What to Do If Your Coworker Is Addicted to Drugs

What to Do If Your Coworker Is Addicted to DrugsSeeing a friend or coworker become addicted causes feelings of confusion, sadness and fear. Addicts have a tendency to abuse drugs and the people around them, as the disease takes over and changes their behavior. Between concerns about privacy, employment and potential reactions you may be afraid to do or say anything about your coworker’s drug use. However doing nothing is not a solution, and you may play an important role in your coworker’s recovery. You will need help and advice about how best to confront him or her, and our helpline here to offer just that advice and support.

Understanding Drug Addiction

One of the first things you can do to help an addicted coworker is learn about the major aspects and effects of addiction. There are many misunderstandings about how addiction happens and how it is treated. Taking the time to learn about this disease and how it can be conquered will make a significant difference in your ability to offer real help.

Addiction has both mental and physical aspects. Many people are familiar with withdrawal symptoms suffered by drug addicts as they detox. This is because the substance they are abusing is replacing naturally occurring chemicals that the brain uses to manage pain, stress, emotions and more. The body must rebalance and readjust to functioning without the presence of the drug, and withdrawal symptoms accompany this readjustment.

The majority of addicts suffer from at least one co-occurring psychological disorder. The euphoric high brought on by the drug abuse provides temporary relief from mental health symptoms. Drugs provide significant relief to the pleasure or reward center of the brain. This is the same part of the brain that drives most human behavior and emotional functions such as the following:

  • Anxiety management
  • Impulse control
  • The ability to feel happy, sad or excited
  • Fear response
  • The forming of habits

How to Talk to Your Coworker about Your Concerns

Individuals need to decide that they are ready to get help before their behavior will change, but if you are able to carefully and respectfully talk with them about their drug use, you can be a source of support and encouragement. Consider doing the following when talking with your coworker:

  • Ask about how often they party or use drugs
  • Ask how long they can go without using drugs before they start to think about it again
  • Share any personal struggles you have had with lifestyle choices or habits
  • Make sure they know that you are ready to help however you can

If your coworker’s addiction is affecting your ability to perform your job, you may need to take the issue to your company’s HR department. Most businesses understand that helping their employees find freedom from addiction improves worker morale and productivity.

Addiction Help Is Available

If you would like advice on how to talk about addiction with a coworker, please call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day, so call and learn how you can take action and make a positive change.