause Cancer?

When alcohol is continuously consumed over a long period of time it begins to affect the body in several ways. One of the negative effects of chronic alcohol abuse is a cancer risk. Alcohol is a known carcinogen, especially when consumed in excess over a long period of time.

Studies show that alcohol is a clear cause for site-specific cancers like in the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, colorectal, liver, larynx, and female breast. However, there is some controversy as to whether cancer is caused in other organs. A 2014 study, reviewed alcohol’s effect on 23 different cancer types and confirmed the positive correlation between alcohol use and site-specific cancer.

It also found mounting evidence that alcohol causes other types of cancer like prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma. Long-term and excessive consumption of alcohol increases your risk for these cancers but “occasional drinkers” had a much lower risk factor.

Alcoholism and Heart Disease

Heavy drinking can also have significant effects on the heart. Though some have purported that moderate alcohol use is actually good for your heart health, there are many assumptions that have to be made to support that theory and it might not be true at all. What we do know is that excessive alcohol use can lead to heart disease.

Some conditions that can be brought on by alcohol abuse include cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to expand and droop. Another potentially serious heart condition is myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle. Other complications can include irregular heartbeat, increased cholesterol and greater risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Other Health Complications Caused by Alcoholism

Excessive drinking can cause fatty deposits to build in the liver, which can lead to hepatitis, a condition that can cause the liver to not absorb nutrients. Cirrhosis of the liver can also take place with excessive alcohol use. Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver and with the excess of scar tissue can bring forth complications such as jaundice, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Additionally, excessive drinking can accelerate the rate of bone deterioration and increase the risk for bone fracture and osteoporosis. Calcium is necessary for strong, dense bones and when alcohol is consumed, it acts as a diuretic and flushes calcium from the bones making them weaker and more susceptible to fracture. When alcohol is consumed excessively, it can also cause cell damage in the central nervous system creating a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy causes alternating feelings of weakness, burning, pain, and numbness in the feet and hands.

Seeking Help for Alcoholism

Knowing the dangers of both the short and long-term effects of alcohol is an important tool in the journey of recovery. Being aware of complications brought on by excessive use physically, emotionally and psychologically can act as a great motivator to pursue the path of recovery. If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, find out what the treatment options for alcohol abuse are at the Palm Beach Institute, Call the addiction specialists at 855-534-3574 at any time to get the answers you need to start your journey toward recovery.

Alcohol Overdose, Poisoning, and Death

It’s no surprise that drinking alcohol can cause a long list of health issues. However, often, the effects of alcohol are put on the backburner.

There are many reasons for this, I mean, alcohol is legal and more easily accessible than, let’s just say heroin.

But, what many alcoholics, or non-alcoholics, do not realize is that there are endless negative consequences of alcohol consumption. Alcohol poisoning is one of them. Alcohol poisoning, also known as an overdose caused by alcohol, is extremely dangerous and can also be fatal.

Before presenting you with the harsh realities of this disease, we must first understand the types of drinkers there are, where alcoholism comes from, and how it can develop into a serious, life-threatening problem.

Different Kinds of Drinkers

Any individual who introduces a substance, such as alcohol, into their bodies runs a risk of becoming addicted or dependent on that substance. Alcohol abuse is more common than advertised. Although not every individual who drinks, becomes addicted, those who do suffer great emotional, physical, and mental consequences as the disease progresses. In some cases, alcoholism is a slow progression that often goes unnoticed for long periods of time. However, in others, it is more noticeable not only to the drinker but to everyone they encounter.

In my experience, I was able to come to the conclusion that there are multiple types of drinkers. I’ve also come to realize how alcohol affects each type of drinker. The first type of drinker is the social drinker, followed by the binge drinker, then the full-fledged alcoholic.

Regardless of what type of drinker you or someone you know turns out to be, alcohol poisoning, as well as other life-threatening side-effects, can still emerge.

