Substance Use Disorder and Recovery in the Workplace

Substance use disorder is a serious issue that affects individuals from all walks of life, including the workplace.

The misuse and abuse of substances, such as drugs and alcohol, can have detrimental effects on a person’s mental health, well-being, and overall functioning.

Employers need to understand the nature of substance use disorder and its impact on the workplace in order to support employees in their recovery journeys. In this blog, we will explore the concept of substance use disorder, the process of recovery, the role of the workplace in supporting recovery, legal aspects of substance use disorders, implementing effective practices, and the link between recovery and performance at work.

By fostering a supportive and recovery-friendly environment, workplaces can play a crucial role in helping individuals with substance use disorders achieve long-term recovery and thrive professionally. Additionally, understanding the use of alcohol and other substances in the workplace is crucial in creating a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

  1. Understanding and Identifying Substance Use Disorder: The article emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs of substance use disorder, which can range from changes in behavior and performance issues to physical signs and interpersonal problems. It highlights the need for employers to be aware of these signs to support affected employees effectively.
  2. The Role of the Workplace in Recovery: Workplaces are identified as pivotal in supporting the recovery process by creating a supportive and understanding environment. This includes providing access to resources, fostering a culture that values wellness and recovery, and implementing policies that support employees dealing with SUD.
  3. Legal and Practical Approaches to Support: The article discusses the legal aspects of dealing with SUD in the workplace, including compliance with laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the provision of reasonable accommodations for employees. It also suggests practical steps employers can take, such as creating substance use policies, recognizing and addressing substance use issues, and supporting recovery through flexible work arrangements and access to treatment.

When Does Substance Use = Substance Abuse?​​ – A Note from Mary Sorobey

The fact is, it can be hard to know. Because the transition from “use” to “abuse” is different for everyone and can happen over long periods (sometimes years).

I’ve seen many situations where what started as a few beers with friends to unwind at the end of the week became five, six, or seven beers a night just to fall asleep. Or a bump of cocaine to get through an all-nighter became a deadly-serious addiction that ended up in a person losing their job, home, and family.

So what are some of the signs that USE is becoming ABUSE?

– People who care begin expressing concern about substance use
– There is an increasing reliance on the substance to achieve certain results (ex., sleep, task completion, inspiration)
– Needing (not simply wanting) the substance to relieve stress
– Increased tolerance/using more to get the same effect
– Bingeing on the substance (going on a bender)
– Obsessing over the next drink, hit, line, bump, etc.
– Putting the safety of oneself and others at risk to use (operating heavy machinery while under the influence)
– Being unable or unwilling to cut down on substance use

Any one of these is a sign that you or another person/co-worker may be developing or already struggling with substance abuse.

The good news is that education and early intervention can help people before their long-term health is affected and the risk to others is dangerous.

Reach out to me if you have questions or concerns.

✨SorobeyPsychology ##AlbertaBusiness #AlbertaStrong #healthyworkplaces #substanceabuse #occupationalhealthandsafety #psychologist

With Sorobey Psychology Centre, you can access proven and professional assessments, proactive psychoeducational training, treatment and support.

Reach out today to create a customized plan for your workplace.


Understanding Substance Use Disorder

Misuse and abuse of substances, such as drugs and alcohol, can lead to substance use disorder, a condition characterized by the recurrence of substance misuse, impairment, and performance problems. Substance use disorder, also known as drug abuse, encompasses a range of conditions, including alcohol use disorder, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse.

Employers need to recognize the signs of substance use disorder in order to address these issues effectively and support their employees’ recovery.

By understanding the nature of substance use disorder, employers can create a workplace environment that promotes wellness and provides necessary resources for recovery.

substance abuse disorder when does it become that

Defining Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder, also known as substance addiction, is a mental illness that affects the brain’s function and results in the misuse, abuse, and dependence on substances. It involves a recurrent pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. Substance use disorder can manifest in various forms, including alcohol use disorder, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse. Individuals with substance use disorders may experience difficulties in controlling their substance use and may continue to use substances despite harmful consequences.

