Signs Your Addiction Is Impacting Your Work Performance
Drug and alcohol use can quickly escalate for many people, especially during stressful times. You may find yourself unable to stop thinking about using, even when you know you need to have a clear mind to perform important duties at work. Addiction and dependence may make it impossible for you to simply stop using these substances, regardless of location or time of day.
Addiction in the Workplace
It’s not as uncommon as you may believe for people to find themselves needing to use drugs or alcohol at work. We use the word “need” because of the physical dependence that develops with prolonged substance use. Substance use has at this point gone beyond a desire to feel better and has become an attempt to avoid the emotional and physical pain of withdrawal. Of course, using drugs or alcohol at work is quite risky.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, in 2018, 305 fatal workplace injuries occurred because of unintentional overdose. That’s up 12 percent from the prior year. Using addictive substances while working puts yourself and others at risk.
Why Does Addiction Carry Over to the Workplace?
Addiction isn’t a condition that goes away when you set foot outside your home. If you are drinking and using drugs at home, you will likely start to feel the need to use them at work. Many factors at work may trigger the desire to use, such as stress on the job. Some people may find it impossible not to use because they feel withdrawal symptoms when they stop using.
It is possible to function at work while using. Some people may be high-functioning, which means they can work hard and appear successful even when dealing with addiction. However, the consequences of addiction will eventually take their toll, causing problems at work, in relationships, and with health.
Signs You Need Help for Your Substance Use Disorder
If you’re using drugs or alcohol at work, you most likely have an addiction. That means the drugs impact the way your brain functions, and you may be unable to stop using on your own. Some signs it’s time to reach out for help include the following:
- You take drugs or alcohol to work with you. You recognize this is unsafe and could get you fired, but you feel the need to do so anyway.
- You are irritable, aggressive, or unable to focus at work without some type of substance to take.
- It feels as though you can’t deal with the stress or people at work without a drink.
- Your performance is struggling – even though you may blame it on other factors, you know that your use of drugs or
alcohol may be the cause.
- You leave work and head to the bar, stating you need to unwind before you go home.
- It no longer feels okay to have a drink or use at work around others, so you isolate yourself when you drink or use.
Many people with addiction also feel physical symptoms like the following:
- Intense cravings when you are not using the drug
- Nausea and vomiting, or a sense of being ill when you try to stop
- Agitation and mood swings seem to take over when not using
- Sweating when you need a drink
- Headaches that are hard to control
You may believe no one knows that you’re using drugs or alcohol at work. You may think they have no idea where you hide your stash or where you go when you “step out.” Most often, that’s not the case. Employers often know something is wrong, and coworkers may know what it is.
How a Professionals’ Program May Help You
It may feel impossible to try to stop using substances on your own. That’s why we designed our professionals’ program: to give you the tools you need to stop using. Our program offers two treatment options; we can help you determine which option will work best for you.
- Take some time off. If you are facing moderate to severe addiction that’s impacting your ability to work, or believe you may lose your job if you’re caught, consider taking some time off. You may qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act, which would allow you to take personal time off to deal with an illness like addiction while not losing your job during that time.
- Work through outpatient care. If you have a drug-free environment and ample support at home, you may benefit from an outpatient treatment program. It allows you to live at home and continue working while receiving care.
Our team offers a wide range of tools for you to use as a part of this program, including individual and group therapy. Reach out to us today to set up an assessment and begin your journey to recovery.
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