The drinking habits of professionals have once again been thrust into the spotlight in a prime time documentary.

Panorama saw Alastair Campbell investigate the rise of ‘hidden alcoholics’ in Britain — middle-class professionals who manage to function despite their dependence on alcohol.

The show followed on from findings revealed by leading medical journal The Lancet, which has predicted over the next 20 years, more than 200,000 people could die from alcohol abuse. Some 70,000 of these preventable deaths will stem from liver disease, with others stemming from accidents, violence and other alcohol-related illnesses.

Liverpool-based training and support consultancy Health@Work helps businesses deal with a vast range of workplace health problems, including alcohol dependancy.

Programme manager Keith Gorman said: “Drinking to relieve stress is certainly nothing new. We know that exessive drinking and its after effects ‘ namely hangovers “ costs industry billions in lost productivity every year.

“But there is also a hidden problem, of those who often manage to hide their alcohol dependency and maintain a steady work life. This does not mean that the problem is not there, and the effects of alcohol abuse will eventually manifest themselves both at home and in the office.

“By raising alcohol awareness in the workplace, we help employees recognise and regulate their alcohol intake.”