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Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Substance Abuse Will Eventually Impact Your Employee’s Performance

substance abuseAs the boss or owner in your office or place of work, you have the right to set expectations for that environment. You can’t, however, control what employees do in their off time. But what happens when someone’s off-time behaviors start to impact their work-time performance? With substance abuse, it is a scenario that can happen.

This might sound like a rare problem, but statistics show it happens more than you might think. Data collected between 2008-2012 shows that nearly 10 percent of workers are misusing substances. The facts indicate that 8.7 percent of 18-65 year olds employed full-time had abused alcohol during the month prior. Another 8.6 percent took illicit drugs during the previous month and 9.5 percent had developed a substance dependency over the past 12 months. It’s a problem that is probably affecting someone in your workplace right now.

Here are some things you can do as you become aware of substance abuse within your company:
Understand the risks in your industry – some careers are more susceptible to substance misuse or abuse. Low risk industries include hard sciences and accounting. High-risk industries include professional medicine, food services, lawyers and law enforcement. Find out how at-risk your industry may be.

Know the signs of abuse. When you notice red eyes, drastic weight change, nosebleeds, increased absence or tardiness, poor personal hygiene or increased moodiness – take note. These could be warning signs.

Talk with an attorney before confronting an employee, but when you do, be prepared to suggest help. It’s also a good idea to document any discussions or interactions you have with the employee on the subject. Here in St Joseph, Family Guidance Center is a resource available to provide help. We can safeguard confidentiality while helping a once-valuable employee return to a healthy and productive work life.

Popular ADHD Medications a Source of Substance Abuse on College Campuses

substance abuseMost of us are sympathetic to the pressures of college. While incoming college freshmen may focus on school as their first “on-their-own” life experience, as students progress through college and approach graduation the reality of adulthood becomes a looming presence. That can mean an increasing pressure to perform well academically.

As the perceived pressure to earn good grades increases, students sometimes look for ways to gain a competitive edge. According to a meta-study conducted through the University of South Carolina more than one-sixth of college kids are turning to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stimulant medications to find that edge. Students are abusing drugs like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta in hopes of improving study times, test-taking and overall academic performance.

The problem of stimulant substance abuse is a growing concern since more and more children are being diagnosed and prescribed treatment with these medications. This means that there are more entering college freshmen every year taking the drugs. Patients with an ADHD prescription are a popular source of supply for those engaged in illicit substance abuse.

Researchers chose 30 previous studies on the subject for their meta-analysis. Investigation showed that those most likely to be involved with stimulant substance abuse were white male upperclassmen with fraternity membership. Although these young men took the drugs to boost their scholastic prowess, the research showed that non-users actually perform better academically.

If you suspect your college student may be struggling with substance abuse, don’t look the other way hoping that it will end on graduation day. Instead, call and talk to one of our mental health professionals at Family Guidance. We can help guide you in approaching your child and provide step by step counsel in changing a dangerous pattern.

Guarding Against Substance Abuse in Later Years

As the baby boomer generation heads into retirement, the country will be populated by a larger than ever demographic of older (over 55) citizens. The truth is that not all of those entering their golden years are prepared to handle the challenges of retirement and older age. AnRecovery 1 alarming number of seasoned citizens are turning to substance abuse as they begin to feel overwhelmed.

A Growing Problem

Close to 3 million older adults suffer from alcohol abuse, a figure that is expected to double to 6 million by 2020. And while most seniors take one or more legal prescription medications, the rate of illicit drug use increased more than double from 2002-2013. Substance abuse is becoming a growing problem among older Americans.

One decade-long study of 52-75 year olds has revealed that while retirement is a major contributor to substance abuse, it is not the sole factor. The end of a working career is just one significant change among a host of changes which take place as people transition into retirement age. Few are prepared to cope with the avalanche of change.

