The matter of substance abuse in the professional community is a delicate one.  Drug abuse issues can easily tarnish the reputation of a successful business person.  Though reputation is not the most important concept in life, it does matter to many hard working professionals.  It matters a great deal for businesses and branding.

What matters most is the person.  The person struggling, their family and friends should be the main concern when facing addiction.  Discretion is the second most important concern when working with white-collar addiction.  Take a moment to read over this short summary, highlighting a few helpful hints towards handling substance abuse in a professional setting.  

Warning signs of substance abuse in the workplace

Addicts are excellent at masking and hiding many different aspects of their lives.  Professionals are no exception.  Spotting signs and symptoms of substance abuse in a colleague is not always the easiest task to master.  Here are a few tell-tale signs to keep in mind if there is suspicion of drug use.  

  • Unusual tardiness or absence from work
  • Inconsistent performance results
  • Unusual physical behaviors such as hyperactivity, sudden weight loss or gain, increased clumsiness, improper attire (long sleeves in the summer)
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Lower productivity
  • Unwillingness to talk small chat

Effects of professional addiction problems

The effects of addiction on a person’s professional career can be devastating.  The effects on the firm or business employing that person (or being run by the professional) can also be extremely detrimental.  

Productivity in the business almost always suffers when a professional is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.  In a worst case scenario, people can be injured or killed due to a careless mistake.  Depending on a person’s professional responsibilities, the damage can be very severe.  

Seeking discreet treatment options

It is not very difficult to find a rehabilitation facility that specializes in discretion.  Due to the medical and mental health nature of drug rehab, the laws of HIPAA apply.  Treatment specialists are no more legally allowed to blast a professional’s personal information than a doctor.  

In addition to legal restrictions, California is notorious for its “low-key” rehab centers.  Traveling for rehabilitation is also a great way to keep the situation under wraps.  Take “personal” time away from work (after a personal conversation with key players in the company), and find the necessary treatment in peace.  

Setting up the sober afterlife

Make sure to set up a living and working situation that is conducive to recovery after treatment is completed.  Life after rehab is the hard part of recovery.  If necessary, relocate.  Sometimes it is impossible to alleviate triggers without moving to a new place.  Living situations should be planned and settled before finishing rehabilitation.