SELF HELP RESOURCE - Work / Work Life Balance


Sameer had been struggling to perform well at work. He had been going through conflicts in his marriage. At the same time, he had multiple deadlines coming up at work. Unable to manage stressors in professional and personal life, he felt very overwhelmed. He used to meet with his friends for drinks and dinner, which relieved his stress. But his friends were beginning to worry because Sameer started drinking a lot. He stopped keeping count of the drinks. Things worsened when he began drinking by himself and felt that alcohol was necessary for him to get to sleep.

Just like Sameer, a large number of corporate employees across the country turn to alcohol to cope with professional and personal distress. Work-family conflict causes negative emotions, which in turn cause increased alcohol use. The situation is worsened because alcohol has become a part of the corporate lifestyle. Acceptance of social drinking and availability of alcohol in corporate outings/parties makes employees vulnerable to alcohol abuse. Globalization and economic liberalization ensure increased accessibility and promotion of alcohol through exposure to mass media and increasing disposable income.

Apart from access to alcohol, vulnerability towards mental health concerns like depression and anxiety makes individuals more prone to use alcohol. ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) and WHO (World Health Organization) studies indicate that about 20-30 percent of corporate employees suffer from depression. Individuals with family history of addiction are more vulnerable to alcohol abuse. According to research, lack of protective factors such as social support system and resilience also increase the chances of alcohol dependence.

Essentially what might appear to be a friendly drink or two could easily spiral downwards into alcohol abuse. Hence, it is extremely crucial to not use alcohol as a coping method. Let us look at some of ways to combat alcohol dependence or abuse:

  1. Avoid drinking triggers: Try to avoid certain people, places, or activities that trigger a craving for alcohol. Prepare to respond with a firm and polite no when someone offers you a drink.
  2. Build coping methods: It would be helpful to deal with the issues that lead to increased alcohol intake. Talk to a counsellor to find out ways you can handle that stress so that you do not have to resort to alcohol to cope with the problems.
  3. Build your support network. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. This will help you stay motivated and away from alcohol.
  4. Take care of yourself. Concentrate on eating right and getting plenty of sleep. Find hobbies or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. You will utilize your time effectively and feel better about yourself.
  5. Seek help. Overcoming alcohol addiction is a very challenging process. While counseling may help you with resolving the distress leading to alcohol abuse, medical intervention would help you in coping with symptoms of alcohol dependence or withdrawal.

If you know of someone who has been using alcohol to cope with work-family conflict, encourage him or her to seek help from our qualified, professional counselors by calling in at 1800-270-1790.

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