A recent study by Dallas-based Regeneration Partners and Caron Treatment Centre shows that substance abuse is affecting U.S. family businesses at a higher rate than the general population, and the results can be fatal for all involved. Of the 99 businesses that were considered, more than 50 percent were found to be dealing with family-related addiction issues within their companies. Though some may consider this to be a very small sample size, the fact is that it highlights a profound problem which needs firm attention.
The study also shows that 54 percent of these businesses had worked through an addiction disorder within the company’s management or ownership. Moreover, amongst the families with addiction problems, about 83 percent had people in their families or on their staff that were working through alcohol or drug addiction, while 17 percent had dealt with a past addiction.
How Substance Abuse Affects The Workplace
Substance abuse is believed to be one of the prominent causes of violence in the workplace. It makes employees lethargic, inefficient and more likely to apply for sick days. Moreover, employees affected by substance abuse are late to work more often than other employess, and are more likely to have work-related accidents.
The younger employees (between ages 18-25) tend to consume more alcohol at a time than ddtheir older counterparts, and thus are more likely to affect the workplace in an adverse way. Since drinking is considered to be a socially accepted pastime, many of these employees do not even consider this as a problem.
Addiction to alcohol is considered as one of the most concealed and unrecognized forms of substance abuse. This is because of its social acceptance. People tend to consume alcohol at the end of a stressful day to reduce their anxiety levels, and having a drink with colleagues in the evenings has become more or less like a social norm. One drink leads to another and sometimes many more, and leaves people craving it during the day time as well. Thus, at times people do not even get to know about their addiction to alcohol until it's too late.
As a result, it becomes extremely important for people to be aware of the symptoms of alcohol addiction. The earliest sign of this is if an individual finds himself or herself longing for it regularly, and starts consuming alcohol at a time earlier than most people nomrally would. Another symptom is when an individual is not able to function efficiently without consuming alcohol, and does not enjoy social gatherings without having a drink or two. Moreover, individuals also tend to suffer from withdrawal symptoms (i.e. effects of not having alcohol as per their craving) like lack of sleep, nausea, stress, anxiety, edginess, nervousness, mood swings, etc.
What Is The Solution?
When aware about a substance abuse problem at the workplace, the employer should implement successful drug free workplace policies to make the affected employees feel cared for and wanted in the company. The best way to handle it is by educating them about drugs and its side-effects, and ways of curing the addiction. The more a person knows about drugs and alcohol, the sooner he or she is likely to quit the substance.
It is not unheard of that sometimes there might be a problem being faced by the employees which resulted in them consuming drugs. Thus, it is important to find out the underlying problem, and figure out ways to help the employees with best practices in order to get rid of their craving for drugs or alcohol.
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