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Many Americans struggle with drug and alcohol abuse that eventually leads to negative effects in the workplace.

Although one might think that due to addiction it is impossible to hold down a job, this is not the case.

More than 70 percent of those abusing illegal drugs in the United States are employed.

The same case happens with binge drinkers who are often alcoholics.

Many office workers admit to abusing marijuana and cocaine, and overall, drug abuse and addiction cost American companies $81 billion every year.

These costs are estimated due to absenteeism, healthcare costs, and lost productivity.

It was found that $25.5 billion dollars of this money are lost due to productivity and absenteeism, while the other $25 billion is lost due to healthcare costs.

An estimated 80% of drug users supported their drug use by stealing from their work.

Although many of these people are considered “high-functioning,” and have obtained professional success, this does not mean that they are healthy.

Substance abuse and addiction cause damage in workplaces across the country.

Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Substance abuse in the workplace can not only lead to poor performance, but also fatalities, personal injury, and more.

16 percent of emergency room patients that are coming directly from work, come in with alcohol in their system.

What is not well known is that drinking on the job can not only lead to dangerous situations where one may get hurt but can also lead to aggravated assault and sexual battery charges.

Side Effects of Addiction in the Workplace

  • Withdrawal symptoms that affect performance
  • Inability to focus while under the influence
  • Risk-taking
  • Illegal sales of drugs to coworkers or doing drugs at work

Signs of Abuse in the Workplace

Because most people who are addicted hide their drug use, it can be hard to know when someone has a problem. Despite this, there are some signs that can suggest there is a problem. This might include:

  • Behaving differently from others
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Blaming others for their own mistakes
  • Talking about money problems
  • Not caring about personal appearance or hygiene
  • Complaints of failing relationships
  • Taking time off for sudden illnesses or family problems

Understanding these signs is the first step towards health and overcoming addiction.

The Relationship Between Addiction and Workplace Issues

Over 70% of people with a substance abuse disorder are employed, but that does not mean that they are performing well. The only way to measure this is to note the different industries in which people tend to use substances.

The highest rate of people who drink heavily is in mining which might surprise you, then this is followed by construction. Hotels and restaurants are a common industry in which people use substances, along with arts and entertainment, and then management.

Professions that include long hours are also typically associated with high levels of alcohol consumption. This might include healthcare workers binge drinking after their shift, similar to those who work in bars. High-stress jobs like emergency workers, health personnel, and fire personnel are also involved in this statistic.

How it Affects Employers

Although employers are often unaware of an employee’s addiction, it can be hard for addicted to continue to cover their unexplained behavior. Whether that is acting differently or absences stated medical problems, other issues arise.

Presenteeism is also an issue. This occurs when workers arrive at their job but are not fully functioning. Whether they are hungover, having withdrawal issues, or simply intoxicated, these symptoms become obvious and cost the company. The cost of heavy drinking might include medical bills or alcohol-related crimes, but also include lost productivity. Hungover workers caused the largest loss for employers. Whether that is not showing up at all, or arriving and not being able to properly function.

The most important issue is to do with safety. This impacts the employer but also the employee. Especially companies that require their employees to operate heavy equipment, work in manufacturing, or transportation. It can be extremely dangerous to have people working under the influence while at work. In some cases, employers may need to conduct a drug test if they believe their employee is suffering from an addiction.

How it Affects the Employee

For someone who is suffering from a substance use disorder, they are not only impacting their own lives, but also the lives of family, co-workers, friends, and those who manage them.

Drug and alcohol use can completely ruin the way you work, and this can lead to termination. Although drugs and alcohol affect everyone differently, there are a few key ways these substances can affect you.

  • Alcohol can make you feel drowsy, have slowed reflexes, have impaired judgment, and motor function.
  • Opiates, which include heroin or prescription pain medications, might make you lose interest in your work, crave these drugs, and sweat profusely.
  • Although legal in some areas recreationally, consuming cannabis before or during work may cause impaired coordination and memory, but also a distorted sense of time.
  • Stimulants, like cocaine or methamphetamine, may cause overactivity, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat.

Functioning Alcoholism

Alcohol is legal, but consuming alcohol before or during work is not acceptable. Overall this is an obvious sign of an alcohol use disorder, but those who arrive with a hangover each day may not see it as a problem. Functioning with alcoholism is a huge problem. Although you may perform well at work and have not yet dealt with legal repercussions, this is very serious.

When people tend to joke about drinking habits, only go to events where alcohol exists, and are able to drink a substantially larger amount than everyone else, this is a sign of an alcohol use disorder.

Addiction and Financial Trouble

Addiction and financial problems often occur together. Although it has been proven that those at the poverty level are more likely to abuse substances, anyone can suffer from addiction. Sometimes substances are used as an escape to avoid serious problems.

Even if someone is already in poverty, addiction can lead to a complete demolishment of finances. On the other hand, someone who has never had concerns regarding income may be forced into poverty by addiction.

Often missing work or the inability to find a job can push you deeper into addiction. It begins to affect not only the one who is addicted but the family of that person as well.

Children from low-income families are 25% more likely to be abused, and those children of alcoholics are four times more likely to be abused. This shows the consequences of abuse are higher than simply financial struggles but can be long lasting for life starting in childhood.

Is Your Addiction Affecting Your Profession?

If you are struggling from an addiction and your work is suffering, or you know someone who is, this can prevent them from maintaining employment.

Not only that, but it could lead to alienation, termination, injury, or death.

If drugs or alcohol use is affecting your work, this is a clear sign of addiction.

Co-workers and managers typically do not stand for this, and a bad reputation cannot be repaired.

Contact us at Resurgence Behavioral Health to learn more about abuse disorders.

We offer free insurance verification for treatment to get you through this part of your life and into sobriety.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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