Category: Alcohol abuse

What happens when addiction rears its ugly head at work?

For individuals who are able to function at a very high level despite an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is often co-workers who are the last to suspect or know of a problem. Earlier this spring, I heard the story of a sales person who was an alcoholic. She recorded the highest sales figures in her region and was given an award for this honor at a national company conference. In front of peers and superiors, she took the stage to accept her award, which was a weeklong tropical vacation. She left no doubt in anyone’s mind, as she stumbled to the stage, slurred her words and stumbled back to her seat, that she had far too much to drink.

While a situation like this is quite embarrassing, it can be chalked up to several things – for someone who does not drink often and has a low tolerance, this could be the effect of a glass of wine or Champagne. This event, after all, was a celebration.

As the story was told, the woman received her award and booked her vacation. Midway through the trip, the company officials received a call from the resort informing them of an issue. The woman was being asked to vacate the hotel due to drunk and disorderly conduct on property. Upon returning to work the following week, she was dismissed from her position.

When we see our co-workers day in and day out, we may detect there is a problem. However, in this woman’s case, she worked in outside sales. She did most of her work in other people’s offices, often having lunches or dinners with clients, many involved having a drink. Her clients loved her and never reported seeing her overindulge. However, the company did not feel they could take the risk of exposing business clients to an incident similar to the company conference or vacation.

While each work environment and culture is different, many corporations offer support through a substance abuse policy. If you think about major sports organizations such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball, players who are identified as having illegal substances in their system are often suspended and mandated to treatment before they can play again. Future violations may have stronger penalties, but the initial report often results in an attempt to help. Meanwhile, other corporations may have a zero-tolerance policy. Companies who mandate substance abuse treatment for employees can also make recommendations of residential (inpatient) treatment, or outpatient if the employee is expected to continue working during the treatment period. They may even designate a specific treatment center.

Related blog:  Addiction in the Workplace

Pathways can work with employers and provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

What to do when your parent turns to drugs or alcohol? Part 3 of 3

Last week, we began our three-part blog series on the increase of substance abuse in our senior population. To recap the first two blogs, we addressed reasons why we are seeing an increase of substance abuse in the senior population (stress, boredom, comfortable taking medications, etc.) and warning signs of substance abuse (falls, change in attitude, increasing the amount of medication taken, multiple doctors/pharmacies, etc.). Today, we’ll discuss the sensitive topic of speaking to your parent if you suspect a problem.

For most people, certain topics are hard to discuss with your parents. When you raised kids, you likely grappled with the dreaded talk about drugs with them. Now, it’s your turn to have “the talk” with the person who raised you. This could go easier than you may expect. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

1 – Make sure they know you are not judging them, but concerned for their well-being.
2 – Don’t be confrontational, be supportive.
3 – Speak to the individual before they start drinking – maybe in the morning.
4 – Do not dig up problems from the past – your focus is on now and the future.
5 – Be direct, do not coddle them. Speak to them as a peer.
6 – Approaching the topic may need to be done in steps.

Here are a few examples of how to get things started.

1 –“I noticed that you have a lot of prescriptions you take daily. Can you tell me what each one is and how it helps you? This gives you an opportunity to assess their situation and its good information to know should they ever be hospitalized.” If you see multiple and/or high dosage painkillers, inquire if this is safe and healthy. We often hear, especially in the senior population, “the medication must be safe, the doctor prescribed it.” When a person has multiple doctors and specialists for varying ailments, communication between medical professionals does not always exist. Each will prescribe medications for specific concerns, but when combined, the medications can interact causing a negative effect. Suggest accompanying the individual to the next medical appointment to see if the doctor can evaluate the combination of medications being taken. Reluctance to this idea could signal a red flag, but maintain a firm stand. Raise your concern that many of these medications are addictive, see if the doctor can scale back prescriptions and find alternate non-opioid treatments such as over-the-counter medications, exercise, and physical therapy.

2 – If the person is drinking excessively, let them know you are concerned. If you suspect it is the result of boredom, try to engage them in social activities where alcohol is not present. Remind them that drinking and taking medications can be very dangerous. If the problem persists, encourage them to speak to their doctor and attend the appointment if possible.

A few factors will make this process easier for you. Most seniors respect their doctors and are willing to follow medical advice. Surprisingly, most seniors will be happy to have your support and won’t be resistant to seeking help. Often, tolerance to drugs and/or alcohol decreases with age leaving them feeling “fuzzy” and confused. Feeling “normal” again will be welcomed.

Related Blog:  Communicating with Someone Who Has an Addiction

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

What to do when your parent turns to drugs or alcohol? Part 1 of 3

So often, when we speak about addiction and finding help, we speak in terms of helping parents find help for their young-adult children. Periodically, we talk about getting help for your spouse. However, we seldom discuss what happens when it is time to find help for your parents. This three-part series will explain why substance abuse is prevalent among our senior population, how to recognize when a parent is abusing drugs and finally, how to approach them about seeking help.

Very quietly, over the past several years, more and more, older adults are turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort and becoming dependent on these substances. Nearly 10,000 individuals are turning 65 on a daily basis and many are retiring, which compounds the issue. Here are a few reasons why our seniors and retirees are abusing drugs/alcohol.

1 – Many of us are “used” to taking medication for a variety of medical issues as well as aches and pains. As we age, the number of pills we take daily also tends to increase. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for seniors to increase the number of highly-addictive opioid painkillers they are taking, or turn to alcohol to numb their physical pain.

2 – Just like younger generations, substance abuse can be triggered by a stressor. In seniors, the most common stressors are financial or health concerns, the strain of being a caregiver to another ailing family member or the death of a spouse.

3 – Boredom is also a common thread among seniors who abuse alcohol. Empty nesters without the support of nearby family, limited financial means and limited or few hobbies can translate to boredom for many retirees. If someone is accustomed to having happy hour with friends after work, the happy hour may start at home much earlier in the day.

If you have a parent who will soon be retiring, ask them about their social and financial plans for retirement. If they don’t have a plan, encourage them to pick up hobbies or do volunteer work to help keep them active and engaged with other individuals.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Know the Warnings Signs for Alcohol Poisoning

A report released by the Center for Disease Control says that six people die daily as a result of alcohol poisoning. As we have a long weekend for the Independence Day holiday, it’s imperative to be aware of warning signs.

Related Blog: Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 1

1 – Hypothermia
2 – Vomiting
3 – Irregular heartbeat
4 – Seizures
5 – Slow or irregular breathing
6 – Unconsciousness

Facts & Stats on alcohol poisoning

  • Poisoning is often the result of binge drinking

    • ¾ of those who die of alcohol poisoning are men

    • ¾ of those who die of alcohol poisoning are between the ages of 35-64.

    • Most people who die from alcohol poisoning are not alcoholics; but have consumed at least four (women) or five (men) drinks in the course of 2-3 hours.

If you are with someone who is exhibiting these signs, call 911 right away.

Pathways Florida provides residential treatment programs for adults who have substance use disorders. For more information, contact us or call 855-349-5988.