As we approach the end of Dry January, those who managed to see it through should feel justifiably proud that they gave up alcohol for the start of the New Year.
The long-term benefits to giving up alcohol are well documented, from losing weight and toning up to reducing cholesterol, blood sugar and liver fat.
The beginning of any year is paved with good intentions. While many people will manage to stick to their resolutions, for those who are dealing with addiction (in all its forms), it takes a lot more than a promise on New Year’s Eve to make a difference in their life.
An estimated 2 million people in the UK are fighting addiction and the NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 4% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence.
As part of our Choices for Wellbeing series, we look at occupational health and wellbeing advice for employees covering a wide range of topics.
In this edition, we explore how both employers and employees can recognise the symptoms of addictive behaviour and seek help.
Addiction is when a person takes a substance or carries out an activity that, while pleasurable at first, the continued use of which becomes compulsive.
The person may not even be aware that their behaviour has become out of control and can’t see a problem with their activity or use of the substance.
An addiction can be:
Physical – where the body adapts to the presence of a drug, such as alcohol, cocaine or nicotine, to the extent that the drug no longer has the same effect
Behavioural – where an activity becomes unnaturally habitual, including gambling, shopping, eating, viewing pornography, playing video games, and even texting/messaging.
While people might not see these symptoms in themselves, friends and family could start to notice that someone has:
Addiction can take many forms and doesn’t exclusively relate to substance abuse. Here are a few of the more common forms of addiction.
Most of us enjoy an occasional drink but you may need help if you always feel the need to have a drink, you get into trouble because of your drinking, or other people warn you about how much you’re drinking.
If you have been drinking regularly then you will need support to ensure that you withdraw from alcohol safely.
Acknowledging and accepting that you, a family member or friend has a drug problem is hard and it can be difficult to know what to do.
With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.
New OFCOM research revealed that 37% of adults and 60% of teenagers admitted they were ‘highly addicted’ to their smartphones.
Signs of this particularly modern form of addiction include people texting/messaging while driving, eating, working or having conversations with others, checking their phone before they get out of bed, and being unable to put their phone down for any length of time.
The internet and mobile phones have made gambling much more accessible, allowing people to gamble in the privacy of their home. The anticipation and thrill of gambling create a natural high that can become addictive.
There’s evidence that gambling can be successfully treated in the same way as other addictions.
An abnormal attitude to food can cause someone to change their eating habits and behaviours, focusing excessively on their weight and shape.
These behaviours can become addictive and treatment for eating disorders is usually a lengthy process, monitoring physical health while dealing with the underlying psychological causes through counselling and self-help techniques.
OCD is a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and exhibits compulsive, repetitive behaviour. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and often spiral into addictive behaviour patterns.
OCD is a medical condition which needs treatment like any other illness.
Addiction is a treatable condition and the first step to recovery is recognising that there is a problem.
Once you’ve recognised that you are engaged in addictive behaviour, gradual withdrawal from the substance or activity can be initiated.
Seeing your GP is the first step to recovery.
Types of treatment can include:
If you or anyone you know is dealing with addiction, here’s a simple checklist that could help you to prioritise your next actions and seek help.
At Fusion, we not only offer support through our occupational health services to assist individuals that are dealing with addiction but also offer workplace drug and alcohol testing to help businesses deal with drug and alcohol misuse.
Get in touch today to find out more.
Drinkline - 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm)
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Posted by Louise Grieb on
28 January 2019 at 9:00 AM
Choices for WellbeingDrug & Alcohol TestingEmployeesOccupational HealthSupport