How Employers Can Change the Problems of Addiction in the Workplace

Alcohol and drug use addictions in the workplace are wreaking havoc on American companies. Studies show that 20 million workers across the U.S. have reported alcohol-related impairment at work at least once in the past year. Drug abuse and addiction cost American companies $81 billion every year, with 1 in 25 Americans testing positive for illegal drugs in workplace test screens. In addition to the financial impact, these problems are affecting the morale and overall productivity in companies, and even accounting for 10% of workplace fatalities. But perhaps the most disturbing factor is that 75% of alcohol or illegal drug addiction cases remain undetected in the workplace, giving employers no indication to help their employees.

So, as an employer, what steps can you take to start changing these statistics? The first step is understanding how to recognize a problem that needs attention. Some common telltale signs of addiction in the workplace are when an employee:

  • Talks openly about money problems at work
  • Displays a decline in personal appearance or hygiene
  • Complains of failing relationships at home
  • Takes time off for vague illnesses or family problems
  • Disappears from the work premises for extended periods of time
  • Avoids coworkers and friends
  • Irrationally blames others for personal mistakes
  • Shows symptoms of withdrawal that seem to affect job performance
  • Demonstrates an inability to focus or concentrate
  • Takes needless risks that impact the company
  • Conducts sales of illegal drugs to coworkers or engages in other illicit activities

When you recognize the signs of addiction, it’s important that you approach the matter gently and carefully. Threatening to fire an employee will not help them recover from their addiction. Research your resources and consult your lawyer, as dealing with addiction can be legally tricky. Then, approach the employee as a friend and have a conversation. It’s important to offer them an effective treatment as an alternative to their current lifestyle, and it’s helpful to offer a treatment program that you already have in place.

Set up your business for success by proactively planning for abuse detection and treatment with structures such as:

  • Increased awareness and clarified expectations (EAPs)
  • Team awareness and peer-based prevention programs, including web-based programs
  • Regular Drug and Alcohol Screening tests
  • Addiction Treatment programs facilitated by or in the workplace

Help a returning or new employee re-enter the workplace in a way that encourages continual recovery, rehabilitation, and health. Remind them that they’re not alone and be part of helping them change their life. Set the example for office morale, open communication, and less stigma around abuse.As an employer, you can also help employees on the other side of an addiction. Returning to work after addiction treatment – whether it’s to a job held previously or a new workplace – is a challenge for the employee, due to stress around the stigma of abuse. Help a returning or new employee re-enter the workplace in a way that encourages continual recovery, rehabilitation, and health. Remind them that they’re not alone and be part of helping them change their life. Set the example for office morale, open communication, and less stigma around abuse.

If you need an effective resource to help an employee, speak with our addiction recovery and rehab specialists: 877-526-7706

Addiction Intervention – Tips for Success

Recent studies show that 1 in 10 Americans struggles with substance abuse. Many of us know someone who is caught in the trap of addiction. And most of us feel powerless to help. But not only are there effective ways to help, helping is crucial. The courage and compassion to intervene could mean everything and can possibly save the life of your loved one.Recent studies show that 1 in 10 Americans struggles with substance abuse. Many of us know someone who is caught in the trap of addiction. And most of us feel powerless to help. But not only are there effective ways to help, helping is crucial. The courage and compassion to intervene could mean everything and can possibly save the life of your loved one.

What is an intervention?

We often think of interventions as relating to alcoholism or use of street drugs, but interventions are also useful and potentially critical for loved ones dealing with prescription drug abuse, compulsive eating, or compulsive gambling.  Mayo Clinic defines an intervention as presenting your loved one with “a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate him or her to seek or accept help.” It might sound dramatic, but it’s simply a way for loved to express their feelings constructively about the harmful effects of addiction. The goal is to show love, to show that you care enough to say something, and to show that you care about helping your loved one make a critical life change.

When to intervene?

So even if you know that an intervention is necessary, the conversation can be extremely difficult and intimidating. You should always seek professional help when navigating an intervention. Often, an addiction is not openly acknowledged or known. You might feel that you’re overstepping or wrongly accusing. But remember, your decision to show tough love is exactly what your loved one needs. Some indications that an intervention is warranted might include: secretive behavior, borrowing money, aggressive behavior, deterioration of physical appearance, lack of motivation or energy, problems at work or school, or unexplainable health issues. If your loved one is displaying one or more of these factors, you should consider an intervention and professional help.

How to intervene?

No matter how much certainty you feel about your loved one’s addiction, its hard to know where to start with an intervention. Thankfully, there are intervention specialists available to give professional support and guidance. For your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your loved one, we don’t recommend attempting an intervention alone. A specialist can help you understand the best intervention strategy and help you and your friends and family prepare for both the conversation and the potential pushback. An intervention specialist will also help educate you on addiction recovery so that you are better prepared to successfully support your loved one moving forward.

But don’t be discouraged if the intervention doesn’t go as planned, or if there aren’t immediate results. Recognizing the need for an intervention and asking a professional intervention specialist for help are the first steps. Your brave and loving decision to intervene could save your loved one’s relationships, career, future, and much more. Your intervention could save their life. You’re not alone. Remember to ask for professional help for you and your loved one. Call us 24/7 for confidential and complimentary addition intervention guidance: (877) 526-7706.