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►E012 Thinking About Your Drinking (G-1) WHAT: Definition of alcoholism, reducing stigma, understanding the disease, signs & symptoms, self-diagnosis and understanding how denial works. WHEN TO USE: EAP direct service. Workshops on substance abuse in the workplace.
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Although it isn’t possible to predict who will become an alcoholic, understanding the illness provides a better chance of self-diagnosis. The earlier this information is understood the better. As the illness progresses, self-diagnosis becomes more difficult, and misinformation and stigma contribute to denial, the hallmark of the disease. Many alcoholics believe that they do not have a problem. This is the reason why alcohol abuse training is so important.
Here is another article written on the subject on Alcohol Abuse Training:
Substance abuse in the workplace is a very serious issue. Employees with substance abuse issues not only present a danger to themselves, they can seriously impact the safety of all workers on a site. The key to ensuring workplace safety is in learning to recognize the signs of abuse.
There are four general areas which may indicate that an employee may have a substance abuse problem. While none of these, either alone or in combination, are proof that a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an employee who presents with a number of indicators would warrant further investigation.
Performance: An employee with an abuse problem may show work performance problems. Things to look for are excessive or unexplained absenteeism or tardiness; degrading work quality; decreases in productivity and an increase in missed deadlines.
Behavioral: Changes in behavior can result from a worker being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but can also occur when the employee is suffering from 'hangover'. Things such as a change in attitude or morale, arguments with coworkers, forgetfulness, indecision and noticeable changes in appearance or dress can often be an indicator of an employee with a drug problem.
Physical: The physical changes in a worker with a drug abuse problem are often the first signs that are recognized by an employer. Such signs can include bloodshot or watery eyes; runny or irritated nose; a cough that won't go away; tremors or jittery movements; poor coordination and slurred speech. It should also be noted that an employee can exhibit either constant fatigue or excitability depending on the substance being used.
Paraphernalia: Should an employee be found to have drug paraphernalia on his or her person, or at his work station, it is almost always due to a substance abuse issue. If found, items such as needles, balloons, foil wraps, pipes and lighters (by known non-smokers) are reasonable grounds to initiate a full investigation.
It is important to remember that none of these signs are proof of an abuse issue; they can only assist an employer in identifying workers who are potentially participating in at-risk behaviors.
Being aware of these indicators will allow supervisors to follow the guidelines of their Drug and Alcohol Policy, and ensure that both the workplace and the employee are protected from the potential safety risks associated with substance abuse.
Lori Flood currently writes full-time in rural Alberta. She has an extensive background in construction and safety.
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