Mental illness often co-occurs with substance use disorder, as substance abuse can exacerbate underlying mental health conditions or lead to the development of new mental health problems. The relationship between substance use disorder and mental illness is complex, and it is important to approach treatment and recovery from a holistic perspective, addressing both substance use issues and mental health concerns.

Brain function plays a significant role in substance use disorder. Prolonged substance use can affect the brain’s reward system, leading to changes in motivation, pleasure, and decision-making processes. These changes can contribute to the persistent use of substances, even in the face of negative consequences. Understanding the impact of substance use on brain function is crucial for developing effective strategies for prevention, intervention, and recovery support.

Recognizing the Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Recognizing the signs of substance use disorder is essential for employers to address these issues proactively and provide necessary support to affected employees. Substance misuse and abuse can manifest in various ways, and it is important for employers to be able to identify the warning signs.

Substance misuse refers to any use of substances in a way that is not consistent with medical or legal guidelines. It can include using substances for non-medical purposes, taking substances in larger amounts or for longer periods than prescribed, or using substances without a prescription or outside of prescribed recommendations. Substance abuse, on the other hand, refers to the use of substances in a way that leads to negative consequences, such as poor performance, impairment, or harm to oneself or others.

Ten Signs Of Substance Use Disorder​

It can be worrying to see a co-worker struggling with substance abuse. This is especially true in a safety-as-a-priority industry, where clear thinking and quick action are vital.

So, how do you know when you or someone you work with has a substance use disorder?

Here are ten signs of what to look for:

1. No awareness about how much you drink or use (you’ve had how many?)

2. Reliant on the substance to relax or even function

3. Needing increasing amount to get the same effect

4. Prone to bingeing on weekends or holidays

5. Gradually increasing the amount used over time (what used to be two beers after work has become 5 or 6)

6. Being preoccupied with using the substance (often talks or thinks about using)

7. Spending more and more money on the substance despite the financial consequences

8. Finding it difficult to be in social situations without the substance

9. Lying about use or the amount being used

10. You know you have a problem but can’t stop yourself from using

If you or someone you know is showing any of the signs above, it may be time to seek professional help. Because catching a problem early or getting help before someone gets hurt is the brave thing to do.

And if you are a decision-maker in your company, consider making substance-use education and training a priority.

Sorobey Psychology and Sorobey Assessments are here to help individuals and workplaces in Alberta get the preventative education, assessments, and support they need when facing substance abuse.

And we’re a DM or phone call away.

With Sorobey Psychology Centre, you can access proven and professional assessments, proactive psychoeducational training, treatment and support.

Reach out today to create a customized plan for your workplace.

The Journey to Recovery from Substance Use Disorder

Various Definitions of Recovery

The process of recovery: Building healthy and meaningful lives

Importance of individualized growth in recovery

Positive employment outcomes and recovery

How can workplaces further support recovery from substance use disorders?

Various Definitions of Recovery

Recovery from substance use disorder necessitates the restoration of mental health and overall well-being. It entails various perspectives on alcoholism recovery, heroin recovery, and the need to address cannabis use disorder. Research on recovery focuses on addiction, substance use, and the recovery of individuals with alcohol use disorder. Emphasizing the prevention of recurrence, recovery is essential for individuals dealing with drug problems. The journey towards recovery involves seeking support through mental health services administration, targeting the use of substances, and individual growth, aligning with the principles outlined by the Substance Use Disorder and Recovery in the Workplace.

ten signs of substance abuse disorder in the workplace I am on a mission to empower image

The Process of Recovery: Building Healthy and Meaningful Lives

Building healthy and meaningful lives during the recovery process encompasses various aspects, including heroin recovery, methadone use, and cannabis recovery. Addressing opioid use disorders is crucial in creating a sustainable and meaningful life in recovery, especially within the context of workplace recovery programs. Furthermore, the recovery process necessitates tackling substance abuse, alcohol use, and misuse to foster a healthy and fulfilling life in recovery. Additionally, it involves addressing naloxone use, opioid overdose, and mental health, emphasizing the importance of mental health services administration in supporting individuals through their recovery journey, as recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). By focusing on these key elements, individuals can build a strong foundation for a healthy and meaningful life post-recovery, ultimately contributing to a positive work environment and overall well-being.

