Addictions: the new workplace hazard

Employers
are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact on their workers of
addiction, a leading occupational healthcare provider has warned.

Lee
Reed, corporate services director of Priory – the organisation behind the
famous Priory clinic – said addiction is often listed third by employers behind
worries about stress and musculoskeletal conditions.

"Addiction
is something that is gaining momentum," he told Occupational Health.

While
addiction is most commonly associated with drink and drugs, in the workplace,
other addictions, such as gambling, sex or even exercise can also have a severe
effect on both health and performance.

"Two
or three big companies that we have been talking to have listed addiction
alongside stress and back issues," he added.

Despite
this, addiction is an area many employers and OH professionals remain
uncomfortable about, he said.

"The
traditional occupational health department working with a company will have its
primary expertise in primary care. Very few in the main will be involved in
mental health issues. There is a real skills deficit there," he said.

A
study by Alcohol Concern in November reported that one person in 13 was
dependent on alcohol, while twice as many were hooked on all other drugs,
including prescription drugs.

www.prioryhealthcare.co.uk

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