Getting Help: How Professionals Can Help You Recognize the Signs of Addiction
There’s a belief that someone who has a substance abuse problem isn’t truly ready for help until they “hit bottom.” That may or may not be true, but it’s surely a sign that something has gone seriously wrong when one’s life becomes unmanageable due to an addiction.
For example, an executive or business professional might experience a job loss or demotion — a sure sign that help is needed. A person who sacrifices and works hard to climb the corporate ladder has a lot to lose from addiction, as many do. When a professional’s career becomes a casualty of addictive behavior, it’s time to admit things have gone too far and it’s time to seek help. And there are many things that can happen along the way that may lead a business executive to realize he or she needs to seek recovery.
An individual suffering from addiction is apt to be blind to their own actions and their consequences. Loved ones and those who interact every day with the person who is exhibiting compulsive behaviors and substance abuse signs, will notice quite quickly when behavior is altered. And if that changed behavior is self-destructive and affects others, those who are closest may choose to intervene, either formally or informally. It can be a difficult thing to do because the inherent risks are lost friendships and lasting enmity from someone who resents interference in their life.
If you are the one with substance abuse challenges, it’s important to know one of the purposes of a formal intervention is to make sure you know that the people who care about you will help in any way they can, but that they will have nothing more to do with enabling your addictive behavior. They’ll provide specific examples of your self-destructive actions and what they think it means for you. In a sense, an intervention is an ultimatum: If you choose to continue abusing drugs or alcohol, you may lose family members or friends, and possibly even your marriage. Once you’ve reached this point, you may be assured that it’s time to seek help.
Of course, there are many physical indications that can alert you to a problem. Most of these signs will be readily evident to the people who see you every day, even if they aren’t evident to you. It can be difficult to determine whether someone is hung over or just suffering from the flu or some other illness. It will be apparent if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, red or watery eyes, shaking hands or bodily tremors. Nausea and vomiting, excessive or rapid talking and problems with motor skills or coordination are other overt signs that someone is suffering from addiction.
Behavioral signs that you’re out of control
People suffering from addiction are experts at deceiving themselves, but there are some indications that even serial substance abusers have a hard time ignoring. For example, if you actively want to quit using but find you cannot, there’s little doubt that you have a problem. Or, if you find yourself spending excessive amounts of time and money acquiring your drug of choice and you go out of your way to hide it from loved ones, it should be a clear indication that you’re in need of help. People suffering from addiction tend to overlook or ignore responsibilities to their employer or family. If you’re missing days of work because your addiction is causing you to feel sick, or if you don’t participate in family activities, it’s an indication that your behavior has reached a crisis point.
Getting help at work
Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that give you the opportunity to reach out for help anonymously. Many companies have put policies and programs in place to help their most important assets – their employees – recover from addiction and substance abuse. Counseling, diagnosis and treatment are available through EAP programs. Additionally, the Family Medical Leave Act gives you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to receive treatment.
If you work for yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need someone to handle some of the smaller tasks associated with your business, consider hiring a virtual assistant. These individuals can help free up a lot of your time to focus on other things. You can also look into services that can take some of the work off your shoulders. For instance, if you’d like to register as a limited liability company, a formation service like ZenBusiness can help you learn what you need to know and file the necessary paperwork with the state. These ideas may seem simple, but little by little, they alleviate work-related stress so you can focus on yourself.
Options and protections
People from all walks of life are affected by substance abuse. There are options and protections available today that allow you to get the help you need without making your problem widely known. In addition to recognizing signs of addiction and looking into rehabilitation, set yourself up for success with a stress-free home environment, an agreement with your employer, and counseling with your partner. It’s a tough road ahead, but you’re already taking the first step.
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