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How to spot addictive behaviour at work

Addiction is a progressively destructive ailment that can reduce productivity even in the most controlled work environments. Addressing the issue not only benefits the business, but also the addict and your co-workers. Helping a co-worker get the help that they need, is not the easiest task and people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction are often in denial about their problems so you may have a hard time getting them to engage in a treatment plan.

It takes diplomacy and patience to broach the subject of addiction with a co-worker. They may react defensively or even scoff at the suggestion that their drinking or substance use is out of control.

You shouldn’t let that discourage you. Think about your relationship with the co-worker and the detrimental impact the drug or alcohol addiction will have on their productivity at work and their life outside work. If you don’t get help for this person, the issues will get worse and your colleague’s well-being will be greatly affected.

Common symptoms of alcoholism at work

Before broaching the subject of addiction with your colleague, you must be sure that the problem exists. Call us for help or use the Contact form if your colleague displays any of these signs.

  • Increased absence and reduced productivity

  • Bloodshot eyes and incessant hangovers

  • Frequent emotional outbursts, anger, and paranoia

  • Dishonesty and secrecy

  • Covering up evidence of substance abuse

  • Depression and increased negativity

  • Shows withdrawal symptoms such as shakes, irritation, and perspiration

  • Dilated pupils

  • unexplained weight gains or loss

  • Deteriorated appearance

  • Cloth, body, and breath stinks

  • Restlessness, slurred speech, and/or tremors

  • Common signs of drug abuse

  • Increased absence at work

  • Secretive and suspicious conduct at work

  • Increased borrowing and debts

  • Psychological indications of drug addiction

  • Frequent emotional outbursts and mood swings

  • Lethargy, sluggishness, and demotivation

  • A drastic change in conduct and personality

  • Periodic giddiness, agitation, and hyperactivity

  • Paranoia, anxiety, and fear

A Diplomatic approach to getting help for an alcoholic co-worker.

Addressing Alcoholism at work

Most reputable organisations which offer help with addiction require the addict themselves to make the first move. Your objective when talking about the issue should be to get your colleague to come forward to a service such as CHANGE and ask for help.

At CHANGE we can help you by having a conversation with you about how to broach the subject, persuade your colleague to approach us and how to deal with any subsequent fallout.

Some companies are forward thinking in their attitude towards substance use and addiction and would rather help than fire someone who is showing signs of addiction. Our associate organisation Cadas@Work helps companies deal with the problem in a legallly compliant and compassionate manner. Follow this link to learn more.

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