Many Changes in a Short Time Span
Lack of daily structure and work is certainly one tremendous adjustment created by retirement. But so is the resulting financial constraint most people face. At the same time, crumbling health, the loss of friends (through death or relocation) and lack of social connection combine to overwhelm those not prepared to deal with so much change and loss.

Awareness and Mental Health
Awareness is a powerful guard against substance abuse after retirement. Understanding the scope of change in advance can be preventive. Nonetheless, not until a person is in the midst of the change and loss can they truly understand its impact. If you are tempted to blunt the loneliness and sense of purposelessness created by retirement with alcohol or drugs, consider talking with someone instead.

Family Guidance has decades of experience helping individuals and families navigate through the troubled waters of loss, depression and change. It is possible to learn how to cope even with momentous changes. Let us show you how.

Addressing Issues of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

It’s not uncommon for substance abuse and mental illness to exist together. Drugs and alcohol are often used as a coping mechanism to deal with the symptoms of mental disorders, especially before affected individuals receive a diagnosis and don’t understand why they are feeling a certain way. Other times, substance abuse can lead to depression or anxiety when things start to deteriorate at home, work, or school because of the effects of drugs or alcohol.

Coping with either substance abuse or mental illness alone can be difficult. Confronting both disorders presents other unique challenges. Per figures from NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, up to half of all people affected by severe mental illness abuse alcohol or drugs. NAMI also estimates that nearly 30 percent of all individuals diagnosed with a mental disorder will engage in substance abuse.

Research shows that individuals living with both drug addiction and mental illness have a greater chance of relapsing and developing more serious mental health conditions. Additionally, symptoms of mental health disorders often worsen with continued substance use. This may be due to interactions between the alcohol or drugs and required medications. Or, it could be the result of irregular or discontinued use of prescribed medications.

Treating co-existing disorders requires a combined approach addressing issues of both substance abuse and mental illness. Per information from SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, effective treatment for both conditions should:

1. Help affected individuals set short and long term recovery goals
2. Connect participants with support networks and employment services that will aid in recovery
3. Educate regarding the impact and role of substance abuse in one’s life
4. Provide therapy designed with both disorders in mind.

It is possible for individuals living with co-occurring disorders to live a normal, healthy, and productive life. Family Guidance Center can help. Family Guidance works within the community to offer mental health and addiction treatment services for lasting recovery. To learn more, visit our website at https://fgcnow.org/.



Together, Walking the Road to Recovery

Mental health disorders, similar to chronic physical health ailments like diabetes and hypertension, areRecovery 1 typically both manageable and treatable. While recovery is a journey, it is rewarding and fulfilling if one is open to the process.

September is National Recovery Month, a period set aside to honor the achievements of those living with substance abuse disorders and the individuals who have dedicated their time to working in the field of recovery. The focus of National Recovery Month for 2013 is the element of prevention and the different methods by which individuals can pursue treatment. Many people may not be aware of their options. National Recovery Month is a time to increase awareness and accessibility of resources and programs available for those in need.

Recovery helps individuals take back control of their lives so that they can move forward with purpose, achieve better health, and lead with a new sense of direction. Successful recovery programs look at four aspects of daily life including home life, sense of purpose, overall health, and community support.

An individual who does not have a safe environment in which to reside or who lacks a fulfillment from such activities as working, going to school, volunteering or caring for others, will find it difficult to move forward with recovery. Recovery programs aim to help individuals gain their independence, lead meaningful and productive lives, and make healthy life choices. Forming relationships with others in the community who also encourage and support the recovery process are an integral in achieving success.

The process of recovery starts with seeking help. It may help to create a recovery plan. Putting a recovery plan in writing is beneficial for determining individual objectives and what is hoped to be achieved, how those particular goals will be accomplished, and any triggers which may impact recovery. It’s also good to monitor changes in mental health and discuss these changes with a professional.

Family Guidance Center has both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs as well as professional counseling for both individuals and families. Recovery is possible. To learn more about addiction treatment services, contact Family Guidance Center.