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Helping an Employee with an Addiction

Despite the stereotypical images many people hold in regard to addiction, people from all walks of life can be affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Many of these people can function well on a superficial level, meeting their responsibilities and making it tricky to spot when addiction is taking hold.

As an employer, discovering one of your staff has an addiction problem can cause concern due to uncertainty as to how to deal with the situation. Our advice is not to panic. Assess the situation in a non-judgemental manner and deal with it sensitively, remain positive and encourage your employee to access help.

So what are the signs to look out for?

Although not instantly indicative of an underlying addiction, the following are often apparent in staff with addiction problems:

  • Reduced productivity
  • Attendance problems
  • Hygiene issues
  • Behavioural changes
  • Deterioration of workplace relationships


Quickly recognising a potential substance abuse problem is important

Talk to your employee and provide reassurance that you are willing to support them and help them through the rehabilitation process. Encourage the individual to face the problem, rather than burying their head, although you are likely to face some resistance in the process.

Admitting addiction to one’s self is often the most difficult hurdle to overcome, so bear in mind the person in question may not even recognise the extent of their addiction themselves. When it comes to challenging them, take a delicate approach and ensure they recognise you are seeking to help rather than vilify them. The chances are they are fearful of losing their job.

Getting help

So what next? No-one wants to lose a vital team member, colleague or friend to addiction. You have likely invested significant time and money into your employee, as well as potential friends, so take the time to consider the options. There is all manner of rehabilitative options available, from less intensive therapeutic approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), to short-term detoxifications, all the way through to intensive residential rehabilitation programmes.

Whether your employee is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, cocaine, cannabis or any other substance, legal or illegal, help is available. ADT Healthcare specialises in working with addiction in the workplace, so if these issues are impacting on you and your business, get in touch and we can advise you on the options available to you and your employees.