Social Drinkers

This type of drinker may or may not become alcoholic. In the early stages of social drinking, the individual, as well as their drinking partners, see no harm in a drink. For an individual with addictive traits, this is risky. However, for many, this is an occasional happening that mostly results in little to no negative consequences. Although drinking socially presents low-risk factors, this individual can experience alcohol poisoning from over-consumption.

Binge Drinkers

A binge drinker is someone who is more likely to abuse alcohol. They go through periods where they drink large quantities of alcohol, followed by periods of complete and total abstinence. This can and will lead to misfortune if it goes unnoticed. Binge drinkers run a higher risk of alcohol poisoning due to their lowered tolerance in the period of time they do not partake in alcohol consumption. When tolerance drops, it is more likely they will experience an overdose. This does not only apply to alcohol but with any addictive substance comes a risk for an overdose after not using the substance for a period of time.

Alcoholic Drinkers

Last but not least, comes the alcoholic. The alcoholic has the highest risk of developing long-term side effects of alcohol abuse. The alcoholic drinks, well, alcoholically. Alcoholics are entirely dependent on alcohol for them to function “normally”. For a non-alcoholic, this may seem bizarre. However, the disease of addiction knows no limits. Alcoholism eventually depletes an individual of both mental, emotional, and physical health. For an alcoholic drinker, the physical effects include not only alcohol poisoning but several consequences including death.

The Root of Alcoholism

Unfortunately, there is no sole explanation for alcoholism. However, there are many studies that suggest the nature of addiction and alcoholism and the factors that lead up to it. A few of these consist of:

  • Environmental factors
  • Biological factors
  • Social factors
  • Psychological factors

Basically, alcoholism stems from the idea of nature vs. nurture. It is a progressive illness, based on genetics and/or an individual’s upbringing, that eventually leads to destruction in all aspects of the individual’s life.

Alcohol Kills

Now that there is some insight into the depths of alcoholism, it is evident that no drinker is safe from alcohol poisoning or an alcohol-related repercussion. Alcohol abuse can lead to dangerous consequences. These dangers are not only internal, they also externalize themselves and affect everyone in the path of the alcoholic.

The most common danger is alcohol poisoning, which occurs when an individual consumes more alcohol than their body can handle. The body is unable to metabolize substantial amount of alcohol in the time-span it was consumed and that’s when the individual begins their rapid decline into an alcohol-induced overdose. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning mock the symptoms of alcohol intoxication, except alcohol poisoning is more severe and can be fatal without proper care.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Overdose and Death

Although the decision to partake in alcohol consumption is up to the individual, certain complications can be avoided if one is aware of the dangers of alcohol. There are many situations that can easily be avoided if the alcoholic, non-alcoholic, or loved ones are mindful of the dangers that accompany the over-consumption of alcohol. Some of the complications that can arise from alcohol intoxication and alcohol poisoning are:

  • Dehydration
  • Choking
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Brain damage
  • Death
  • Hypothermia

As harsh as these consequences may be, they do happen and they can be prevented, for the most part. Part of preventing fatalities and severe cases of alcohol abuse consist of:

  • Drinking in moderation, or not at all if you or someone you know is alcoholic
  • Not drinking on an empty stomach
  • Not allowing yourself to drink too much or not allowing others to drink more than they can handle
  • Communicating with others about the dangers of alcohol use.
  • Call a health care professional if you or someone you know is suffering from an overdose caused by alcohol.

Is Alcoholism Affecting Your Life?

Alcohol abuse is common and there is help available. If you or someone you know has been treated for alcohol poisoning or has suffered severe consequences of alcohol abuse, do not hesitate to ask for help. Addiction is a cunning and powerful disease and it cannot be conquered alone.

At the Palm Beach Institute, we accommodate those struggling with any addiction and have many years of experience in guiding alcoholics and addicts through their journey to freedom. Our trained professional staff is available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns you or a loved one might have about drug or alcohol treatment. Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Don’t become another statistic; call (855) 960-5456 today and regain control of your life.