Signs of Addiction In An Employee
Addicts are experts at manipulation and hiding their addiction. This is one reason why they can be tough to spot in the workplace, even when managers and peers have been educated properly and are thus aware of the issue in general. There are still often a number of visible signs that suggest an employee may have a substance abuse problem. Especially if an employee is displaying two or more of these behaviors the likelihood that the individual is abusing drugs or alcohol is high.
Some of the signs of substance abuse are:
- Frequent tardiness
- Absences beyond average for which their is no good excuse
- Overreaction to criticism when confronted
- Inconsistent performance (e.g., bad on Monday, good on Tuesday)
- Frequent minor accidents (dropping things, tripping over objects, etc.)
- Unusual physical symptoms or behaviors (nervousness, unsteady gait, hyperactivity, weight loss, sweating etc.)
- A gradual – or sometimes abrupt – lack of concern over personal appearance and hygiene
- Low energy in the morning and lower levels of productivity when first reporting to work
- Bags under the eyes or bloodshot eyes from insufficient sleep
If you are an owner or manager and these signs are present, or you suspect the employee is abusing drugs or alcohol for other reasons, you may want to call them in for a private consultation to see if you can help. Be sure to follow your company policies on this issue if they exist.
For co-workers the issue becomes more complicated. No one wants to be responsible for someone losing their job, especially if it is someone they consider a friend, or a person many people like. And no one wants to be known as a tattletale or snitch either. The co-worker may have to continue to work with that employee and their friends. But workers may have no choice but to turn a substance abusing co-worker in if that person won’t admit there is a problem. In any event, someone suspected of being an addict should be confronted and given a chance to seek help on their own first before any further action is taken.