Beware Of Office Parties! Alcohol Affects You More At Work Than At A Bar

office parties alcoholMaybe it's the alcohol, maybe it's being surrounded by your co-workers, or maybe it just feels like the right time to cut loose. For whatever reason, it seems workers really do let it all hang out at office parties.

A new study suggests, however, that it is has more to do with where drinks are consumed than other factors.

Drinking in environments not traditionally associated with alcohol leaves workers far less able to control their behavior, say researchers at the school of psychology at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., according to a report in London's Daily Mail.

Alcohol does lower inhibitions, but the brain learns to compensate over time as it becomes more familiar with the environment where drinks are consumed -- such as the local bar.

By contrast, workplaces traditionally are sober and focused settings. The brain therefore might not tolerate the alcohol as well there, leading some office partygoers to be less in control than they otherwise might be.

"When you drink in the pub, we generally have experience of that and have learned to build tolerance," says Suzanne Higgs, who led the university study.

"As you don't normally drink alcohol at work," she tells the newspaper, "you haven't had the chance to build this tolerance."

To gauge the effects of alcohol in the workplace and levels of worker inhibition, researchers asked study participants to perform tasks on a computer in rooms that were distinctly different. They were given a drink beforehand, which may have contained alcohol.

Over time, the Mail reports, those volunteers drinking alcohol developed a tolerance to its ability to make them less inhibited.

However, those participants who were later given alcohol in the room they had associated with non-alcoholic drinks were less inhibited.

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A.J. Woodruff

I'll tell you what, researchers always make claims based on their fews of the data, but data can be interpretted in various ways. In addition, cultre plays a large part when it comes to alcohol consumption. I live here in Spain and everyone drinks! The drinking age limit starts at 18 but they are drinking way before then. Everyone drinks even during work hours. I had a bus driver stop for lunch and he had a beer then back aboard the buss and away we went. The limit is one beer of course but you would never see that in the states. In addition, there have been various times I have seen police officers drinking a beer during their lunch breaks while still being armed. Totally different atmosphere here. McDonalds even has beer! Anyways, back to my point. It all depends on the culture of the country.

September 14 2011 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to A.J. Woodruff's comment

Yes, A.J. you're right, culture is a big part of it. I have known many Europeans and your attitude towards alcohol is much more relaxed than ours, but I think the article was about/aimed at the American culture of alcohol consumption. That being said, I want to go to Spain!! McDonald's has beer?! That is SO awesome!

September 19 2011 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I recall Hollywood movies showing hidden bars behind the wall in the office but never seen one in the real world until I visited a friend of mine a few years ago when he proudly showed me his personal bar with all the bells and whistles emerging from the wall at the flick of the switch. Quite impressive. He owned the company so he got away with having this luxury. We had several belts more than I could usually handle, and I developed a pleasant buzz from an unexplainable sense of freedom one experiences for the first time drinking in the office. So I concur with this article about the office environment for drinking can create a state of irresistable.euphoria and sense of well-being. It's worth trying once in one's life time as long as you are not endangering the safety of others at work.

September 13 2011 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


September 13 2011 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We worked on a ship at Arsonale ship yard in Venice. They have a 2:00 beer break everyday. Plus they drink wine with lunch at noon.

September 13 2011 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dcnashinsc's comment

Sure your not a UAW worker lol!

September 14 2011 at 4:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Russ Marshall

having spent 40 years of my life in the beer business, I remember when i started beer was offered at the
brewerys and at the distributers, the Insurance companys that insure the various businesses are what
stopped that practice by offering discounts for the employers to stop those practices, you can pretty much
blame lawyers for stopping most things in life that were fun at one time.

September 13 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so all i'm reading is START DRINKING MORE AT WORK to build your tolerance! good advice lady!

September 13 2011 at 6:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you had worked an Anheuser-Busch in St Louis in the time before "InBev" and the crappy leadership they have; you would have had access at your office any time of the day to fresh draft beer on request.

Now, Budweiser is down 35% in sales because Belgians and Brazillions have mismanaged the company. The last of the Busch family is long gone after having fought the fight to stop the sale and lost to people who were already rich but bought the song and dance of the Belgians.

September 13 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


September 13 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to WARTHOG's comment
dickn2000b relly men somrthing. It mens It's crackers to slip a rozzie the dropsy in snide.

September 13 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Funny, my boss just went to fetch me a beer at work. Doesn't affect us :)

September 13 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Many of the AOL headlines sound s dumb tat I never click on them. This, I could not help.
The head line is: " Why Beer at Work Is Worse Than a Bar "
I would much rather have a bar at work than a beer.

September 13 2011 at 4:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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