Signs that Your Employees are Abusing Substances During the Holidays

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year, not only for production companies and merchants, but also for individual employees. It is important to be able to discern substance abuse during this time of the year, since it could severely affect business production during an extremely profitable pay-period.[1]

Signs that your employees are abusing drugs:

  • Hyperactive energy and body language. Employee may display shaking of the body, severe restlessness, agitation, and heightened impatience. [2]
  • Carelessness or thoughtlessness. Employee may mess up routine duties due to not thinking clearly and may seem overly placid when confronted with their mistake.
  • Short-term memory loss or displacement. Employee may forget what they were just doing or saying, they may be easily distracted, or they may sink into a thoughtful or vegetative state in the middle of active job performance.
  • Sudden, drastic changes in stress level. Drug abuse among employees tends to severely decrease stress, which may exhibit as sudden mellowing or increased happiness in mood. Conversely, in some people, this exhibits as a sudden heightening of stress, anxiety or paranoia.
  • Unreliable characteristics. Employees abusing drugs are most likely to show up to work late, not take their duties or responsibilities seriously and to lack dependability if there is a deadline to meet or a workload to maintain.

Signs that your employees are abusing alcohol:

  • Day-to-day changes in mood and vocal performance. Employees may be loud and raucous one day, while being quiet and subdued the next day. This is typically in response to physiological changes in their emotional state due to large amounts of alcohol consumption. [3]
  • Intolerance to change. Employee may exhibit a fairly even keel in their mood during routine activity, but find surprises and unexpected change to be unacceptable. Typically, this is expressed in loud complaining or physical aggression.
  • Laziness and extended breaks. As with drug abuse, employees may reduce their stress levels by indulging in extended break times, slowed productivity when returning to work, shiftlessness and general unwillingness to work or be efficient.
  • Disappearing for periods of time. Employees with alcohol problems tend to disappear for long periods of time without explanation. This can range from several hours to several days in a row. This is due to being incapable of handling everyday responsibilities, causing their internal, perceived stress levels to “max out,” and their excuse for being absent is typically vague and indefinite.

Understanding some typical responses for drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace is essential to developing a reliable, safe, steady working environment. Watch your staff and levels of management for these characteristic signs.

If you require assistance with your Drug & Alcohol Policy or need a supplier of quality drug & alcohol testing products, contact CMM Technology today on +618-9204-2500

1. “ScienceDirect – Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews : Locating Reward Cue at Response Manipulandum (CAM) Induces Symptoms of Drug Abuse.” ScienceDirect – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2010.

2. Koob, George, and Michel Moal. “Drug Abuse: Hedonic Homeostatic Dysregulation | Science/AAAS .” . N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2011.

3. “Patterns of DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Symptoms in Adolescent Drinkers – Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs .” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs . N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2011.

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