Addiction in the Workplace

Many employed Americans struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, leading to negative effects in the workplace and beyond.

Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace

Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Americans with a substance use disorder continue to hold down a job. However, drug abuse and addiction costs American companies $81 billion every year.

Some people who abuse drugs or alcohol might qualify as high-functioning. High-functioning means that the individual is able to reach personal and professional success despite their substance abuse. However, high-functioning  does not mean healthy. Substance abuse and addiction cause damage in workplaces across the country.

Workplace Drug Abuse Effects

Substance abuse in the workplace can lead to lowered productivity, physical injuries and fatalities. The likelihood for workplace accidents skyrockets when employees are under the influence. Drinking on the job can also lead to aggravated assault and sexual battery charges.
Other side effects of addiction and drug abuse at work can include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms affecting job performance
  • Inability to focus or concentrate while under the influence
  • Needless risk-taking affecting company
  • Illegal sales of drugs to coworkers and other illicit activities

Those who abuse drugs are not the only ones affected in the workplace. Friends, family members, and coworkers report mental stress at work as well.

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Signs of Workplace Drug Abuse and Addiction

Most addiction sufferers hide their drug use from employers and coworkers, but there are some signs that suggest a problem. Someone abusing drugs at work might behave differently from their colleagues in crucial ways. They may avoid coworkers and friends or irrationally blame them for personal mistakes. Other indicators someone is abusing drugs in the workplace may include:

  • Openly talking about money problems
  • A decline in personal appearance or hygiene
  • Complaints of failing relationships at home
  • Taking time off for vague illnesses or family problems

Workplace Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Employed adults might be reluctant to take time off from work for an inpatient treatment program, but there are many options in battling a drug or alcohol addiction. Outpatient programs can help professionals recover while maintaining some normalcy at work.

Many businesses enroll in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a national initiative of the NCADD. The EAP can point addiction sufferers and their loved ones toward community resources for emotional support and treatment. Twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can also provide accountability during recovery.

Whatever treatment method you choose, getting well again is possible with the proper medical assistance. Call someone who can help you find treatment now.