Is My Colleague A Drug Addict? Recognising The Signs

colleague drug addict signs addiction symptoms

Spotting the signs of a drug addiction isn’t as easy as you might think, which is why it’s important to be aware of all the potential signs if you suspect a colleague may be an addict… 

If you were to find out that a colleague was suffering from a drug addiction, what would you do? After all, the consequences could be severe, especially if you’re close to them. 

For starters, everybody knows how devastating drug addictions can be – both for the person suffering from the addiction and anyone close to them. What’s more, anyone suffering from a drug addiction may also be liable to committing drug related offences, such as possession with intent to supply. This means that recognising the signs of addiction before a criminal charge is brought forwards is imperative. 

If you suspect that one of your colleagues may be suffering from a drug addiction, then pay close attention to the following signs… 

10 Signs A Colleague May Be Suffering From A Drug Addiction 

1. Changes in Personality and Behaviour 

One of the most notable signs that someone is suffering from a drug addiction is an obvious change in their personality and behaviours. For example, if you know someone to be generally mellow, sudden spouts of irritability or agitation may point towards a drug addiction

Extensive drug use can alter brain activity and significantly change a person’s general mood. This is because, when someone takes drugs, the brain is flooded with dopamine. This can become a vicious cycle, as the person struggles to chase that same high. 

2. Changes To Their Daily Routine 

If your colleague is constantly turning up to work late, is disappearing without an explanation, or is taking more sick days than usual, this could indicate that there is something going on behind the scenes. 

It’s also worth paying close attention if the person struggles to find an excuse, or the excuse they provide doesn’t quite match up. It points towards the fact that they are trying to hide something – in this case a drug addiction. 

3.) Financial Problems 

Maintaining a drug addiction is expensive and often sends people down a slippery slope to serious financial problems. If you already have suspicions that someone is suffering from an addition, and they have indicated they have money problems (such as asking for a loan), then this can provide confirmation. 

This should go without saying, but if you suspect a colleague of being an addict and they approach you for financial support, then you should not provide them with any money that could be used to fuel their addiction. Don't become a financial enabler, but not everyone realizes they are funding a drug habit until it's too late.

4. A Decline In The Quality Of Work Being Produced 

If someone is addicted to drugs, it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to be capable of performing their job to their best of their abilities, no matter what industry they work in. 

You may notice that they are making frequent fundamental mistakes, are struggling to concentrate in meetings or are failing to uphold the sort of standards they previously set. 

drug addict signs and symptoms in a person

5.) Becoming Defensive When Approached 

If someone with an addiction is approached about the issue or is questioned about why things have started to change, they will often become incredibly defensive. They will also likely make attempts to hide what’s truly happening. 

A sure sign that someone is suffering from a drug addiction is if they become particularly aggressive or exacerbated by an accusation and fail to have any sort of cooperative discussion. 

6.) Lack Of Concern Over Personal Hygiene 

Drug addicts pay much less attention to their personal hygiene. This means that, if you can tell a colleague is failing to wash regularly or brush their teeth, you may be wise to suspect them of being an addict. 

Of course, this is all contextual. If you already know someone to be, let’s say, less hygienically inclined, it’s probably going to be more difficult to tell if they’re struggling with addiction. 

7.) Shakes And Tremors 

A tell-tale withdrawal symptom to keep an eye on are shakes and tremors. When someone is addicted to drugs and has gone a long period of time without using, they’ll start to suffer from tremors. 

This is usually because a person’s central nervous system is stimulated by drug use, leading to feelings of intense focus and high energy. When that stimulant is removed, the body struggles to cope, leading to uncontrollable shakes in the head, hands or feet. 

8.) Withdrawing From Socialising 

Of course, work colleagues don’t have to be best friends, but as you spend plenty of time with your fellow employees, you’ll find that socialising with one another becomes natural. 

Addicts can often find social situations uncomfortable, as they heighten the feelings of stress and anxiety they’ll already be experiencing. So, if someone is withdrawn from social activities, or takes steps to avoid them altogether, it may be a sign that they are suffering from a drug addiction. 

9.) Memory Problems 

Memory problems can be an issue for both short-term and long-term drug users, which means it’s something you should be on the lookout for. The degree to which certain drugs affect memory is still up for debate, but there have been examples of studies which have demonstrated a link between drug abuse and memory loss. 

10.) Bloodshot Eyes 

Bloodshot eyes are one of the most well-documented signs that someone is suffering from a drug addiction. Changes to the general colour of the eye show signs of intoxication, which could be associated with all manner of drugs. 

So, if your colleague is regularly turning up to work with bloodshot eyes, you may have sufficient reason to suspect that they are suffering from an addiction. 

alcoholics signs alcoholism symptoms drunk

Do You Suspect a Colleague of Suffering from a Drug Addiction? 

With any luck, this post will have given you a few pointers to look out for if you suspect that your colleague is suffering from an addiction. Naturally, everyone’s drug addiction situation is going to be different, so don’t expect someone to be displaying every sign all at once! 

If you’ve had to deal with a colleague who had a drug addiction in the past, please share this link on social media along with your experiences. What did you notice and how did you respond?

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