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Understanding Addiction in the Workplace


Understanding the motives behind your employee's addiction might help you better understand the nature of drug & alcohol abuse.

If your employees are struggling with drugs & alcohol, what might be behind that is a battle with addiction. Addictions can come in many forms from food to behaviors to substance abuse. While the workplace isn’t the time nor place to tackle addiction counseling, as an overseer for your company, it will be advantageous for you to understand the nature of addiction and some tools that can help break them.

Understanding Addiction

“You cannot simply “break” an addiction,” says Dr. Phil. You must replace a bad habit with a healthy one. And that is the nature of addiction. Addictions are behaviors, many times unhealthy or destructive behaviors, that come as a replacement for an unmet need. The return to a substance over and over, with disregard of consequences, is the nature of addiction. Masking depression and anxiety are often common culprits. Emotional issues and relationships can also stir up unhealthy addictions. And while some suffering from addictions might be able to think logically as to why their struggle came about, many have a difficult time rationalizing their behaviors and act out. Thus, an issue of drug or alcohol use that conflicts with their employment is created.

Help Break the Addictions

Dr. Phil has a great blog post with 7 tips for breaking addictions. In it he mentions several tips like analyzing why a behavior is done, finding coping skills and recognizing danger zones.

Read his full post and all 7 steps of breaking addiction here.

Finding Support System for Addictions

One great way to try and help your employee overcome addiction is to point them to a support group. There are millions of success stories coming from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), stories about freedom from addiction, freedom found through the help of a support group. Depending on your office and the nature of your organization, you might or might not be able to offer support or help for your employee’s addiction but one thing you can do is listen, try to understand and point them in the right direction for help.

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