Substance abuse and addiction are commonplace at work; employees cause expensive problems for many businesses and considerable harm to themselves and others.
Abuse causes chaos in the workplace, with lost productivity, injuries, and an increase in health-related insurance claims to name but a few problems. Substance abuse and treatment are uppermost on the list of issues dealt with by human resources when employers should spend money elsewhere on employee welfare.
According to the government agency SAMHSA, revenue loss due to substance abuse and addiction in the workplace was close to $110 Billion each year. The losses do not include the cost of diverting company resources to ‘fill in’ for individuals or have the ‘pain and suffering’ aspects felt by the employee and related parties.
The report is one of several designed to highlight SAMHSA’s Analytic Series and covers in detail the industries affected. Read the report here.
Substance abuse and addiction cover a wide area, and one of the highlighted problems is stimulant abuse.
What are Stimulants
Stimulants are classified as drugs and include commonplace compounds such as nicotine (cigarettes, vapes, tobacco) and coffee or caffeine-based drinks and tablets. You can read more about Stimulants and the effects here. Stimulants can also be illicit substances like Cocaine and methamphetamine (meth) and prescription amphetamines, including Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
The idea is stimulants increase productivity and a sense of wellbeing, but overuse of stimulants can cause lifelong health problems, including brain malfunction.
What Do Stimulants Do?
Stimulants increase the dopamine and norepinephrine that we find naturally in our brain. These chemicals trigger the brain’s natural reward system, and it’s this feeling of wellbeing and stimulation that is so addictive.
In the short term, stimulants improve concentration, make you feel awake and less tired, and generally act to combat stress. The doctor often prescribe stimulants to treat narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and in this respect, they are valid forms of treatment. The problems come when treatment turns into abuse and addiction.
While it’s tempting to overdo these substances, especially when under performance stress in the workplace. The adverse effects can be as follows:
- Increased anxiety and tension
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors and chest pain that may lead to a heart attack
- Palpitations and seizures that could lead to coma in some cases
To maintain a career while addicted to stimulants or alcohol is impossible. There are only damaging effects for both the individual and the employer, including friends, family, and co-workers, when someone is an addict.
Thousands of person-hours are lost to sick days and mental health issues brought on by the knock-on effect of addiction and abuse. However, treatment and help are available to those wishing to kick a habit.
Alcohol in the Workplace
More than 70 million adults in the US drink regularly. Statistically, drinkers are more likely to be employed than non-drinks, and ironically it is these statistics that lead to an increase in alcoholism in the workplace.
Surprisingly most workplace alcohol-related incidents are not caused by heavy drinking but by moderate drinkers who might indulge during lunch breaks. One small drink can impair concentration and reaction times. Alcohol remains in the body after the individual returns to work.
Lost productivity due to alcohol abuse costs the US economy more than £12 billion each year, and the figures are on the increase. Read more here.
What’s the Problem?
Lost productivity due to alcohol use and addiction costs the US an estimated $35 billion annually, and an estimated 156 working days are lost due to alcohol every year. People attend work while hungover or still under the influence of drink.
Work is affected by health problems resulting from persistent drinking, including more moderate forms of social drink that may be encouraged in the workplace.
Here are some examples:
- 40% of employers have mentioned when asked the effects of alcohol on productivity
- Between 4 and 6% of all work absences are related to drinking
- 40% of people have noticed colleagues under the influence of drugs and alcohol at work
- 25% have admitted when asked to use alcohol to reduce stress at work
- 23% of workers say they had noticed an inability to work after excessive drinking
When addiction of any sort becomes, a problem is vital that help is found as quickly as possible. Here are some of the treatments available for addiction.
Treatments for Addiction
Without a doubt, the most challenging step to recovery is realizing a problem exists and deciding to tackle that problem head-on. Once doctors decide, health care professionals have several well-thought-out options for optimum recovery from addiction.
The most successful and recommended way to recover is in a professional inpatient or outpatient treatment facility or center where dedicated doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, and therapists work together toward recovery and deter relapse.
Detox for Addiction
Recovery starts with detoxification (detox) in a medical facility. Professional practices are used to remove substances from the body safely. Detox usually lasts one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction and physical condition of the patient.
The drug type or stimulant used has a bearing on recovery rates. Determining factors like how long the patient has been an addict and dose frequency are taken into account.
Adderall detox, for example, has a longer detox time than stimulants such as Cocaine. It’s the makeup of prescription stimulants designed to stay in the body that dictates the longer duration of detox.
If your health care professional recommends inpatient rehab, this means a 24-hour supervised mental and physical care and is always held at a live-in specialist facility. Patients usually remain in situ between 30-90 days, depending on the severity of the addiction, including other factors including lifestyle and threat of relapse.
Inpatient rehab centers provide the best chance of successfully overcoming addiction. Inpatient rehab uses well-researched procedures and lessons that teach patients new skills and behavioral therapies designed to achieve long-term sobriety.
Outpatient rehab is different from inpatient rehab and does not include residential care or medical supervision and is usually recommended only to those whose addiction is less severe and who have school, work, or family responsibilities they can’t leave.
Programs designed for outpatients usually include meetings several times a week and ongoing therapy and treatment for addiction. Group therapy, individual and family therapies are often recommended. The emphasis is constantly on the support group of the addict, and the care and backup received at home.
Often outpatient programs are used to facilitate the transition back to family life and the workplace. Once an addict is always an addict, therefore ongoing treatment is crucial to maintain sobriety.
Ongoing Treatment Therapy
Ongoing treatment therapy is used to treat the mental and psychological impact of addiction. Even after physical recovery, the desire to use the substance can be compulsive and is a constant threat to recovery. Therefore ongoing treatment is vital for those seeking lasting recovery from addiction.