Workplace stress causes problem drinking

by Stephanie Zillman24 Jan 2013

Three weeks into the New Year, many brokers are already feeling the pinch, and the consumption of alcohol is on the rise beyond just Friday pub sessions.

According to recent VicHealth statistics which looked at the consumption of alcohol in Australia, as stress increases (particularly for younger workers), so too does the ‘need’ for a wind down drink.

Key statistics include: 

  • Almost three-quarters of Australians admit turning to alcohol to unwind from a hard day at work (76% male; 67% female)


  • Gen Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) hit the bottle hardest – some 34% of 18-24 year olds and 25% of 25-34 year olds cited physical and mental exhaustion, stress and blowing off steam as the primary reason for drinking during the workday.


  • Alcohol use is on the rise – 17% of Australians admit drinking during the workday at least once per week, compared to 10% in 2010/11. Some 36% admit to being tipsy or drunk at work at least once per year compared to 6.6% in 2010/11.
  • Almost half of 18-24 year olds also admit to presenting for work with a hangover at least once a year, compared with 39% of 25-34 year olds, 27% 35-44 year olds and 18% 45-54 year olds.

According to Febfast, a charitable trust that encourages people to take a break from alcohol in February, there is a strong correlation with returning to the workplace, and returning to habitual drinking.

Howard Ralley, national director Febfast, says a range of major employers have signed up to the month long event. While abstaining from alcohol for one month could be seen as treating the symptom rather than the cause, research by VicHealth found that participating in month-long abstinence events, including Febfast, Ocsober, Dry July and Hello Sunday Morning, have long-term effects.

In fact, just under half of respondents report drinking less over the month following each occasion and nearly all of those drinking less intend to maintain the changes.

Furthermore, more than a third of those who reduced the frequency or amount of alcohol consumed after previous like-events reported that they maintained the change for at least one year.