Alcohol is one of the most disruptive drugs in our society. It causes more deaths, illness, and violence than nearly any illicit substance. In the workplace it lowers worker performance and is a factor in illness. There are many signs of alcoholism that you can look for. If you are able to identify that a co-worker or employee has an alcohol problem, you might refer them to a counselor. The most important thing is to make sure that you are safe in the situation. Keep reading to learn more about these signs of alcoholism in the workplace:

  • Poor Attendance
  • Poor Appearance
  • Defensive about Personal Life
  • Lack of Patience

Poor Attendance

Frequent absence or tardiness. Workers need to be reliable and prompt for meetings and work start-times. However, a night of heavy drinking is likely to cause a worker to be late or to call in with a flimsy excuse for why they are unable to make it to work. Though drinking or other drug abuse may not be the cause every single time, the secondary symptoms around alcoholism such as insomnia or anxiety may play a role when a hangover does not.

Poor Appearance

Alcoholics often disregard their personal appearance. They may appear disheveled first thing in the morning and may even straighten up later in the day. For workers in lower-paying jobs, their work clothes might become worn and frayed, as their budget is prioritized to paying for drugs or alcohol. An alcoholic in the workplace is also likely to have bloodshot eyes and may even smell of alcohol. Very heavy drinkers might still have alcohol in their system late in the day.

Defensive about Personal Life

People with drinking or drug problems often have personal lives that are in disarray. While many of your co-workers may be open and share many details of their personal lives, alcoholics often will feel as though you are interrogating them with relatively innocuous questions about their personal lives. Other signs may be the co-worker who never elaborates on weekend plans and never has an interesting story about the weekend. They may be spending their spare time drinking or using alone or in bars with strangers.

Lack of Patience

Alcoholics and addicts often have short fuses and can become agitated or angry with the slightest setback. Each of us may feel a bit of frustration with technology, for instance, but an alcoholic is liable to be very vocal and irate when their computer does not operate how they wish.

What to Do

If you have a co-worker that has a drug or alcohol problem, you might want to ask them about it or mention the company’s drug and alcohol policy in the employee handbook. If you feel that the problem is beyond your reach, it may be wise to discuss the matter with a supervisor. After all, an alcoholic can cause chaos in the lives of everyone at work, and sometimes an intervention of some sort is required.

Luckily, there are lots of options for alcoholics who want or need help. Inpatient and outpatient treatment options are available. Contact a treatment advisor today to learn about your options.

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