Some individuals suffering from addiction find it difficult to hide or manage their symptoms and lose their jobs as a result. Others can maintain a level of normalcy that allows them to continue working. However, as they fall deeper and deeper into addiction, it becomes harder to hide the changes in behavior and habits that often result from drug or alcohol use.As an employer, it’s important to support any employees who reveal that they are struggling with addiction. Maintaining an awareness of the common signs of substance abuse can allow an employer to offer help and intervention as early as possible.Common signs that your employee may be addicted to drugs or alcohol include:

  • Increased absenteeism – According to Promises Treatment Centers, people who abuse drugs or alcohol miss 10 times as many workdays as sober employees.
  • Decreased quality of work – Drugs and alcohol affect the brain and make it harder for employees to concentrate and turn in high-quality work.
  • Change in appearance – Previously polished employees may show up to work disheveled or stop caring about personal hygiene as a result of high levels of drug or alcohol use.
  • Frequent small accidents – Repeated or frequent small accidents may indicate drug or alcohol use on the job or before work.
  • Mood changes – Employees addicted to drugs or alcohol may be aggressive and surly in the morning, but energetic and talkative after breaks if they’ve had a chance to use.

When substance abuse begins to affect an employee’s productivity, addressing it as a workplace issue becomes an appropriate course of action. Employers concerned about an employee’s suspected drug or alcohol use should make note of behaviors such as the above, in order to present their employee with objective facts that demonstrate how their substance abuse has affected their job performance.

If available, suggest that your employee make use of an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP. EAPs are designed to help employees deal with any personal issues that negatively impact their performance in the workplace and overall well-being. Always recommend that your employee speak with a medical or clinical professional who can provide an assessment and insight into what type of intervention or treatment they need, if any.

Following a meeting with the medical or clinical professional, the employee may determine that they need drug or alcohol treatment. In that case, the employee is protected by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodations for an employee suffering from addiction may include paid or unpaid leave for inpatient addiction treatment, or flexible scheduling to attend outpatient counseling or support meetings.

Silvermist provides discreet addiction treatment in a healing countryside environment that is perfect for professionals who need to get away from the stresses of the outside world in order to truly recover. For more information about residential treatment at Silvermist, please call (724) 268-4858 to speak with an admissions specialist. Our national representative, Jodi Jaspan, is also available to handle any admissions inquiries via phone at (201) 410-8557 or [email protected]

Click here to read more about our admissions process.


“High at the Office: Four Things You Should Know” – Richard Taite, Psychology Today

“Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Drug Addiction” – Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Job Accommodation Network