Understanding alcohol and drugs

People use alcohol and drugs to change the way they feel. Dependency can come about due to long term use or when it is used to help us through a crisis in our lives.

The effects of alcohol and drugs often last longer than we think.

Most of the alcohol you drink is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Nearly all the alcohol has to be burnt up by the liver and the rest is disposed of either in sweat or urine. The concentration of alcohol in the body depends on how much you drink, whether your stomach is empty or not, your height, weight, age and sex.

On average it takes one hour for the body to get rid of the alcohol in one unit. For example if you drink 10 units of alcohol (five pints, five generous glasses of wine) it will take 10 hours for your body to be alcohol free. If you drink steadily between 9pm and midnight you will still have alcohol in your bloodstream at 10am the next day. You may well be over the legal limit for driving if you set off to work at 8am.

People using illegal drugs will often assume that their use will not cause problems at work. They may however experience problems such as hang-overs and difficulty getting to work even from recreational use.

If you feel that your use of alcohol or drugs is more than you want or is more than it should be for the job you are doing, get some support straight away. A small amount of help in the early stages of a problem can prevent the need for more substantial intervention later.