Aocholoism in the Workplace

Aocholoism in the Workplace


In contemporary American society, the “use of certain substances to modify mood or behavior under certain circumstances is generally regarded as normal and appropriate. Such use includes recreational drinking of alcohol, in which a majority of adult Americans participate à” (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994, p. 165). Problems for most people develop when “maladaptive behavioral changes associated with the more or less regular use of psychoactive substances that affect the central nervous system” appear (p. 165).

Alcohol use in the workplace is an increasingly important problem in the United States. Lost productivity for the organization, as well as adverse personal and family effects, are costly to organizations, individuals, and society (Welch, 1999). Employee assistance programs (EAPs) and health promotion programs are among the organizational approaches implemented to deal with the problem of alcoholism in the workplace. Despite these efforts, the problem persists (Pawsey, 2000).

Alcohol is the most widely abused chemical substance (Sandahl & Ronnberg, 1990). There are four causal classifications of the abuse of alcohol (Kaplan & Sadock, 1997). These causal classifications are as follows:

Social learning theories, which hold that individuals learn to use chemical substances as a means of coping ù a behavior that eventually becomes an addiction;

Physiological theories, which variously hold that nutritional deficiencies and genetics lead to chemical substance abuse;

Psychoanalytic theories, which variously hold that childhood experiences, self destructive drives, feelings of inferiority and insecurity, and locus of control orientations lead to chemical substance abuse; and

Sociological theories, which hold that societal conditions lead some individuals into chemical substance abuse.

All of these theories have some degree of validity. So…

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