Importance of Individualized Growth in Recovery

Recovery from substance use disorder places great emphasis on the significance of tailored development for individuals. Addressing opioid use disorders and substance use disorder recovery necessitates personalized growth strategies, including recovery programs and services. Workplace recovery plays a crucial role in supporting individualized growth during the recovery process. It is essential to address heroin use disorder, cannabis misuse, alcohol use disorder, and illicit drug use disorders by prioritizing individualized growth. By providing mental health services administration and support for drug addicts, workplaces can contribute significantly to addressing the drug problem. This approach ensures a comprehensive response to substance use disorder and recovery, aligning with the principles of SUD and OUD.

Role of the Workplace in Supporting Recovery

The workplace plays a crucial role in supporting individuals through their journey of recovery. By fostering an environment that promotes understanding and acceptance, employers can contribute to the overall well-being of their employees. Providing access to mental health services administration and resources for those struggling with the use of substances is essential in addressing the needs of individuals dealing with a drug problem. Additionally, creating a supportive culture that emphasizes individual growth and recovery can positively impact employee wellness. In Canada, the recognition of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) as legitimate health issues has prompted the development of workplace programs and accommodations to assist employees in their recovery journey

The Concept of Workplace Supported Recovery

Workplace-supported recovery encompasses workplace policy, recovery programs, and overall health promotion. It involves addressing opioid and alcohol use disorders, promoting mental health services administration, and combating stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health. Workplace recovery programs aim to support individuals dealing with substance use disorder and mental illness, emphasizing the importance of the workplace in enabling recovery research and substance use disorder recovery. The proactive approach of addressing drug problem among employees contributes to a healthier work environment, fostering individual growth and productivity. Moreover, the concept of workplace-supported recovery aligns with the efforts of organizations such as the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in Canada, aiming to create a supportive workplace culture to address the use of substances and support individuals in their recovery journey.

The Impact of Workplace Culture on Recovery

Workplace culture plays a significant role in influencing substance use disorder recovery and addressing drug misuse and abuse within the workplace. The impact of workplace culture on recovery emphasizes the importance of workplace recovery programs in supporting individuals with substance use disorder. Additionally, it influences the recurrence of substance use disorder and the overall well-being of employees. Furthermore, workplace culture affects the development of workplace policies, mental health support, and the overall approach to substance use disorder within the organization. By creating a supportive and understanding workplace culture, organizations can significantly contribute to the recovery and well-being of individuals with substance use disorder, ultimately fostering a healthier and more productive work environment.

The legal aspects of substance use disorders in the workplace are crucial to understand and address effectively. Proper awareness and compliance with laws can aid in supporting employees dealing with substance use disorders while safeguarding their rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States and similar legislation in Canada emphasize the need for reasonable accommodations and the protection of employees with substance use disorders from discrimination. Employers should be well-informed about these legal requirements and work towards providing a supportive environment. Additionally, implementing clear policies regarding drug testing, confidentiality of employee information, and disciplinary procedures is essential for maintaining a legally compliant and supportive workplace for individuals dealing with substance use disorders.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Substance Use Disorders

The protection provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act extends to individuals with substance use disorders, including alcoholics, prohibiting any form of discrimination against them. Those employees are entitled to legal safeguards under the ADA, necessitating employers to offer reasonable accommodations as per the regulations. The ADA also covers individuals with a history of substance use disorders, including alcoholics, irrespective of their current engagement in substance use, ensuring their rights are safeguarded. Employers must comply with ADA regulations to uphold and protect the rights of individuals dealing with substance use disorders.

