Addiction in the Workplace – Ways to Deal

As we all know that anything taken in excess causes addiction, it is very important that you know to what extent you are consuming a particular substance like alcohol. If taken in excess over a period of time, you will get addicted to it. Likewise, some drugs if taken even for once, can cause addiction. Now, if this addiction is affecting your performance in the workplace and your profession as a whole, then it is indeed a serious problem for you as well as your employer and your team.

If you are an addict, then treatment for addiction is there, and it’s inevitable. Here, we shall see the symptoms, causes and remedies of dealing with addictions in the workplace.

Being an employer or an employee, if you notice that any of your employees or colleagues is showing signs of an addiction, then you should consider the following ways to deal with that at your workplace:

#1. Recognizing Addiction

One day, all of a sudden, you notice that your employee who used to be regular on time to the office, has started showing up late, or who used to associate with his coordinates smoothly, has started staying aloof. This is when you realize that there is something going wrong with him. Drug, as well as alcohol addictions, are such addictions that can affect not only the addict but also, the efficiency of the team adversely which, in turn, will affect your overall turnover.

#2. Functional & Non-Functional Addicts

Everyone has a different perspective of looking at an addict and have an image in their mind as to how addicts behave and conduct themselves. Many people who are highly addicted to a substance have an immense capacity of controlling themselves in regards to behaviour and managing their addiction. These people are highly capable of managing their addiction and seem quite normal externally. This kind of people are said to have a “functional addiction”.

Then there are other kinds of people who lose control over themselves when they are highly addicted or they have taken their substance in a high dose. They are easily predictable by their behavioural pattern and so they are said to have a “non-functional” addiction.

Signs Of Addiction

#1. Mood swings

Usually, people suffering from a substance abuse, have erratic moods. They don’t have control over their moods and may go high in their temper at times when they don’t get their substance. Moreover, there are few substances that have mood-changing quality in them.

#2. Poor hygiene

When a person is addicted to a substance, he just doesn’t bother about his appearance or his overall hygiene. This is a common sign of an addict.

#3. Disappearing at some intervals

Normally, the addict cannot stay without his substance for a longer period and so, he or she will disappear at intervals to take his substance whether drug or alcohol.

#4. Unjustified behaviour

This is the key sign of an addict. When a person is addicted to a substance, they won’t be able to explain their weird behavior towards the people around them. They may shy away or ignore the questions concerning their behaviour.

#5. Always tired

Certain substances affect your sleep or your sleeping habits adversely, and in this case, if you find your employee tired all the time, there is definitely something going on. 

#6. Increased irregularity or absenteeism

This is very common that when your employee gets highly addicted, they lose their discipline over time and start getting late to work or remains absent frequently.

#7. Changes in behaviour with colleagues

The person who used to be friendly with their fellow-employees starts remaining aloof or may start having their lunch alone.

The above-mentioned signs of addiction don’t completely prove that your employee is addicted but there are possibilities of having an addicted employee in your company who may be showing these signs of addiction.

Preventing Addiction in the Workplace

#1. Note their behavior

It is very important for you to take a note of your addicted employee when he starts acting different. This will help you in staying legally safe when you need to let them go and also it will help you in dealing with the employee while discussing the situation with them.

#2. Collect your resources

Most of the businesses provide Employee Assistance Programs to deal with employees who are addicts. This will help you deal with your employee in a more organized and a systematic manner to help them through their situation.

#3. Consult your lawyer

There are several factors that will be affecting you legally and so consulting a lawyer would help you sort out these things.

#4. Converse with your employee

You should approach your employee gently and talk to them as a friend and ask them about their addiction. Threatening to fire them from the work, won’t solve your problem but, may increase it. So, together discuss their condition, ways you can work to get through it together and try to help them by telling them the consequences of their addiction.

#5. Download the Addiction at Work guide

You should download an online guide to deal with your addicted employee/s.


Whenever you find an employee being addicted to any substance like alcohol or drugs, it is advisable that you document his precise behavioral pattern in terms of dealing with the people around him or his transactions with the company and clients. This will help you in addressing addiction at your workplace and also prevent the adverse conditions beforehand if dealt with in a systematic way.

Maria Simpson

Maria is a highly competent writer, who loves sharing her thoughts about stunning fashion, jewellery, home decor, lifestyle and other wide range of topics. She has been working for a couple of years now and keeps on providing the necessary knowledge to fashion lovers through her blogs and articles.