Recently, more people are discovering that there are undercover alcoholics and drug addicts in their workplaces. These alcohol and drug abusers don’t look like your typical addicts and aren’t quite at the stage where they may need alcohol addiction treatment. Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, has written “Almost Addicted,” a book that describes these functioning users. This psychiatrist proposes that within the development of addiction—moving through use, misuse, abuse and addiction—these people stay in the abuser stage of addiction.
Alcohol addiction treatment and drug rehab centers usually admit people after they have experienced negative consequences from their use. Boyd’s book discusses people who may not be at this point, but are well on their way. Addiction is a progressive disease and it is not common that people are able to maintain at an abuser level for too long before needing treatment. Dr. Boyd is bringing more light to the functional user in the workplace in an effort for society to recognize the different faces of addiction.
In his new book, he points out a few techniques for addressing addiction in the workplace. Some examples of his techniques for confronting a co-worker are:
Don’t jump to conclusions, assuming they need alcohol addiction treatment and drug rehab now.
Challenge their changes in behaviors rather than accuse them of substance abuse.
Suggest that they visit their primary care doctor.
Did you ever have to confront a co-worker about his or her substance abuse issue? If so tell us how below or post on our Facebook page. Your experience may help someone else.