employee with addiction

Managing an Employee with Addiction

Featured image by kalhh from Pixabay 

Addiction can seriously disrupt someone’s personal life and have an enormous effect on the lives of their families and loved ones. Moreover, if you find yourself in the position of managing an employee with addiction, you might not know where to turn for help. This article is written for you.

When an employee is under the influence of alcohol or some other addictive substance at the workplace, it can be dangerous for them as well as for their coworkers. This is true in all verticals, but it is especially dangerous in manufacturing.

People spend many hours at work, and they deserve to feel and be safe while working. But an employee with addiction can create discomfort among their coworkers. What’s more, that person can cause serious problems and even injuries in the workplace.


Employees with Addiction Have a Disease

According to experts, addiction is a disease. While some people may be more prone to becoming addicted than others, it can happen to anyone. However, many people have a skewed perception of how substance abuse disorders can show up in their own and others’ lives.

Employers play an important role in employees’ lives. In fact, a good employer is much more than just a supervisor. Therefore, employers need to educate themselves about how addiction can show up in employees’ lives. What’s more, employers who become trained in how to spot and deal with addiction can provide an enormous service to their employees and others.

Such an employer will have learned how to approach a colleague with addiction. Their actions will not be based on suspicion but on facts. They will have spent some time analyzing and assessing the situation.

Smart employers also know to ask for help from professionals, including recovery organizations such as AddictionResource. If you find yourself in the position of managing an employee with addiction, search for drug rehab centers near you to find the information you need.

It Can Be Difficult to Recognize the Problem

Recognizing a problem with substance abuse can be difficult. While struggling with addiction, people often adopt behavioral patterns that mask their problems with drug use. They may even be in denial about the situation.

Creating a plan based on the current situation is an employer’s best approach. The first step should be to assess the situation by watching the employee from a distance. This way, the employer will have some certainty about whether they must take action. Additionally, this will give the employer time and space to formulate a plan on how to approach the employee with addiction. Ideally, they will also have some idea of who to call for help if they need it.

A caring employer will find they can easily reach trained professionals by phone. In other words, someone who understands how to deal with employees with addiction can be standing by, ready to give guidance and advice on how to proceed as the situation unfolds. To find a professional who is trained to deal with addiction matters, search online for “drug rehab near me.”

Approach an Employee with Addiction with Understanding

It is important for employers to understand that the employee might not be suffering from addiction to illicit substances. Instead, they could be taking prescribed medication for a medical condition. Reactions to newly prescribed medications can be similar to those characteristic of drug addiction.

For example, legitimate medications as well as illicit substances can cause incoherent speech, sleepiness, lack of interest, or inability to concentrate. It is also important to keep in mind that reckless behavior is not always a certain sign of drug use.

However, when an employee is often late for work, not coming to work at all, or has low work performance the employer has to take action.

With an employee you believe has addiction issues, use a gentle approach. This means inviting the person to have a conversation and inquiring calmly while showing concern for their health. A constructive approach can help employees with addiction feel safe enough to open up about their problems and share details of their struggles.

This could be a good moment to suggest professional help. Being already prepared with information and contact details for drug rehabilitation services nearby is an excellent way to seize this moment.

Talking about a possible solution without getting too deep into the employee’s personal life can lead this person to seek help with addiction recovery. Further, coworkers who have substance use problems may also be inspired to seek help as well.

There Is Help for Managers with Addiction Problems, Too

A manager with obvious signs of intoxication can make life difficult for everyone in the company. These problems are made worse because this person has the power to punish people who are trying to help.

In such a case, the best approach is to contact the HR department. HR professionals are trained to deal with employees with addiction in a professional manner. They will most likely suggest medical leave for treatment.

Enact Preventive Measures

Preventive measures can significantly lower the number of employees with addiction problems and keep the work environment healthy. Two measures that can help are:

  • Screening for drugs is a sensitive subject, but this method can give good results in the long run. Drug testing is already standard procedure in many companies. It is obligatory in these companies not only for new employees but also for those already hired.
  • Taking care of employees with addiction who have started the recovery process will help them feel supported and encourage them to stick with their program. It will also show other employees that drug testing can save someone’s life.


Deal with Each Case Individually

Employers’ main goals should be to deal with every case of addiction individually. Make your approach in a nonjudgmental and human way, and show understanding and patience throughout the process.

Employees who are fighting addiction are generally sensitive souls. They are under a lot of pressure because of the problems they create for themselves while struggling with drugs. Most of them are aware they are on the brink of losing everything. This can push them deeper into their addiction.

Treating an employee with compassion and respect will have a better effect than a harsh approach. On the other hand, if an employee is taking advantage of the situation and not doing anything to break free of their addiction, you will need to take other measures. Your first priority, after all, is your business, and you must take care to preserve the health of the overall working atmosphere.