After The Party is Over: Addiction in the Workplace

Now that the socialising that goes with the festive period is over for yet another year, this is the time when a lot of people consider New Year’s resolutions. Whether it be to get fitter, exercise more, eat healthier, drink less alcohol, etc. Whilst the motivation and enthusiasm is there at the beginning to see through these resolutions that have been set, life as we know still has to happen.

We still have to go to work and we still have to attend to the daily chores of life. As the haze of the festive period lifts, we are then faced with the realities of normal everyday living. For many, this is great because life is generally good, however, for those who suffer from chemical dependency or those who tend to drink at harmful levels it can be a very different story.

I have heard many people using the expression ‘Dry January’, i.e. not consuming any alcohol during the first month of the year. People participating in this could be doing it because of overindulgence during the festive period or for some they may be doing it to just help them look at their own drinking patterns. The people I know who have spoken to me about Dry January have said how great they feel, more alert, motivated, more energetic, and happier. This is very true, drinking less or no alcohol is going to have a positive effect on your body and mind, which ultimately will have a positive effect on those around you including your family and employers.


But it isn’t the answer if alcohol is an issue for you.


There are many white and blue-collar workers that function every day with their addictions, some may not even be aware that they have an addiction problem because of the social acceptability around the use of alcohol and also the acceptance around certain drug use, for example, over the counter medication and medication that is prescribed by a doctor.

Chemical dependency can be costly to any organisation when people are absent and performance is not at its best. Despite former myths and beliefs, dependency whether it be to alcohol, drugs, medication, or any other is an illness. It affects the individual both physically and psychologically and therefore should be treated as a health issue. If drinking or self-medication becomes a dominant part of a person’s daily life they will find themselves absolutely powerless to stop the chaos, so why not put your hand out to help and provide them with the treatment needed? You have invested in these people so why not let us help you safeguard your investment?


What are the Signs?

Some of the signs that someone may be suffering from a chemical dependency problem include:

  • Reduced work performance.
  • Increase in absenteeism and poor time-keeping.
  • Alcoholic symptoms (shaking, obvious smell of alcohol, increased perspiration).
  • Unacceptable conduct.
  • Changes in mood and behaviour.


How to Approach Your Employee

As a professional organisation we are sure that you provide a good standard of care to your employees and also treatment and support where necessary. With fully trained staff, your Human Resource team is most likely to be well aware of those who are in need of assistance however it can be a difficult subject to broach. For many chemically dependant people, it is very difficult to admit that they have a problem and they may also feel shame and guilt because of the stigma attached to addiction.

However, if an individual feels supported and non-judged they are more likely to feel more comfortable in speaking openly. It is not the employer’s responsibility to counsel or diagnose the individual however you can support and encourage them to get the appropriate help.


How Silkworth Can Support

Silkworth Charity group provides support to employers and employees through our psycho-educational workplace presentations. The aim is to give a better understanding of the illness of addiction whilst also sharing information on how assistance can be accessed for not only the employer but also the employee.


What the Employers Say

“We didn’t realise just how much support was available to not only the person suffering but also us as employers. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with our team of managers who I know found the presentation extremely informative.”

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