Accommodations for Employees with Substance Use Disorders

To assist employees with substance use disorders in performing their job duties, employers should offer reasonable accommodations. These accommodations might involve adjusting work schedules or allowing time off for treatment. Providing support through initiatives like Employee Assistance Programs can be beneficial for employees managing substance use disorders. Additionally, creating a supportive work environment and granting access to recovery resources can greatly aid affected employees. It’s crucial for employers to engage in interactive discussions with these employees to identify and implement suitable accommodations. By doing so, workplaces can promote a more inclusive and supportive environment, contributing to the overall well-being of their employees.

Implementing Effective Practices in the Workplace

The successful implementation of effective workplace practices is crucial. Employers should aim to create a supportive environment that encourages seeking help for substance use issues. Having a clear substance use policy in place is essential for setting the tone. Additionally, recognizing and addressing substance use issues promptly is imperative for the overall well-being of employees. Employers play a vital role in offering mental health services administration and supporting individuals dealing with drug problems. By doing so, workplaces can foster a culture of understanding and assistance, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more productive workforce.

Creating a Substance Use Policy

An all-encompassing policy on substance use delineates the anticipations, methods, and repercussions connected to substance use disorders within the workplace. Effective communication and consistent enforcement of policies are crucial. These policies may encompass guidelines for the confidential reporting of substance use concerns. Employers must ensure that these policies adhere to both federal and state regulations, promoting a culture of workplace wellness and safety.

Recognizing and Addressing Substance Use Issues

In the workplace, training programs play a crucial role in helping both employees and supervisors identify the signs of substance use disorders. It is essential for employers to establish sensitive and confidential protocols for addressing suspected substance use issues, fostering an open dialogue, reducing stigma, and encouraging early intervention. Additionally, providing access to mental health services can offer vital support to employees struggling with substance use issues. Promptly addressing these issues not only supports the affected individuals but also contributes to a healthier and more productive workplace environment.

Potential Actions for Employers

Employers play a crucial role in supporting employees with substance use disorders by offering Employee Assistance Programs, providing confidential support. Partnering with substance use treatment providers grants employees access to specialized care. Encouraging a supportive workplace culture positively impacts employees with substance use disorders, promoting understanding and empathy. Providing educational resources and training opportunities empowers employees to seek help for substance use issues. Collaboration with local organizations and treatment facilities expands the resources available to employees, enhancing their access to support and care.

Supporting employees in their recovery can enhance job performance and productivity, contributing to positive employment outcomes. Employers play a vital role in this process by providing flexible work arrangements and reasonable accommodations. Creating a stigma-free environment is essential to encourage employees to seek recovery support without fear of negative repercussions. Furthermore, engaging in research and wellness initiatives can help build a workplace culture that fully supports recovery from substance use disorders. By offering comprehensive support and understanding, employers can empower individuals on their recovery journey, ultimately benefitting both the employees and the organization.

Positive Employment Outcomes and Recovery

Demonstrating increased reliability, dedication, and resilience in the workplace is often observed in individuals undergoing recovery. Employers have the opportunity to inspire others and reduce stigma by sharing success stories of employees in recovery. Demonstrating commitment to employee wellness can be achieved by accommodating recovery-related appointments and support group meetings. Additionally, creating a recovery-friendly workplace environment can foster a sense of belonging and purpose for employees in recovery. Moreover, celebrating milestones and achievements in recovery can significantly boost morale and motivation among employees. By incorporating these strategies, employers can contribute to a supportive and inclusive workplace, promoting positive employment outcomes for individuals in recovery.

How Can Workplaces Further Support Recovery from Substance Use Disorders?

Providing access to mental health services and counseling is crucial for ongoing recovery support. Workplace recovery groups and peer networks foster a sense of community and understanding. Promoting a culture that values wellness encourages engagement in recovery activities. Partnerships with treatment providers expand available resources. Implementing recovery-focused policies demonstrates commitment to supporting employees in recovery.

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