The Top 10 Signs That An Employee May Be In ‘Active Addiction’

addictionThe cost to business of employee addiction is tremendous. Many addicts (which includes alcoholics) become extremely skilled at hiding or explaining away events related to their addictions. Encouragement from an employer can be a powerful prompt to the employee to get appropriate treatment and so return to full productivity. (Note: Automatic termination of actively addicted employees is neither humane nor advisable. First, addiction is a disease, not a moral choice. Second, many people who are addicted may be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.) Although some of the following may occur in employees who are not addicted, the more that apply, the more likely it is that the employee suffers from addiction in some form or other.

  1. Frequent absences or lateness, especially on Mondays.

(However, because Mondays are well known as a danger signal for addiction, some people will force themselves to go to work Monday, but take other days off.)

  1. Often leaves early on the day s/he receives paycheck.
  2. Without any apparent explanation, the employee’s performance varies greatly between periods of being appropriately effective and periods of extreme ineffectiveness.
  3. Borrows money from colleagues, is tardy about paying it back, and often has financial problems.
  4. Evasive or over-generalizes during conversations about weekend activities
  5. Does not mix people from his/her personal life with business life. Does not include significant other or family members in employee activities where they would be welcome (e.g. picnics, Christmas parties, weddings).
  6. The employee has grandiose and unrealistic ideas that do not relate to his/her real life.
  7. Has more personal crises and difficulties than most people.
  8. Has frequent mood swings and often appears ‘below par’ in early morning.
  9. If after-work activities with colleagues include drinking, employee drinks more, faster, than others. May leave and return without explanation.